I promised that I would not report on scandals for scandals’ sake, but this has some actual political significance. The Statesman reported a few days ago that Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for DWI.
Lehmberg, a Democrat who was just re-elected to a four year term last year, recently announced an “unconditional guilty plea,” meaning that she pre-emptively waives all her legal rights and will accept whatever punishment prosecutors seek. For the record, Travis County formats their prosecution office a little bit different than Harris. In Travis, the DA only deals with felonies in the case of the general public, whereas Misdemeanors (like first-offense DWI) are dealt with by the County Attorney. Accordingly, Lehmberg’s office is not actually prosecuting her.
KVUE reports that she refused a breath test, but was forced into a blood test (I thought that was only on no-refusal weekends?). The results of that blood test are still unreleased to the public. KVUE also report that, in her letter, Lehmberg asked not to be given probation for a penalty.
However, despite all this, Lehmberg maintains that she will not resign. As the District Attorney of the capital region, Lehmberg is one of the most powerful Democrats in the State. If she resigns, her replacement will be a Republican appointed by Governor Perry, and would stay in office until November 2014, when a Special Election would take place.
As much as I do not want Perry to appoint the next Travis County DA, it would complicate measures if the DA was in jail. I wouldn’t have ruled out probation (deferred adjudication or not), if I were Ms Lehmberg, for what is, I could only assume, is a first offense.