Texas Supreme Court Justice’s Wife Re-Indicted on Arson Charges

May 2, 2008

The wife of a Texas Supreme Court justice has been indicted for a second time on charges connected to a fire that destroyed the couple’s suburban Houston home in the summer of 2007.

A grand jury indicted Francisca Medina on felony charges of arson and two counts of criminal mischief. She faces up to life in prison if convicted.

In January, a different grand jury indicted both Francisca Medina and her husband, Justice David Medina, on charges related to the fire. She was charged with arson, while David Medina faced an evidence tampering charge.

But those indictments were thrown out a day later by Chuck Rosenthal, at the time the Harris County district attorney, who cited a lack of evidence. Grand jurors then questioned whether the move was politically motivated.

When asked whether David Medina could also be indicted a second time, prosecutor Vic Wisner said, “We’re happy with the charging decisions at this point.”

Dick DeGuerin, Francisca Medina’s attorney, said his client was “absolutely innocent'” of all the charges.

“The indictment has no evidence to back it up. There was no evidence back in January. There is no evidence now,” he said.

The June 28 fire caused about $900,000 in damage to the Medinas’ home and two nearby houses. The blaze was ruled as not being electrical or accidental, and an accelerant was found in the rubble.

Before the fire, the Medinas had been going through some financial problems, and a mortgage company had attempted to foreclose on their home. But David Medina’s attorney has repeatedly pointed out that the Medinas had let their homeowners insurance policy lapse, meaning losses from the fire weren’t covered.

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