Incoming El Paso district lawyer makes prosecutors reapply for jobs; about 40 reportedly terminated

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Yvonne Rosales

EL PASO, Texas – Although the El Paso District Attorney election was decided back in July, the lost candidate from that race reappeared on Wednesday with a high-profile video posted online.

On his Facebook account, Assistant District Attorney James Montoya announced that he was leaving the prosecutor’s office and then cited several concerns.

He specifically looked at the decision of District Attorney-elect Yvonne Rosales, saying she plans to get all 200 office workers to reapply for their jobs.

He added that he believed this decision would trigger a massive turnover of staff within the DA office. He went further, claiming this could jeopardize their ability to properly prosecute current and future criminal cases – including that of alleged Walmart mass shooter Patrick Crusius.

“All of the litigation attorneys who worked on this case have all gone and left the office,” he said.

Montoya also alleged Rosales had already notified 40 veteran district attorneys that they would be fired after taking office on Jan. 1.

“That means we will be approaching a turnover rate of 50%,” said Montoya. “Almost all lawyers who are fired are with our dedicated law enforcement agencies or our criminal proceedings departments that handle our most serious criminal cases.”

He believes these are changes that could also delay prosecutors’ ability to prosecute criminal cases in a timely manner.

However, it was well ahead of the July election when Rosales actually appeared on a segment of ABC-7 Extra in which she said that if she was elected she would actually be running a fresh application process. She noted that this was also done by retired District Attorney Jaime Esparza when he took office almost 30 years ago.

“We will be running a new application process for all staff,” Rosales said at the time. “This is something that Mr Esparza did when he took office, and so I think it was a very wise decision and a very wise move to take a page out of this book. We will go ahead and apply all again . “

For his part, Esparza issued a statement on Wednesday stating: “My priority is to ensure that the prosecutor’s transition to the new administration goes as smoothly as possible. I work hard so that the new administration has the tools it needs to make the community successful. “

Regarding Montoya’s allegations, Roslaes told ABC-7 late Wednesday, “I am disappointed that the irresponsible actions of my ex-adversary are disrupting the working relationship I recently established with Jaime Esparza. The current prosecutor and I have worked together to ensure a smooth one.” Appointed on January 1st. “