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Travis County judge charged with DWI does not plan to resign

Judge John Lipscombe was booked into the Travis County Jail around 9 a.m. on May 7 after his arrest near The Domain.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Travis County judge who handles many DWI cases says he won't resign after his recent drunk driving arrest.

John Lipscombe has presided over Travis County Court at Law No. 3 since 2011. While the judge says he won't resign, it's still unclear if he will actually return to bench.

Legally, he can come back to work, according to the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, and can hear cases unless he is convicted. County Attorney Delia Garza says her office won't ask him to step aside from handling drunken driving cases. Those cases make up 65% of Lipscombe's cases overall.

If he doesn't come back to work, he can still hold the office, but the County would have to hire a visiting judge at a weekly rate of $2,950, which could cost the County about $80,000 between now and the end of the year. That's when Lipscombe's current term expires. Right now, the County is paying a visiting judge to cover his seat and has spent about $5,000 doing so since his arrest.

RELATED: Parking lot dispute led to drunk driving arrest of Travis County judge, affidavit says

Credit: Austin American-Statesman

APD arrested Lipscombe at a hotel in the early hours of May 7. An affidavit said he was argumentative and disoriented.

Prosecutors say they are still deciding how to proceed with the case and are awaiting more evidence, including his blood alcohol level.

The KVUE Defenders have asked for APD camera footage of the arrest, but the County Attorney's Office is still considering our request.

Lipscombe's attorney said his client has served Travis County for 31 years and, just like any other defendant, he should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

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