Judge to allow trial in petition seeking removal of Nueces County district attorney
After Nueces County Attorney Jenny Dorsey was given two weeks to amend a petition seeking the removal of District Attorney Mark Gonzalez, a visiting judge issued a citation on Monday allowing a trial by jury.
Judge David Peeples of Bexar County was assigned to the case by Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht after 319th District Judge David Stith and Presiding Judge Missy Medary of the 5th Administrative Judicial Region recused themselves from the case due to possible conflicts of interest.
Dorsey filed the amended petition last week.
She said Gonzalez could appear in court as soon as April 3, depending on when he's served.
The order for issuance and service of citation signed by Peeples states that the defendant shall appear and answer by 10 a.m. on the first Monday following the fifth day after service.
Gonzalez will not be suspended from office pending this trial, the order states.
Order by callertimes on Scribd
The citation came after a Nueces County conservative activist filed the initial petition against Gonzalez in January. The 118-page petition filed by Colby Wiltse, a Nueces County resident and Texas state director for the conservative group County Citizens Defending Freedom, accuses Gonzalez of incompetence, official misconduct and failure to give bond, and alleges he's mishandled high-profile murder cases and criminal dismissal rates, resulting in backlogged cases and a shortage of prosecutors.
During its March 8 meeting, the Nueces County Commissioners Court consulted with outside legal counsel on whether the county is required to provide representation for Gonzalez. The commissioners voted to seek guidance from the Texas Attorney General's Office before making a decision.
A spokesperson for the Texas Attorney General's Office told the Caller-Times last week that it received the opinion request March 14 and had not yet issued an opinion. A spokesperson could not immediately confirm Monday whether an opinion has been issued.
Gonzalez appeared in public comment during the Commissioners Court's meeting last week to ask the county to cover the cost of his legal representation.
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This article originally appeared on Corpus Christi Caller Times: Judge to allow trial in petition seeking removal of Nueces County DA