District Attorney Yvonne Rosales asked Friday that a court petition to remove her from office be dismissed, saying it wasn’t properly filed.

Also Friday, Judge Tryon Lewis of Odessa was appointed to preside over the removal effort.

Omar Carmona

Attorney Omar Carmona filed the petition on Wednesday that alleged that Rosales, a Democrat elected in 2020, should be removed from office on the grounds of incompetency and official misconduct. He said she had been responsible for a litany of failures since taking office, allegations that Rosales said were false.

In a motion filed Friday afternoon Rosales’ attorney, Christina Montes, said the petition didn’t meet legal requirements because it was not joined by County Attorney Joanne Bernal.

“Without joinder by the proper state official, the district court does not have jurisdiction to hear and determine the removal cause,” Montes wrote.

Carmona declined comment on Friday, saying he wanted to review the dismissal motion.

After the petition was filed on Wednesday, it was randomly assigned to 346th District Judge Patricia Baca. Before being elected to the bench in 2020, Baca was a prosecutor in the District Attorney’s Office and ran the family violence unit that was disbanded by Rosales after she took office.

Tryon Lewis

Stephen Ables, the presiding judge of the Sixth Administrative Judicial Region, issued an order Friday afternoon appointing Lewis to hear the case instead. Lewis is a senior judge for Odessa’s 161st District Court, a bench he was elected to serve from 1985-2006.

He served as a Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives from 2005-2014.

Several hours after Ables’ order appointing Lewis, Montes filed a motion on behalf of Rosales asking for Baca to be removed from the case.

The motion said Baca could be a witness in a removal trial because of her former role with the District Attorney’s Office.

The motion also falsely claimed that Baca “provided information to El Paso Matters” for a May 23 story on Rosales’ changes to domestic violence policies. The article briefly mentioned a grant application that Baca had filed when she was a prosecutor.

Robert Moore is the founder and CEO of El Paso Matters. He has been a journalist in the Texas Borderlands since 1986.