El Paso-centric info and commentary from the Center of North America

NPT County: County Attorney Rodríguez: Sanchez indictment does not remove him from office

News release from the office of El Paso County Attorney José Rodríguez:

El Paso County Attorney José R. Rodríguez informed today that the indictment unsealed against El Paso District Clerk Gilbert Sanchez does not automatically trigger his removal from office. Texas law states that only if Mr. Sanchez were to be convicted of felony charges or misdemeanor charges involving official misconduct, the conviction would operate as an immediate removal.

Rodríguez further explained that, while the charges are pending, Mr. Sanchez will remain the elected District Clerk and has full powers as such, unless Mr. Sanchez resigns or a removal action is filed.

If Mr. Sanchez resigns, Commissioners Court will be able to vote on the appointment a interim clerk to fill the vacancy.

Regarding possible removal petitions, County Attorney Rodríguez said that if a removal action is filed, an out-of-town judge would preside over the case and decide whether the removal has merits. The presiding judge would have the authority to issue a temporary suspension against the District Clerk and appoint another person to perform the duties of the office.

Rodríguez explained that, according to Texas law, appropriate grounds for removal of elected officials from public office include incompetency, official misconduct and intoxication on or off duty caused by drinking an alcoholic beverage.

“We are currently reviewing the indictment in this case to determine if sufficient grounds and evidence exist to pursue a removal action,” Rodríguez concluded.


Written by newspapertreeelpaso

June 5, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The County Attorney could seek one, but also any Citizen can file a removal action too.

    Carl Starr

    June 5, 2009 at 4:22 pm

  2. CLU WINTER 1996
    by Shane Phelps
    When Elected Officials Violate Public Trust
    (Chapter 87 of the Texas Local Government Code)

    Role of the Private Citizen. The list of qualifications for a citizen who wants to file a petition for removal of a county official is short and exclusive. The citizen must be a resident of Texas, must have lived in the county in which he wishes to file the petition for a period of six months, and must not be under indictment in the county in which the petition is filed.

    While any qualified citizen may file a petition for removal, prosecution of the petition still requires that the county or district attorney consent to prosecute. This is so because the suit to remove is prosecuted in the name of the State of Texas. The suit is filed and prosecuted not to protect a private interest but that of the public to be free of injury caused by unfit officials holding office.

    No matter who files the petition for removal, it must be:
    a) written;26
    b) verified;27
    c) addressed to the district judge;28 and
    d) it must set forth plain and intelligible grounds for removal.29

    Carl Starr

    June 5, 2009 at 5:16 pm


    DOJ may rein in use of ‘honest services’ statute
    Fraud statute up for review was key to many convictions.

    Lynne Marek

    June 15, 2009

    A key weapon in the arsenal of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and his prosecutors in Chicago has been a section of the federal anti-fraud statute that makes it a crime to deprive citizens or corporate shareholders of “honest services.”

    It’s been used to convict dozens of state and local government officials, as well as newspaper magnate Conrad Black and former Gov. George Ryan of Illinois. Fitzgerald cited the honest services in the April indictment of another ex-Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich.

    But the U.S. Supreme Court’s May decision to review Black’s 2007 conviction may put the brakes on the honest services provision. The U.S. Department of Justice is likely to rein in use of the provision, 18 U.S.C. 1346, until the high court rules on Black’s appeal next term, former federal prosecutors say. “Anytime that there’s a high-profile review of a conviction, the department tends to just stop in its tracks, and this is a very high-profile review,”

    Author and former Boston Globe correspondent
    Posted: June 22, 2009 11:57 PM

    The Fraud of Honest-Services Fraud

    On June 22, The Boston Globe reported that the now disgraced, former Massachusetts House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi announced that he would challenge the legal and intellectual validity of the controversial and nebulous honest-services fraud statute, for which he had been recently indicted. Windmill tilting notwithstanding, his challenge is both welcomed and justified.

    Carl Starr

    June 24, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: