CAMERON COUNTY, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Prosecutors are appealing a decision from a judge that dismissed nepotism charges against a Brownsville Independent School District (BISD) board member.

Minerva Peña, 64, was accused of committing nepotism by appointing or voting for the appointment of her late daughter-in-law to a teaching position at Veterans Memorial Early College High School between June and August 2021.

She was indicted for the misdemeanor charge in October 2021 and pleaded not guilty.

Peña maintained her innocence throughout the litigation and spoke at an October 2021 board meeting about the subject.

“I 100 percent assure the public I did not commit any of these violations,” said Peña at the board meeting. “People know me, they know how I work. None of this was done with me as directly doing any of the hiring. We’re gonna fight this case with everything to make sure we clarify so in the future nobody is accused of this without any due cause.”

Peña’s supporters argued she could not have appointed the teacher in question because the district’s hiring process requires all appointments to come from the superintendent.

Despite these pleadings, the school board voted to draft a resolution prohibiting her from attending district buildings and events over the course of the investigation.

In February, Peña’s attorney issued a motion to quash the indictment on the grounds that evidence from the state affirms that the hiring came from BISD superintendent René Gutiérrez and not the school board.

On March 31, a visiting judge in the 404th District Court chose to quash the indictment and dismiss the case. This decision was filed in Cameron County court on Friday, April 29.

On Tuesday, Luis Saenz, Cameron County District Attorney, filed a motion to appeal the decision. The notice from the DA’s office says the “state has the right to appeal an order of a court in a criminal case if the order dismisses an indictment, information, or complaint or any portion of an indictment, information, or complaint.”

Since the dismissal of Peña’s case, she has been allowed to return to BISD functions. It is unclear what position the board will take if the appeal is granted.

Peña has served on the BISD school board since 2008 and is the longest active member. ValleyCentral reached out to Peña’s attorney for comment and is awaiting a response.