The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905 Page: 316
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Texas Historical Association Quarterly.
however, exercised jurisdiction over the vecinos agregados, who
would seem to be included in this enumeration, but the precise
meaning of this term, and the exact nature of the jurisdiction
exercised is not clear. An examination, however, of the first law-
suit between the citizens of the villa of which there is any record
may throw some light upon the extent of the judicial power of
the alcaldes and upon the actual workings of their court. This case
is also a striking illustration of the delays and ineffectiveness of the
whole system of the local administration of justice in Spanish
On June 25, 1733, Joseph Padr6n preferred a criminal com-
plaint before the first alcalde of San Fernando, Antonio de los San-
tos, against Juan Leal Goras for having plowed over into complain-
ant's corn, after having been ordered not to by certain inspectors
who had been sent out by the governor. The alcalde, thereupon,
sent out other inspectors, and examined certain witnesses. As a
result, Goras was found guilty and placed in jail. He, however,
twice broke prison and was fined twenty-five pesos on each occa-
sion. He then appealed to the governor on the grounds that the
alcalde was prejudiced in favor of Padr6n. The appeal was
granted. In spite of this, Goras made his defense before the al-
calde, brought forward witnesses on his own behalf, and tried to
invalidate the testimony of certain of Padr6n's witnesses, charg-
ing them with treason. These men then brought a new charge
against Goras and demanded that he be made to prove his state-
ments or be punished. After various steps had been taken by the
alcalde, the governor ordered that the case be brought before him-
self, and that meanwhile Goras be released. The order was obeyed.
In his petition to the governor, however, Goras had charged the
alcalde with having been bribed by Padr6n. De los Santos, there-
fore, preferred a charge against Goras asking that he be required
to prove his statement. Goras was thereupon ordered by the gov-
ernor to answer the alcalde's complaint. A long delay ensued
caused by Goras's failure to respond, on the grounds that he had
not the necessary papers in the case. Then, the witnesses who had
1Expediente in case against Antonio Tello for murder of Mateo Trevifia,
1744, B6xar Archives.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, Volume 8, July 1904 - April, 1905, periodical, 1905; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101033/m1/323/: accessed June 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.