Judge allows Lehmberg to stay in office - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Judge allows Lehmberg to stay in office

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Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is still the DA. The judge in the civil trial to remove her from office ruled that she can remain. But he still criticized her bad behavior last April when she was arrested for drunk driving.

As soon as the verdict was read, the District Attorney walked out of the courtroom and apologized again for her actions.

"I will continue to do everything in my power to make sure there's never a repeat of that kind of conduct," Lehmberg said.

It's a second chance for the District Attorney after receiving a DWI conviction and being diagnosed with alcoholism. But during closing arguments, it was apparent that not everyone thought the second chance should have been given.

"I've never thought it was something that the people needed to worry that one day they were going to wake up and something horrible had happened...my argument was something horrible already happened. And that horrible thing injured the public interest and leaving someone in office after they've done that horrible thing continues to injure the public interest," said Attorney James Collins.

There were six factors the prosecution presented for why Lehmberg should be removed from office, the extent of her intoxication, her intoxication was a pattern of conduct, her behavior to officers, making decisions to commit crimes, her pattern of lying and that she wouldn't succeed in being sober.

"I don't have reason to question her judgment. I believe there is now reason why her judgment will always be questioned," said Collins.

From this point forward, Attorney James Collins believes some people will think her decisions are biased because of the DWI conviction. But he respects the judge's decision and has confidence in Lehmberg.

Several defense attorneys and staff members took the stand. All stating they have never suspected or saw the DA drunk on the job and praise her as a great administrator.

"I think people should be given an opportunity to make a mistake and when they stand up and take responsibility, that's exactly the person you do want in public office," said Defense Attorney Dan Richards.

Financial records used as evidence show that since re-election, Lehmberg has spent more than $1,000 on liquor, breaking down to an average of $12.50 a day. It's something she is working to overcome.

"I promise you I will work diligently to do the right thing as I always have done," Lehmberg said.

She has already served jail time for the offense and continues with therapy.

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg issued the following statement:

"I appreciate the thoughtful attention Judge Peeples gave my case. I am relieved and thankful that the process is over.

I was fortunate to have the highly professional assistance of Dan and Clark Richards, Karina Esparza, Catherine Mauzy and Chuck Herring. I will be forever grateful to them.

I appreciate the many supporters, particularly within my office, who encouraged me along the way.

I deeply regret my actions on April 12th and have taken full responsibility. I am committed to carrying out my responsibilities as District Attorney and to continue serving the voters of Travis County."

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