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El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales to resign

FILE PHOTO: El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales Credit: KFOX14/CBS4
FILE PHOTO: El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales Credit: KFOX14/CBS4
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District Attorney of El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson counties, Yvonne Rosales, announced her intent to resign from office on December 14.

Rosales' move comes after accusations that led a petition to have her removed from office.

Rosales submitted her letter of resignation to Governor Greg Abbott Monday.

"It is with heavy heart that I tender my letter of resignation effective 5 p.m., December 14, 2022.

Salah George Al’Hanna, First Assistant District Attorney, will serve as the temporary replacement, according to Richard Roman, Rosales' new attorney.

Rosales was expected to make a court appearance for her removal case Monday afternoon.

El Paso attorney Omar Carmona, who filed the petition to remove Rosales from office, attended Monday's hearing.

Once the court was dismissed, Carmona provided his reaction to the announcement.

“Obviously, I think Ms. Rosales made the right decision today, I think that this was overdue but as long as she complies, I am hoping that she does keep her word and resigns 5 p.m. on the 14th of December,” Carmona said.

Carmona added he is not in favor of Al-Hanna replacing Rosales.

“I have no confidence in him either but this is just for two weeks, I think we waited this long but I want El Paso to know definitely brighter days are ahead for the criminal justice system.”

Furthermore, Carmona said while Rosales made the "right decision" there is still a lot of legal work that needs to be remedied.

“The private defense bar, the public defender's office, the DA’s office, the judges court staff is going to be all hands on deck, we have to resolve the backlog, unfile cases and deal with a lot of other things that this administration has left El Paso in a worse situation than we were prior to her being elected.”

"Upon the effective date of her resignation, my office will dismiss the removal proceedings," stated El Paso County Attorney Joe Anne Bernal. "I appreciate that DA Rosales’ decision to resign was a difficult one. It is time, however, that we all focus on ways in which we can work together to improve and repair the criminal justice system in El Paso and ensure a smooth transition to the next DA administration. The needs of the victims, our community and stakeholders must be our primary focus"

Rosales resignation becomes effective once Abbott accepts it or the expiration of eight days, whichever is first, according to Texas law.

Rosales will remain in office as a "hold-over" officer holder, which is a paid position.

Rosales will remain free to exercise all her duties and powers in the "hold-over" status until Abbott appoints Rosales' successor.

The successor must be a licensed attorney, be at least 18 years of age, a registered vote, resided in Texas more than 1 year, at least six months inside the district, be a practicing lawyer, not convicted of a felony and not determined to be incompetent by a Probate Court.

"The DA’s announced resignation does not mean the automatic dismissal of any criminal cases. She remains responsible for ensuring the continued prosecution of existing cases. The community and victims, in particular, should understand that the law provides for a transition to ensure the protection of the criminal cases pending in this district." - Bernal

“This has been a regrettable situation, but I think it is far better to have reached a resolution sooner rather than later. It will avoid further hearings and a trial, and the individual that is appointed can move forward in a timely manner. It is my understanding that the legal process followed its course efficiently, and her decision brings this issue to a swift resolution, which is always optimal," El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser stated.

Reporter Jennifer Cuevas will have a live update on KFOX14 News at Five.

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