|Justice of Peace Davis Beebe (left) with Judge Cinderella Guevera (right)|
It certainly didn't take long for local authorities in the backwoods of West Texas not far from the Mexican border to determine that Justice Antonin Scalia died of natural causes. A judge in Presidio County, Texas has already made that legal determination, which means there will be no autopsy on Scalia's body performed. Internet rumors have already gone viral suggesting Scalia was murdered as part of a plot by President Barack Obama to eviscerate the U.S. Constitution by appointing a key fifth member to the Supreme Court needed to act as a super legislature overriding the will of our political branches of government.
Cinderella Guevera is a Mexican-American recently elected as a county judge in Presidio County as a Democrat. According to Big Bend Now, Judge Guevera pronounced Justice Scalia dead by telephone at 1:52 p.m. after she received a call from Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez, who is also a Democrat. The local online news story reports that no autopsy will be performed on Justice Scalia's body based on medical records Judge Guevera obtained from his physicians and a review of the scene where Justice Scalia's body was discovered. Father Mike Alcuino of Saint Teresa de Jesus Church was called to perform last rites on Justice Scalia, who was Catholic, around 3:20 p.m.
Other news reports indicated that Justice Scalia traveled to Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury resort which is located in far West Texas outside the town of Marfa, on a quail hunting trip on Friday. Scalia had dinner with about 40 other guests at the resort Friday evening before retiring for the evening. When Justice Scalia failed to arrive for breakfast with this traveling companions Saturday morning, a hotel staff person went to check on him and discovered him unresponsive in his room.
According to Big Bend Now, the online version of The Big Bend Sentinel, an initial call was made to the justice of the peace for Precinct 2, Juanita Bishop, but she called David Beebe, the justice of the peace for Precinct 1 to handle a vague call about a body at the ranch. Bishop was in Fort Stockton when she received the call and Beebe was attending a political forum in Alpine. Both Beebe and Bishop are Democrats. Beebe wrote on his blog yesterday, "I had to leave this meeting near the end of it when I was notified about the passing of Antonin Scalia." "I had to make some phone calls and respond to some messages regarding the inquest, which I would have had to do if I hadn't already committed myself to attending this forum." The Texas Criminal Code allows a justice of the peace to make a call on the cause of a person's death according to Big Bend Now. Judge Guevera went to the ranch at 4:30 p.m. after she had already ruled his death as caused by natural causes. FBI agents and the U.S. Marshal Service were also on the scene when she arrived. A hearse for Alpine Memorial Funeral Home transported Scalia's body from the ranch at the family's request. His body was to be flown to a funeral home in El Paso.
There are many unaccounted for hours that transpired between Scalia's body being discovered by the resort's staff early Saturday morning and the afternoon call ruling his death by natural causes, ruling out the possibility of an autopsy being performed by Texas authorities. Justice of the Peace Beebe says he didn't receive any notification of Justice Scalia's death until after he arrived at a political forum that started at 2:00 p.m., many hours after his body was discovered. If the Scalia family doesn't request an independent autopsy, conspiracy theories will explode across this nation. The timing and convenience of Scalia's death is going to be difficult for many American to accept. If Obama is allowed to appoint another super liberal lawmaker like Justice Kagan or Justice Sotomayor to the bench, the U.S. Constitution will effectively be dead as Justice Scalia, an originalist, warned of happening on more than one occasion because of rulings made by activist judges on the high court to re-make the U.S. Constitution by interpreting it in ways never intended by its original framers. The Second Amendment, for one, is dead if Obama gets to name another liberal activist to the bench.
|Entrance to the secluded Cibolo Creek Ranch where Justice Scalia was found dead (Sasha von Oldershausen Photo)|
UPDATE: CBS News is now reporting that law enforcement officials in El Paso are now debating whether an autopsy on Scalia's body should be performed, notwithstanding Judge Guevara's decision not to seek one.
A procession of law enforcement officers early Sunday escorted the body of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia to a funeral home in El Paso, Texas, where officials are waiting to hear whether an autopsy will be performed.
Chris Lujan, a manager for Sunset Funeral Homes, said about 20 law enforcement officers arrived early Sunday morning at the funeral home. The procession traveled more than three hours from the West Texas resort ranch where Scalia, 79, was found dead in his room Saturday morning. Lujan said if an autopsy is requested by Scalia's family or ordered by a justice of the peace, then an El Paso County medical examiner would likely perform it at the funeral home.
Tentative plans call for Scalia's body to be flown on Tuesday back home to his family in a northern Virginia suburb. President Barack Obama has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at the Supreme Court, where Scalia served for three decades, and other federal buildings throughout the nation and U.S. embassies and military installations throughout the world.NO AUTOPSY
WFAA-TV in Dallas has more on Judge Guevara's ruling on the cause of death, which she intends to record on his death certificate as myocardial infarction despite the fact no autopsy has been conducted on his body. "History is being made" as Judge Guevara said in recounting the events of yesterday. She said she spoke to Scalia's physicial last night, who had just seen him last week for a shoulder injury. She said his medical records indicated he had several unspecified chronic conditions.
The Texas death certificate for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will list myocardial infraction — a heart attack — as the official cause of death, Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara told WFAA on Sunday.
She was shopping yesterday afternoon in the neighboring town of Alpine when Presidio County Sheriff Danny Dominguez called her on her mobile phone after lunch.
“He says, 'Judge, I’m at Cibolo Creek Ranch, and a Supreme Court justice has just passed away, and I need someone here immediately. Both justices of the peace are out of town at this time,'” Guevara recounted to WFAA.
“I said, 'Sheriff, what did you say? Which Supreme Court Justice died at Cibolo Creek Ranch?’ And the phone went dead, because our connection was very bad,” she explained.
Cell phone service is spotty in far West Texas. There’s no service at the ranch where Scalia passed away.
“He called me back and he gave me a few more sentences until it broke up again. And that’s how the conversation went for 20 minutes,” the county judge recalled.
Guevara said she immediately recognized Scalia’s name as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and pronounced him dead over the phone at 1:52 p.m. on Saturday.
She planned to drive to the ranch — about 30 minutes south of Marfa — but returned when a U.S. Marshal told her by phone: “It’s not necessary for you to come, judge. If you’re asking for an autopsy, that’s what we need to clarify.”
Judge Guevara said she wanted to clarify details of Scalia’s death before deciding whether to order an autopsy.
“As part of my investigation, one of the things I did ask the sheriff and the U.S. Marshal: 'Were there any signs of foul play?' And they said, ‘Absolutely not.’ At that time I still wanted to be careful, and asked them if [Scalia’s] physician would call me.”
The justice’s personal doctor called her at 8 p.m. Saturday night
“When [the physician] explained [Scalia] had just visited on Wednesday and Thursday and [the doctor] had done an MRI, then I felt comfortable what I knew was going on with him physically,” Guevara said.
The judge said Scalia went to his doctor for a shoulder injury last week, but also suffered from several chronic ailments.
On Saturday night, at his family’s request, Justice Scalia’s remains were moved from the ranch to El Paso, where a funeral home will embalm his body and prepare it to be flown to back to the East Coast.
When the funeral home contacts Judge Guevara, she said she will then fill out the official death certificate to be permanently filed in Presidio County.
“After I did my job, yes, I kept playing it over and over in my mind and thought, ‘Oh my God. History is being made in Presidio County,” Guevara told WFAA. “It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Scalia was visiting the ranch with friends on a hunting trip. Guevara said she did not know he was here.
“I just feel that we have lost a great defender of the Constitution, and it’s a big loss for the United States of America,” she said.WASHINGTON POST REPORTER SKEPTICAL
Even the Washington Post is reacting skeptically:
Inside the cloistered chambers of the Supreme Court, Justice Antonin Scalia’s days were highly regulated and predictable. He met with clerks, wrote opinions and appeared for arguments in the august courtroom on a schedule set years in advance.
Yet as details of his sudden death trickled in Sunday, it appeared that the hours afterward were anything but orderly. The man known for his elegant legal opinions and profound intellect was found dead in his room at a hunting resort, either by a housekeeper or the ranch owner, according to conflicting reports.
It then took hours for authorities in remote West Texas to find a Justice of the Peace, officials said Sunday. When they did, she pronounced Scalia dead of natural causes without seeing the body and decided not to order an autopsy. A second Justice of the Peace, who was called but couldn’t get to Scalia’s body in time, said she would have ordered an autopsy.
“If it had been me...I would want to know,’’ Juanita Bishop, a Justice of the Peace in Presidio, Tex., told The Washington Post in an interview Sunday about the chaotic hours after Scalia’s death at the Cibolo Creek Ranch, a luxury compound less than an hour from the Mexican border.
The U.S. Marshals Service has yet to issue a statement on the events surrounding Scalia’s death Saturday. And as official Washington tried to process what it means for politics and the law, some details of his final hours remained opaque.
As late as Sunday afternoon, there were conflicting reports about whether an autopsy would be peformed, though officials later said Scalia’s body was being embalmed and there would be no autopsy. One report, by WFAA-TV in Dallas, said the death certificate would show the cuase of the death was a heart attack . . .
Although it is uncertain if Scalia went hunting on this particular trip to Cibolo Creek, law enforcement officials said he arrived Friday and attended a party Friday night with about 40 people. Scalia left the festivities early to go to bed, said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not an authorized spokesperson. It was unclear if Scalia was not feeling well at the time.
Scalia did not appear for breakfast with others from the party, officials said; people at first though he might be sleeping in, but eventually grew concerned. A housekeeper then found the body, according to Presidio County Judge Cinderela Guevara.
After emergency personnel and officials from the U.S. Marshals Service were called to the scene, two local judges who also serve as Justices of the Peace were called, Guevara said in an interview Sunday. Both were out of town, she said — not unusual in a remote region where towns are spread far apart.
Guevara was also out of town but she said she declared Scalia dead based on information provided by officials at the scene, citing Texas laws that allow a Justice of the Peace to declare someone dead without seeing the body.
Guevara declined to comment further to the Post, but told WFAA that Scalia’s death certiticate would list list myocardial infraction — a heart attack — as the official cause of death . . .
Lujan said that Scalia’s family did not request an autopsy and that the body is being prepared for the funeral and will be transported back to Washington on Monday. It is under guard by six law enforcement officials, including U.S. Marshals and Texas state troopers, Lujan said.
“An autopsy was declined at about 3:30 a.m.,” Lujan said. “The Justice of the Peace said there was no indication of foul play and that he died in his sleep from natural causes.”If you want to change the course of American history, just send an important government official to Texas. Dead people don't talk.
|El Presidente Suite where Scalia's body was found. The name is fitting considering Texas' history with assassinations|
The New York Times snags an interview with the resort's owner, John Poindexter, who said he was the one who discovered Scalia peacefully lying in his bid with his hands folded when he checked on him about 11:00 a.m. He tried to raise him earlier in the morning but just assumed he decided to sleep in rather than join his party for breakfast. "It was just like he was taking a nap," Poindexter said. He just went to sleep and didn't wake up." He added, "His hands were sort of almost folded on top of the sheets . . . The sheets weren't rumpled at all. Poindexter told The Times that Scalia had arrived early on Friday and turned in for the night about 9:00 p.m. after dinner. Poindexter says he had just met Scalia once before in Washington. He traveled at his invitation to his ranch at the recommendation of one of his friends. He described Scalia as being "very congenial, very convivial" during his time with him the previous day. Sasha von Oldershausen contributed from Texas to The Times report by Alan Blinder and Manny Fernandez. Below is a picture of Poindexter being honored by President Obama in 2010 with the Presidential Unit Citation for his combat unit's service during the Vietnam War. Poindexter's J.B. Poindexter is the the world's largest producer of truck bodies and pickup truck accessories.