Judge assigned in complaint about Perry veto of Public Integrity Unit

Moving along slowly.

Rosemary Lehmberg

A San Antonio judge on Tuesday was assigned to hear a complaint that alleges Gov. Rick Perry committed coercion, bribery and official oppression by vetoing funding for the Travis County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit.

Senior Judge Robert Richardson of the 379th District Court will hear the complaint, which was filed byTexans for Public Justice after the Austin American-Statesman reported that Perry threatened to veto funding for the unit unless embattledTravis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.


Lehmberg recused herself from hearing the complaint in late June, and it was assigned to Judge Julie Kocurekof the 390th District Court in Travis County. Kocurek then also recused herself, and on Tuesday, 3rd Circuit Presiding Judge Billy Ray Stubblefield assigned the case to Richardson, who was defeated in 2008.

See here for more on the complaint. I thought at first that the first sentence in that last paragraph above contained an error, then I realized that the complaint had been filed with the Travis County DA’s office, so of course Lehmberg had to recuse herself, and her office, from deciding whether or not it merited further investigation. I presume handing such things off to a judge is the standard procedure in this kind of situation. I have no idea what kind of hearing there will be, whenever one is set. Who actually presents the case for the complaint, and is there some kind of defense representative? If the judge decides there’s something actionable here, who would then handle the case? My guess would be the Travis County Attorney, but I have no idea about the other questions. I’d love to hear from the lawyers about that. Texas Vox has more.

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7 Responses to Judge assigned in complaint about Perry veto of Public Integrity Unit

  1. Rob Johnson says:

    The judge assigned to the case would have the power to appoint an attorney to act as a special prosecutor and present the case. The Attorney General would be expected to defend the Governor.

    The case should not last long, because it should be dismissed in fairly short order on separation of powers grounds. The judiciary has no business overseeing the Governor’s veto power, which is purely discretionary and inherently political. In addition, the courts have been very careful not to get involved in the state budgeting process any more than school finance has required. If the judiciary did meddle in the state budget, it would not be so shamefully underfunded compared to the other two branches…

  2. Tom Moran says:

    It appears from the surface that there was a two-step deal here. The first was the DA recusing herself. That means a judge would have to appoint an attorney pro tem.
    The second step appears to be that all of the active Travis County district judges recused themselves. So, the administrative judge appointed a retired judge to appoint the attorney pro tem.
    Wow, that got complicated.
    The other alternative is that there is going to be a court of inquiry. But that still will require an attorney pro tem.

  3. Yvonne Larsen says:

    No one has asked why Governor Perry didn’t ask Judge Sadler to resign after he was arrested for drunk driving a number of years back……

  4. Glenn says:

    The issue here is not the veto, but the quid pro quo. Basically extortion and the abuse of power.

  5. George E. Clower says:

    Perry’s foul actions, or failures to act, extend beyond this basic extortion. His, and other of his cronies such as Abbott’s, refusal to extend Medicaid benefits in Texas could be a massive violation of the Texas Child Endangerment Laws since several thousand children who would benefit from the extension of Medicaid might suffer illness and injury that could otherwise be averted. The law appears to be written to prevent such endangerment; hence, I would think, “might” is the operative word here. And if Perry has been consulting with Abbott, and, possibility, other southern governors also rejecting Medicaid extension, might there also be a criminal conspiracy charge. By the way, there is a $1,000 fine for not reporting the endangerment of a child, so run to the phone and call Child Protective Services now.

  6. Pingback: Special prosecutor to be appointed in Perry/Lehmberg veto case – Off the Kuff

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