Supporters come to defense of Travis County DA Lehmberg



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Posted on April 26, 2013 at 6:20 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 26 at 7:51 AM

AUSTIN -- Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg is getting support following a DWI arrest and conviction.

“Alcohol affects people poorly. She made a mistake. It was one night in a life of 35 years of service,” said supporter and Austin attorney Betty Blackwell.

The D.A. is in jail, serving a 45-day sentence after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated. Sheriff’s Deputies took Lehmberg into custody one week ago.

“She is asking the community to forgive her. She is taking full responsibility, both professionally and personally,” said Blackwell.

Lehmberg has said she doesn’t plan to step down from office once she’s out of jail. Nearly 200 lawyers, including former State Bar presidents, civil attorneys, criminal defense attorneys and politicians, are standing by her. They signed an Amicus Brief and filed it Thursday at the Travis County Justice Complex, documenting their support.

The group says Lehmberg's years of success outweigh her troubles.

"She founded the Travis County Children's Advocacy Center, and for her work on behalf of child abuse victims, she was named best lawyer for children's issues. Under her leadership the Public Integrity Unit has successfully prosecuted both Democrats and Republicans who have violated the public trust," states the brief.

“We're talking about one night. We're talking about somebody's career. You look at their entire career, not one mistake,” said Blackwell. 
The brief is filed in response to a series of complaints requesting Lehmberg's removal from office. Video captured the night of her arrest shows her during field sobriety testing and inside the Travis County Jail. At one point deputies restrained her to a chair. The Austin Police Association has said she should step down. They claim she's lost her credibility in office.

Lehmberg still has three years left of her term as DA. Those who filed the brief on Thursday say she doesn't plan to leave once her jail sentence is over, but she will go into treatment.