El Paso County attorney agrees to prosecute civil case to remove DA Yvonne Rosales from office
EL PASO, Texas (KTEP) - El Paso County attorney Jo Anne Bernal agreed to prosecute a civil case against District Attorney Yvonne Rosales that is calling for her removal from office, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.
Bernal's filing comes after nearly a month's long wait for her decision. The county attorney was given more time to consider whether to pursue the case by district court Judge Tryon Lewis.
Lewis had allowed a petition to remove Rosales from office to move forward. Now that Bernal has agreed to prosecute the civil case, it could go before a jury to decide.
Bernal's filing on Tuesday called for Lewis to schedule a status hearing.
The district attorney's office released a statement in response to the filing.
"While the county attorney’s action is something we do not agree with, the District Attorney’s Office is not surprised by her decision," the statement said. "It is saddening that El Paso County and the families we represent will now have to endure more disruption amidst an important time for the DA’s office to serve justice throughout our community."
Attorney Omar Carmona petitioned a district court on August 24th to remove Rosales for "official misconduct and incompetence." The DA has called the petition a "political stunt."
Rosales, the first-term district attorney, has faced nearly 1,000 criminal case dismissals, turnover and turmoil over the prosecution of the 2019 Walmart mass shooting case.
Amid mounting criticism, Rosales has accused attorneys and journalists of a conspiracy against her. Her office also called the petition against her 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.”
In a Tuesday statement, Rosales' office said "Citizens of El Paso, the voting public at large, and any current and future elected officials should be on alert to these types of political attacks. The people of El Paso County made their voices heard and voted for a change in the DA’s Office after having the same administration for 28 years."
In September, Rosales penned a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Texas Governor Greg Abbott and state attorney general Ken Paxton alleging she was under "severe retaliation." In the letter, Rosales alleged she was facing a removal petition because her office would not drop a death penalty charge against the accused gunman in the Walmart shooting.