EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – A petition was filed with the District Clerk to remove elected District Attorney Yvonne Rosales from office via jury trial Wednesday morning. The move comes after weeks of public turmoil within her office.
Defense attorney Omar Carmona filed the petition under the Texas Local Government Code Sec. 87.015 pertaining to Petition for Removal. Under the code, a petition for removal is begun after filing with the District Clerk in the county where the District Attorney resides.
“I just felt the urgency with what happened last week with all of the dismissals and now the most important case in El Paso history we don’t know who’s handling the case,” said Carmona.
The petition that was filed lists alleged “unlawful actions” from Rosales.
Including the alleged “decline in criminal case fillings”, stating that in 2021 Rosales closed over 2,000 cases comparing that number to the former District Attorney who closed over 24,000 cases in 2020.
In addition to a “death penalty dismissal” referring to the State of Texas v. Ivan Gabaldon.
Gabaldon’s Capital Murder case was dismissed due to “an unjustifiable penalty” by Judge Alyssa Perez following allegations of misconduct by the case’s lead prosecutor, Curtis Cox.
Carmona served as the defense attorney for Ivan Gabaldon, who was charged with Capital Murder in the slaying of Juan Garcia Flores.
The petition also lists “mishandling of mass murder case”, referencing the Walmart shooter case, State of Texas v. Patrick Wood Crusius.
Two attorneys assigned to the Walmart mass shooting trial were either let go or fired. Last week, several hundred cases were dismissed by a local magistrate judge after the DA’s office failed to file charges in the prescribed time frame.
The petition goes on to list the “Misuse of Public Funds”, in the petition is says the Texas Ethics Commission released an opinion about Rosales using governmental resources for political purposes.
Lastly it says “dismissal of hundreds of criminal cases” which refers to the Jail Magistrate Judged dismissing 370 criminal cases.
“The big question is are we safe and the question you all need to ask yourself and every El Pasoan needs to ask if it were my loved one that was a victim of crime, my child, my spouse, my parents, would you feel comfortable with this office handling that case I believe the answer is no, were not safe, and we just don’t have the confidence in her to continue as our DA,” said Carmona.
In the petition it list two causes of action. Number one being “incompetency”. Under this area of the petition it says “Her conduct demonstrates gross ignorance of official duties or gross carelessness in the discharge of those duties”.
Number two is “official misconduct” where it says “her conduct exhibits an intentional and knowing violation of the law by a public servant”.
The District Attorney’s Office sending us the following statement regarding the petition:
From the Office of the District Attorney
The petition that has been filed to remove District Attorney Yvonne Rosales has been initiated merely as
a political tactic. We believe that it is a frivolous attempt by an attorney who has actively been attacking
the administration for many months now in regard to a case which is pending on appeal. The District
Attorney is committed to serving the community of El Paso. Every attempt will be made to address and
fight this petition. In a democracy, people vote for their elected officials. This is an assault on the
electoral process in a manner designed to undermine our democracy. These types of attacks have taken
place since the first day the first female District Attorney in the history of El Paso took office. Never has
there been so much hateful rhetoric or tactics used against any predecessor. It is a disservice to the
citizens of El Paso that this political stunt will create a distraction from the work being done by the
employees of the District Attorney’s Office on behalf of this community, such as bringing justice to
victims of crime in many serious cases, including the Erika Gaytan murder.
Prior to the statement Omar Carmona who filed the petition brought some of the accusations made by the District Attorney’s office.
“I know people are going to view this, as is this politically charged what are Omar Camona’s motivations behind this I’m doing” this for the safety of the community and I’m also doing this for my clients who are just waiting and waiting their lives on hold,” said Carmona.
Also responding to a question about Rosales being the first female District Attorney in El Paso.
“This has nothing to do with her being the first female District Attorney. When she was elected she made an oath that she was going to administer justice on behalf of this community and she has failed at that,” said Carmona.
Other El Paso Attorneys coming to show their support of Carmona filing the position on Wednesday.
“It breaks my heart to have to say this, she’s been my friend forever, she’s doing a horrible job,” said Dereck Wyatt and El Paso Attorney. “She is destroying this community, nobody is getting justice victims aren’t getting justice victims aren’t getting justice, defendants aren’t getting justice nobody, nobody’s living the way this community should live and now we have the Walmart prosecution in danger, in jeopardy, this should have been brought up a long time ago.”
“From our view we represent thousands of El Pasoans and Texans who are being denied their day in court and just delay, delay, delay.,” said Justin Underwood an El Paso Attorney.
The petition demands a public jury trial. The code requires an assigned district judge to issue a citation, which would be served to Rosales. She could face suspension pending trial.
A temporary appointee may be named to perform the duties of her office pending trial. Rosales would also be required to post bond pending the trial’s outcome.
The case was assigned to the 346th District Court, Judge Patrica Baca presiding. Judge Baca could also refuse to issue the citation order, and the petition would be dismissed at Carmona’s cost.
El Paso State Representative Joe Moody, who sits on the House Criminal Justice Reform and Judiciary Committees, issued the following statement regarding Wednesday’s petition:
“As someone who believes in our system, I’m always leery about anything that puts a decision about who represents the people in any hands besides the people. We have a removal system, and that’s an election in 2024. That said, I’ve never witnessed such gross incompetence—it’s not only embarrassing, it’s dangerous and disgraceful. A lot of El Pasoans are going to be hurt before 2024 by the very person they should most be able to rely on.”Joe Moody, TX Representative Dist. 78
KTSM will have additional details in our Noon, 5 p.m., 6 p.m, and 10 p.m. newscasts.
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