Criminal JusticeJudicialLocal NewsEl Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales Resigns, Faces Court Hearing over Walmart Shooting Gag Order

Rosales was ordered to appear in court twice this week concerning her removal case and possible violation of a gag order.
November 29, 2022
Yvonne Rosales, El Paso District Attorney (DA), resigned from the office on Monday after facing a petition for removal and discipline from judges for her handling of criminal cases.

Rosales’ resignation letter to Gov. Greg Abbott reads, “It has been an honor and a pleasure serving as the District Attorney of El Paso, Hudspeth, and Culberson Counties, so it is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation effective 5:00 pm, December 14, 2022.”

She named First Assistant Salah George Al-Hanna as acting district attorney.

Rosales, a Democrat, has served as DA since 2020, taking over for Democrat Jaime Esparza, who held the office for three decades.

In September, state District Judge Tryon D. Lewis approved a petition for Rosales’ removal, which accused her of “mishandling” the case of the 2019 El Paso Walmart shooting that took the lives of 23 people.

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Despite the gunman’s trial set for January 2024, Rosales said in a statement to the press that she wanted the trial in the summer of 2023. That prompted District Court Judge Sam Medrano to issue a gag order on Rosales concerning the case, as well as criticize her for not doing enough to prosecute it.

The petition also noted that hundreds of cases in her jurisdiction have been dismissed because her office failed to file charges within 180 days of arrest as required by Texas law.

Lewis had ordered Rosales to appear in court on Monday to allow her defense counsel to withdraw from her removal case. Medrano had ordered her to appear in court on Wednesday to determine if the Walmart shooting gag order had been violated.

Due to Rosales’ resignation, the case for her removal will be dismissed. The governor will name her replacement to serve until the next election in 2024.

Rosales must still appear in court on Wednesday, November 30.

A report from attorney Justin Underwood claims that Municipal Court Judge Roger Rodriguez, as a “representative” of the DA’s office, used a Walmart shooting victim’s widow’s phone to email information and defend Rosales to the press. The report also states that Rodriguez threatened the family of said victim, claiming to have “snipers everywhere.”

The Wednesday hearing will determine whether or not Rodriguez’s alleged actions violated the gag order against the DA.

The Texan reached out to Rosales’ office for comment but received no response by the time of publication.

Update: Rosales did not appear in court on Wednesday afternoon, prompting the judge to schedule another hearing for Thursday. As reported by KVIA, she did appear on Thursday afternoon for the hearing over whether or not she or her office violated Medrano’s gag order. However, when called to the witness stand, Rosales pleaded the Fifth Amendment on each question, refusing to answer. Rosales’ assistant DA Charles Vance condemned Rodriguez’s actions as “completely, completely wrong.”


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Rob Laucius

Rob Laucius is the Assistant Editor of The Texan. He graduated summa cum laude from Hillsdale College in 2022 with his Bachelor’s in History, and has interned for the U.S. House of Representatives and Veterans Administration. In his free time, he continues to read and write.