The PJ Tatler

District Attorney Arrested for Drunk Driving. Let's Play 'Guess the Party!'

The Austin American-Statesman reports that Travis County (TX) District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested Friday night. According to police, a Lexus belonging to her was reportedly seen being driven recklessly and swerving into oncoming traffic at 10:45 Friday night. Lehmberg was arrested a short time later, in a church parking lot, with an open bottle of vodka in the front seat next to her. She was booked for drunk driving. She claimed that prescription medications played a role in her actions. Her breath, according to police, smelled of alcohol.

Lehmberg is, obviously, the person in charge of criminal prosecutions in the county. She is the District Attorney. Now she’s featuring on Mugshots.com. Mugshots reports that District Attorney Lehmberg plans to plead guilty.

She has not resigned and evidently has no intentions of doing so, despite the fact that she will now face the criminal justice system from the side of the defendant. She issued a statement Saturday:

“I am truly sorry to have let the citizens of Travis County down,” the statement said. “I deeply regret my actions and take full responsibility. As I continue to carry out my responsibilities as district attorney, I hope that the community will forgive my mistake.”

There’s a contradiction in there.

Lehmberg has been in the DA’s office since 1976. She succeeded Ronnie Earle, who built a career on partisan prosecutions to such an extent that many Republicans who work in politics simply refuse to live in Travis County out of fear that he would trump something up against them. That’s one way to maintain the Democrats’ local edge.

But if you want to know which party Lehmberg belongs to, you’ll read the Statesman’s story about her arrest in vain. Apparently they just couldn’t quite figure it out. The only reference to party affiliation comes in speculation about what will happen should Lehmberg resign.

The arrest had brought widespread speculation among Lehmberg’s staff, defense lawyers and others who work in Travis County criminal courts about whether she would resign from office. Should that have happened, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican, would appoint the next district attorney in a Democratic-leaning county.

Travis County is known as the blue dot in Texas’ red sea. Surely the Statesman could have let readers know Lehmberg’s party affiliation.