The appeal of the wrongful termination lawsuit filed against Starr County District Attorney Omar Escobar is tentatively scheduled for oral arguments the week of April 27 in the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The suit was filed in August 2018 by Bernice Garza, the former coordinator of the Crime Victim’s Unit for the 229th District Attorney’s Office.
In her complaint, Garza alleged that Escobar terminated her for working for her sister’s political campaign.
Garza’s sister, Leticia “Letty” Garza Galvan, unsuccessfully ran for Starr County judge during the March 2018 Democratic Primary.
Escobar denied the claims and filed a motion to dismiss the case which U.S. District Judge Micaela Alvarez granted in April 2019.
In the opinion, Alvarez stated that political affiliation is a necessary job requirement for some positions, depending on their duties.
The judge noted that Garza’s job, as the coordinator for the crime victims’ unit, required her to work closely with Escobar’s office, implement his policies, serve as the public face of his office when working with crime victims, and raise funds for the office by writing grants.
“Each of these supports finding that Plaintiff’s position as Coordinator of the CVU is one in which political affiliation ‘is an appropriate requirement,’” Alvarez stated.
The notice that they would appeal to the Fifth Circuit was filed by Garza’s attorney, Jerad Najvar, in July 2019 and notice that the case was scheduled for oral arguments was posted on Feb. 11, according to court records.