SAN ANTONIO – Defense attorney Patrick Hancock is sounding off Monday against Manny Pelaez and a letter the councilman sent last week in reference to one of his clients.
Hancock accuses Pelaez of “attempting to inappropriately influence a sitting district judge,” according to a copy of a letter Hancock said he sent to Pelaez on Monday, which was obtained by KSAT 12. (Read the full letter at the bottom of the article.)
The conflict began last week, when, Pelaez, who represents District 8 on San Antonio City Council, sent a letter to Judge Jennifer Peña and District Attorney Joe Gonzales about the case of Linda Collier Mason.
Mason, 69, was charged with intoxication manslaughter in April 2019 after allegedly driving drunk and hitting and killing cyclist Tito Bradshaw with her vehicle.
In Pelaez’s letter, he asked the judge and DA to refuse any plea agreement that doesn’t include a “meaningful jail sentence.”
On Monday, Hancock criticized Pelaez’s efforts as “inappropriate,” “cold” and uninformed. Hancock wrote that the councilman never reached out to him, the defense attorney on the case, and that he read Pelaez’s letter through media coverage.
Hancock accused Pelaez of not having seen the evidence in the case.
“As an elected leader in our community, one would assume that you would responsibly gather all the facts,” Hancock wrote. “... You must be unaware that Mr. Bradshaw was biking at night without any reflective clothing, without a light on the back of his bicycle, and without a safety helmet. In fact, the deceased had a significantly higher blood alcohol concentration than did Ms. Mason on the night of this tragic accident.”
Pelaez, who said he was first made aware of Hancock’s letter when KSAT 12 reached out for comment Monday afternoon, pushed back.
“I’ve been practicing law for decades, if I was representing a drunk driver who struck a cyclist and left a kid without a father, I’d also be working hard to deflect blame,” Pelaez said. “It doesn’t change the fact that Ms. Mason got into a car and drove drunk.”
Hancock also wrote that Mason forewent a trial and “instead chose to reflect on the fatal consequences of driving while intoxicated and not fight her case.”
Mason was supposed to have a hearing in the 290th on Monday but it was reset to a later date.
The DA’s office has declined to comment, citing pending litigation.