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Prosecutorial Misconduct Allegations Against Four Top Texas District Attorneys: Update

Back in May, we posted about four different news stories coming out of various parts of the Great State of Texas that all dealt with allegations of bad acts on the part of the head District Attorney for their particular Texas county. These were not hired prosecutors within a District Attorney’s office: these were four people who were the head honchos of those offices — the elected District Attorney and Head Prosecutor for that jurisdiction.

Let’s see what’s happened to these four people — two men, two women — in the past 60 days.

1. Nueces County District Attorney Anna Jimenez

Anna Jimenez was appointed to the post of District Attorney for Nueces County by Governor Rick Perry, only to lose her spot in the next general election. In May, we reported that Ms. Jimenez had been indicted on four counts of perjury by Jackson County grand jury (read the details here).

Now we learn that the Corpus Christi Caller Times is reporting that these perjury charges have been dropped.

2. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg

Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for drunk driving in April, admitted her guilt, and served 20 days of a 45 day jail sentence before being released to return to her job as District Attorney for Travis County.

Since then, Ms. Lehmberg faces re-election; can’t drive a car till her 6 month license suspension ends this fall; and has lots of folks wanting her to resign based upon the DWI conviction — including Governor Rick Perry.  Governor Perry wants her to quit and he’s threatened to hold back money for Lehmberg’s Public Integrity Unit until she does so.

Meanwhile, Perry has been sued for holding back the money and Lehmberg is facing an October trial after attorney Rick Reed filed a criminal complaint against her, alleging that Lehmberg committed a state felony “of obstruction or retaliation” after she was arrested. Reed is pushing for Lehmberg to recuse herself as district attorney while the case is pending. She has not.

A special prosecutor has been appointed for this trial, former Brazos County district attorney Bill Turner. Additionally, there’s another news item that alleges Lehmberg is being investigated by the Travis County Sheriff’s Office for a hit and run that happened on the night that she was arrested for driving while intoxicated, near to the scene of her arrest.

One final note on Rosemary Lehmberg: she, along with her fellow Texas District Attorneys, just got a raise ($15,000).

3. Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson

Ken Anderson was the district attorney who made a name for himself, and not in a good way, as a result of the overturning of Michael Morton’s conviction for the murder of his wife. (Read the details here.)

Anderson is fighting being tried for prosecutorial misconduct in the Morton case on limitations grounds. Right now, the trial remains set for September 30, 2013.

4. Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins

Craig Watkins has been the Top District Attorney of Dallas County since 2006, and he’s fighting hard against allegations of prosecutorial misconduct coming out of mortgage fraud charges that were filed against Al Hill III. (Read the history of this controversy here.)

This week, Watkins’ request that District Judge Lena Levario be removed from the case because of bias was denied.

Levario stays put; she’s already found Watkins to be in contempt of court and now the fight is over sentencing based upon that determination.

Levario won’t make that call, though: Watkins’ sentence for contempt will be decided by another Texas District Judge out of Wichita Falls named Bob Brotherton.  Once Levario signs her Contempt Order with clarifications requested by Judge Brotherton, he will take the wheel.  When Brotherton sets a hearing on his part of the case is anyone’s guess, there’s no hearing date set.

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