KVUE reports (the Austin-American Statesman also had an article, but the paywall just ticks me off) that Rosemary Lehmberg has successfully persisted through a removal trial. As I mentioned briefly on Monday, this stems from a complaint citing a little-known Texas statute authorizing removal from office for “intoxication.” Yes, prohibition really is one of those gifts that keeps on giving. Rosemary Lehmberg, of course, is the District Attorney of Travis County who was arrested earlier this year for drunk driving. She later pleaded guilty to the offense, spent some time in jail before temporarily checking herself into rehab for alcoholism.
The trial, which lasted three days, featured most of its testimony from the prosecution. They largely focused on the crime, as well as what the article calls “testimony from her therapists,” which I am sure pertain to alcoholism and her alleged inability to successfully conduct herself in a place of business.
Lehmberg’s defense largely depended upon testimonials from her office and others with a say in how her professional duties are carried out. The witnesses, which included a CPS officer, the DA First Assistant and a local Judge, all echoed the same belief that the alleged alcoholism has not and would not impair her work at the Courthouse.
The trial was a bench trial, not a jury trial, meaning that the Judge (in this case, Judge David Peeps, an administrative judge from Bexar County, because the entire Travis County judiciary recused themselves) unilaterally delivered a verdict. His verdict was that the petition/complaint was denied and Lehmberg would remain in office. Her term expires after the 2016 election, which Lehmberg has already pledged not to run in.
Lehmberg, a Democrat, was at the center of controversy in June after Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, promised to severely slash funding for her office if she did not resign. This is very important because any ‘district’ officeholders (Read: District Attorney) are appointed by the Governor in cases of vacancy. She did not resign, Perry slashed funding and now the Governor is being investigated for corruption. But that is a whole other issue. Additionally, the Travis County District Attorney’s office is rather important because it houses the Public Integrity Unit, which investigates wayward public servants (including, ironically, the aforementioned corruption complaint against Perry).