KCBD Investigates: Grievance filed against public defender alleging disturbing behavior

KCBD Investigates: Grievance filed against public defender alleging disturbing behavior

BROWNFIELD, Texas (KCBD) - Brownfield resident Jannie Vieres was appointed a lawyer after she recently found herself in legal trouble. It’s a common practice formally known as part of the “Miranda Rights.” She was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia; a misdemeanor crime. Ultimately the charges were dropped, but documents we have obtained suggest her court appointed attorney actually came at a cost.

“I had gotten a charge two years ago and he was appointed my attorney,” said Jannie Vieras.

Vieres had the right to an attorney so when she couldn't afford one, one was provided to her.

"At first it seemed like he really cared," she said.

Attorney Elias Jesus Garcia, commonly known as E.J., was Vieras's court appointed lawyer back in 2017.

Elias Garcia's biography on https://www.sglglaw.com/elias-j-garcia.
Elias Garcia's biography on https://www.sglglaw.com/elias-j-garcia.

“He’s been in and out of our lives throughout the whole time,” she said.

They worked on her case for more than two years.

“He kind of, more or less, tried to be friendly and getting to know me on the personal level,” said Vieras.

She says she felt comfortable with him and confided in him.

“I had things with CPS going on and things with her, with my little girl’s dad. [Garcia] knew everything,” said Vieras.

Then, January of 2019, Vieras says things started to change. KCBD Investigates obtained a copy of the bar grievance she filed against Garcia with the Texas State Bar.

KCBD Investigates obtained a copy of Jannie Vieras bar grievance against Attorney Elias Garcia.
KCBD Investigates obtained a copy of Jannie Vieras bar grievance against Attorney Elias Garcia.

Vieras says Garcia asked her to join him in his office regarding her case.

“He goes and sits on the desk right in front of me, pushes my phone aside, and at that point I’m thinking to myself, the doors are locked, he locked both doors,” said Vieras.

She needed help in court for her crime. Now, she says she needs a different kind of justice.

“He proceeded to keep asking me sexual, quite sexual, questions,” said Vieras.

The grievance from Vieras says Garcia called her beautiful and complimented her body.

“I cannot believe this is really going on, like this man’s really doing this,” says Vieras.

She claims Garcia touched her.

“He starts massaging me. He tries to take off my jacket and that right there, I was like, I have to go and he's like, no, just, you know, just stay here for a little while and let me give you a massage,” said Vieras.

In her grievance, Vieras says Garcia gave her an ultimatum.

“He's like, all this can go away, and I’m like, what are you talking about? He's like, I can help you,” said Vieras.

She says she knew exactly what he meant.

“I'm just like, he's talking about my case. He's talking about my charges,” said Vieras.

According to the grievance, there’s more Janie reveals like Garcia taking her phone and going through her photos, moving her shirt off her shoulder to see her tattoo, and asking her if she was scared.

Vieras claims Garcia told her that maybe after they sign the paperwork, she could stay with him and he could give her a massage since he won't be her lawyer.

“I said no, i got to go. No, I have to go,” said Vieras.

Vieras says she was able to escape Garcia’s advances, but memory of what happened still haunts her.

“I want for everybody to know what this man has been doing,” she said.

Attorney Garcia's statement in regards to the grievance claims.
Attorney Garcia's statement in regards to the grievance claims. (Source: kcbd)

The KCBD Investigates Team reached out to Attorney Garcia for comment. He said “Thank you for reaching out. These allegations are ridiculous and untrue. To date I have not received notice of any grievance filed by any client.”

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