Temporarily stepping down might be the “prudent and honorable thing” to do for an indicted Texas district attorney, a judge said Wednesday.
But visiting Senior Judge J. Manuel Bañales dismissed a petition to remove Cameron County District Attorney Armando R. Villalobos because it did not meet the legal requirements, the Brownsville Herald reports.
Earlier this month police arrested Villalobos and his former law partner following their indictment as part of an investigation into bribery that felled former District Judge Abel Limas.
Federal investigators have accused Villalobos of accepting more than $100,000 in bribes. Villalobos has pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also has said he would not resign.
Attorney Juan Angel Guerra filed the petition on behalf of Harlingen resident Trinidad Salinas.
Bañales said state law requires that a petition to remove a county or district attorney must be brought in the name of Texas and supported by a good affidavit, which was not provided at Wednesday’s hearing.
Bañales also stated that the law is clear that proceedings for a removal from office cannot be initiated by a private citizen. The petition must come from an officer of the state or the county attorney from an adjoining county or in some instances the Texas attorney general’s office.
Guerra condemned the judge’s decision.
Contact Mike Cronin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.
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Photo of gavel by flickr user walknboston, used via a Creative Commons license.