The civil jury trial seeking to remove from office Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg based on her drunk driving arrest has been cancelled. This cancellation though prompts questioning if this development is a move to save taxpayer funds and more efficiently move forward the legal process or is it a tactic which might later be used to help the district attorney avoid removal?
The Austin American-Statesman reports that both parties – county prosecutors and Lehmberg’s attorneys – have agreed to skipping a jury trial in lieu of allowing Judge David Peeples, appointed as judge in the case, to decide in December if Lehmberg should be removed from office.
This agreement, approved by the judge, is predicated on Lehmberg having admitted she was intoxicated and pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated. This, per her attorneys, makes a jury trial unnecessary.
Sec. 87.018. TRIAL. (a) Officers may be removed only following a trial by jury.
That said, two questions arise. First, if per the statute Lehmberg can only be removed “following a trial by jury,” does Peeples still have authority to order her removal? And second, if Peeples took such action, does this set up an appeal for Lehmberg?
Lou Ann Anderson is an information activist and the editor of Watchdog Wire – Texas. As a Policy Analyst with Americans for Prosperity – Texas, she writes and speaks about a variety of public policy topics. Lou Ann is the Creator and Online Producer at Estate of Denial®, a website that addresses the growing issue of probate abuse in which wills, trusts, guardianships and powers of attorney are used to loot assets from intended beneficiaries or heirs.