Law could allow for Lehmberg's removal - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Law could allow for Lehmberg's removal

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A little known Texas law could allow Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg to be removed from office following her weekend arrest for DWI.

The law allows almost anyone to petition to get an elected official out of office.

Recently, the law was used in 2003 to remove Williamson County Sheriff John Maspero. He was seen on Georgetown Police dash cam video being escorted into a patrol car after accusations of public intoxication and public urination. He was also accused of sexual harassment of female deputies and biting a dancer while crawling around on the floor pretending to be a dog.

Those allegations prompted the county attorney to use Chapter 87 of the state's local government code to get Maspero out of office.

However, government officials are not the only ones that can invoke this law.

"There is a provision that allows any citizen in the county to file a petition for the removal of the officer of the court for various things like misconduct to consuming alcohol," said criminal defense attorney Erin Shinn.

According to Lehmberg's arrest warrant says she was swerving in and out of a bike lane for more than a mile on FM 620 on Friday night. Officers described her demeanor as polite and cooperative but also cocky and insulting.

She told authorities she had two vodka drinks and was on high blood pressure medication. She has since apologized and sent a letter to the county attorney entering a guilty plea.

Shin explained what a citizen has to do next in the petition.

"They have to go to a district court where at that point a district judge has to decide whether or not to issue a citation so there is some judicial oversight in it," Shin said.

Shinn said she has actually run into this Texas law before.

"I used to practice in Kaufman County where the sitting district attorney was also accused of a DWI and this law came to light again."

There already is a petition on Change.org asking for Lehmberg to resign and a protester was seen Monday at the county courthouse demanding the same action.

Lehmberg has told FOX 7 that she has no plans to resign.

Her first appearance in court for the DWI is set for April 26th at 9:30 in the morning.

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