The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office are asking former clients of now-disbarred attorney Mark Benavides to come forward to have their cases reevaluated.
Benavides was convicted in 2018 for six counts of human trafficking for trading sex for legal services. Benavides was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
Since then, the Conviction Integrity Unit reviewed evidence in the case and identified more than 50 women he represented and whose cases may have been tainted.
“What happened to the clients of Mark Benavides was shocking and it was terrible and it’s not how the justice system is supposed to work. We want for everybody who comes through the doors of the courthouse to be treated fairly and to be treated appropriately. It’s our job to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make that happen,” said Christian Henricksen, Chief of Litigation for the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office.
The women were sent letters from the Public Defender’s Office offering representation for their claims for relief. Click here to read the letter sent to victims of Mark Benavides
“Obviously as attorneys, we have a position of trust with our clients. Frankly, the actions of this case tainted the entire profession. If anyone feels that he – Mark Benavides – wasn’t looking out for their best interest, we want them to come forward. I think the biggest message we have for those people is that whatever you say, coming forward, is going to be completely confidential. This isn’t an attempt to rehash what happened to you. We’re not really going to be asking questions about what exactly happened. We just want to facilitate talking to the DA’s Office about what happened and if their case may be subject to reevaluation,” said Michael Young, Chief Public Defender for the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office.
Victims may reach out Marisol Morales, a licensed counselor with the Public Defender’s Office, at 210-335-0701.