Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nikki Araguz - Criminal History

The press has made a big deal out of the fact that Nikki Araguz has a history of committing petty crimes, including some petty felonies. That sort of person history isn't generally relevant to a probate lawsuit and seems more like part of a concerted effort by the Texas press and media to cast Nikki Araguz as a greedy villain when a more reasonable assessment is that Heather Deldago, who is suing Nikki Araguz is actually the greedy and malicious party. However, if Nikki Araguz needs to testify within the lawsuit against her, Nikki's credibility and her veracity could be challenged on cross examination because her criminal record could be brought into evidence for that purpose under the Texas court rules of evidence.

It appears though, that Nikki Araguz's attorneys are taking steps to establish her case based on other evidentiary sources so that her own testimony doesn't need to be the foundation of the facts she presents regarding her case. In fact, it seems like most of her case should depend on medical evidence, and documentary evidence based on public records like her marriage license, statutory changes, testimony and an affidavit from her surgeon Marci Bowers, MD regarding her surgery and medical background, and so on.

For purposes of clarifying some questions about Nikki's criminal history, the Wharton County Journal Spectator seems to have researched and documented it relatively thoroughly. In their article, they described her criminal record as follows:
During the time Araguz was a candidate for office, she was serving the final months of a sentence of two years deferred adjudication after pleading guilty to a state felony charge of possession of a controlled substance, cocaine, in the amount of less than one gram, on June 7, 2007.

Records at the Wharton County District Clerk’s Office state the Wharton County Grand Jury returned a one-count indictment on that charge on March 4, 2008. In a document filed with the district clerk on June 12, 2008, Araguz pled guilty and was placed on two years deferred adjudication probation by District Court Judge Randy Clapp.


In addition to the Wharton County case, a Department of Public Safety criminal history summary for Justin Graham Purdue, reportedly Nikki Araguz’s original name; Nikki Purdue, Nikki Paige Purdue and Nikki Paige Purdue-Mata includes a conviction for state felony charge of theft of between $1,500 and $20,000 dating back to an offense that reportedly resulted in an arrest taking place on Oct. 12, 2000. A finding of guilty was reported on Dec. 7, 2000 with the defendant receiving a sentence of three years probation and a $500 fine.

The same DPS summary shows a prior conviction for a class B misdemeanor offense of theft between $20 and $500. The defendant was arrested on that charge on Oct. 28, 1994 on the theft charge with a final pleading of guilty on Oct. 16, 1995 and a sentence of one year probation.

A listing of offenses with the Harris County District Clerk’s Office shows a case involving an additional theft charge of $200-$750 was completed in December of 1992.

In addition to receiving deferred adjudication following the guilty plea in the controlled substance case, the DPS summary also includes two other substance abuse offenses. They are both B misdemeanor driving while intoxicated convictions. The first of those involves an arrest on Oct. 28, 1994 in Harris County with a final pleading of guilty and a sentence of one year probation on Oct. 16, 1995. The second involved an arrest made by the El Campo Police Department on Oct. 2, 2005 with a final pleading of guilty on Nov. 16, 2005 and a sentence of three days served.
Here is a summary list of her criminal convictions based on the contents of the newspaper article at the link below:
  • 1992 - Misdemeanor Theft $200-$750 - Harris County, TX
  • 1994 - DWI - one year probation
  • 1995 - Misdemeanor Theft $20-$500 - one year probation
  • 2000 - Felony Theft $1,500-$20,000 - three years probation
  • 2005 - DWI - three days jail
  • 2008 - Felony Cocaine Possession - Two year deferred adjudication

Wharton County Journal Spectator Article

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