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Controversial Texas Law Leads To Push Against Travis County DA

A Travis County resident wishes to “hold rogue” District Attorney José Garza accountable for “official misconduct,” utilizing a 2023 Texas law designed to eradicate much of the discretionary power that locally elected prosecutors possess.

Under House Bill 17, which came into effect last September, courts are empowered to oust district attorneys for “official misconduct.” That could include refusing to prosecute certain criminal offenses under state law, such as low-level marijuana possession.

Governor Greg Abbott, upon signing the bill, emphasized its aim to rein in “rogue” district attorneys in Texas’ predominantly left-leaning counties, particularly in response to those who exhibit reluctance to prosecute alleged abortion-related or election crimes.

Garza, among others, found himself in the crosshairs of this legislative effort.

Mary Dupuis, a resident of Travis County, lodged a petition on April 8 to remove Garza from his post, citing allegations of incompetency and official misconduct.

According to KUT News, the filing, occurring shortly after Garza’s overwhelming victory in the March Democratic primary for district attorney, accuses him of indiscriminately pressing charges against law enforcement officials and failing to prosecute certain crimes, notably those related to abortion.

Dupuis’ petition adds to a previous challenge faced by Garza under HB 17. Although another petitioner, Jason Salazar, attempted to remove the DA from office last December, his felony drug charge precluded him from pursuing the case under the same law.

In a recent development, Judge Dib Waldrip of the 433rd District Court in Comal County appointed Bell County Attorney Jim Nichols, a Republican, to litigate the case. Waldrip’s order mandates Garza’s appearance in a Travis County District courtroom on May 16. 

Garza conveyed to KUT News that he views the attempt to remove him from office as politically driven and anticipates its failure. He reaffirmed his steadfast dedication to maintaining justice within Travis County. 

Staff
Staff
Written by RA News staff.

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