Sheriff hires investigator who was forced out after DA investigation
HOUSTON – An investigator who resigned from the Harris County District Attorney's Office when an internal investigation showed he backdated a search warrant, was hired by the Sheriff's office as a homicide investigator, Local 2 Investigates has confirmed.
Ruben Shawn Carrizal worked for the district attorney's office in October of 2013 when he didn't get a needed signature on a search warrant pertaining to a homicide suspect, a district attorney spokesman told Local 2.
A prosecutor discovered the judge's signature was missing. District Attorney Spokesman Jeff McShan said his office's investigation then showed Carrizal tried to fix the issue by getting a judge to sign the search warrant. Carrizal then backdated the document, McShan said a disciplinary report showed.
An internal disciplinary report recommended Carrizal be fired, but he was allowed to resign, McShan said.
A special prosecutor presented the case to a Harris County Grand Jury for possible criminal charges, but the grand jury decided not to take any action.
Harris County Sheriff's Office Spokesperson Christina Garza said that before Carrizal was hired on Jan. 13, the office contacted his former supervisor and found nothing that would prevent him from being rehired by the sheriff's office. He had previously worked for the sheriff's office from 1998 until October of 2013.
"He was a good investigator and he got to come back to his former job," Garza said.
The district attorney's office emailed prosecutors and told them they should notify defense attorneys of the investigation if Carrizal is expected to testify in their cases.
Local 2 Legal Analyst Brian Wice says this issue could make cases Carrizal worked on tougher for prosecutors to try.
"This is something that will ultimately become fodder, as it should, anytime he hits the witness stand in a criminal courtroom," Wice said. "If the detective's credibility becomes an issue – as it usually will in any homicide case – certainly there is the potential for this to become an issue."
Carrizal told Local 2 Investigative Reporter Jace Larson that he left the district attorney's office and went back to a job he'd previously had at the sheriff's office because he missed his job there. He said it was his choice to leave the district attorney's office.
He declined to comment further.
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