A grand jury has declined to indict Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg based on a citizen’s complaint, which alleged she committed a crime by threatening jailers while in jail after her April arrest for driving while intoxicated.
“[W]e have inquired carefully into the case against the above named defendant ROSEMARY LEHMBERG and in this said complaint we have failed to find a bill of indictment against her,” says the Oct. 4 no bill in The State of Texas v. Rosemary Lehmberg, filed in the 390th District Court.
Lehmberg wrote in an emailed statement, “I appreciate the careful work of the Special Prosecutor and the Grand Jury and am pleased that this part of the process is completed. My staff and I will continue to stay focused on serving the people of Travis County.”
Lehmberg was convicted in April of Class A misdemeanor DWI. She served jail time and then voluntarily completed a treatment program. Lehmberg still faces a civil suit, set for trial on Oct. 21, seeking to remove her from office for “public intoxication” and “official misconduct.”
Austin solo Rick Reed filed the criminal complaint against Lehmberg. In the complaint, he alleged that she committed six criminal counts of the third-degree felony offense of obstruction by making two statements toward two corrections officers and a sheriff’s deputy. Reed alleged that Lehmberg was threatening to file a criminal complaint against the officers and deputy, which would result in them “being unlawfully arrested and incarcerated.” [See, " Ex-DA Investigating Complaint Against Rosemary Lehmberg," Texas Lawyer, July 8, 2013, page 1.]
Bill Turner, the attorney pro tem who investigated Reed’s complaint against Lehmberg, says he spoke with the three corrections officers and reviewed the video in the case.
“[T]here was no real conflict in the facts in the case. The issue is whether or not it was a serious and legitimate threat to commit a crime. The jailers that I talked to — all three of them — said that they didn’t consider it anything but a hollow threat. They had seen the same kind of thing routinely in their work,” says Turner, who was the Brazos County DA from 1983 to 2012 and is now of counsel at Brockett & McNeel in Midland.
He adds, “I concluded my investigation — felt like there was a not a crime — but I asked the grand jury to look at it, too, and to exercise their independent judgment, and today, they no-billed the case.”
Reed, a former Travis County assistant DA who ran against Lehmberg in the 2008 Democratic primary, says he knew that, when a grand jury reviewed the case, they might find Lehmberg was intoxicated during the incident, she didn’t “threaten” anyone with physical harm and there wasn’t evidence she followed through on the “threats.”
“It doesn’t surprise me that they declined to indict her, and quite frankly, it doesn’t disappoint me,” says Reed. “I felt like a lot of the citizens of Travis County were concerned that Ms. Lehmberg’s conduct was not going to be thoroughly and independently investigated, and she would not be held accountable for political reasons. I felt like, regardless of the outcome, filing the complaint asking an independent prosecutor be assigned to investigate — I felt there was value in that.”