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Mark Gonzalez resigns as Nueces County District Attorney

Gonzalez’s step down came a week to the day he’s set to appear at a pre-trial hearing for a civil lawsuit calling for his removal from office.
Mark Gonzalez
Posted at 8:54 AM, Sep 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-06 14:28:08-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez has resigned, announcing his intention to run for US Senate.

In December, Gonzalez was set to go to trial in a case seeking his removal from office.

In a letter of resignation to Governor Greg Abbott, Gonzalez said the trial will not happen, because "I refuse to play this rigged Republican game, particularly considering Republican's hypocrisy, as their presumptive presidential nominee is under indictment in four jurisdictions across this beautiful country and no less revered."


"They want to use me as a sacrificial lamb to send a foreboding message to other duly elected DAs in Texas who exercise their discretion, intending to chill their constitutional and statutory authority to dispense their duties as they see fit," Gonzalez wrote. "I will not be used that way, nor will I run from a fight."

That civil suit, filed by conservative group leader Colby Wiltse, asked that Gonzalez be removed from office on the basis of incompetency, official misconduct and failure to give bond.

Wiltse claimed Gonzalez mishandled several high-profile cases.

As 6 Investigates previously reported, Nueces County First Assistant District Attorney Angelica Hernandez allowed Breanna Wood's mother, Fallon Wood, to access discovery in the pending capital murder cases of Joseph Tejeda and Sandra Vasquez.

Killed in 2016, seven people were charged in connection with her death.

Following this KRIS 6 News report, criminal defense attorneys filed motions to dismiss both cases.

Those cases were not dismissed, however in a ruling by Visiting Judge Manuel J. Banales he wrote, "The Court finds that, although there was credible evidence of gross incompetence, negligence and/or carelessness on the part of the Nueces County District Attorney's Office in the prosecution and investigation of these cases, such misconduct does not rise to the level requiring the dismissal of the capital murder indictments."

Tejeda pleaded guilty to Breanna Wood's murder last month.

In the cases of Breanna Wood and several cases in which a physician is accused of sexually assaulting patients, the petition alleges Gonzalez has "failed to enact policies for the handling or accountability of evidence in high profile cases often leading to significant delay in the administration of justice."

The petition also claimed the DA's office had failed to pursue indictments "in support of motions to revoke probation.

In June of 2022, 6 Investigates reported on cases in which charges had been abandoned, including the case of Jason Edward Lara, who was charged in the capital murder of two women at the Windrush apartment complex.

Last month, Lara pleaded guilty to these killings.

Last year, Nueces County Community Supervision and Correction Department (CSCD) Director William Schull told KRIS 6 News their deaths could have been avoided if the DA's office had not abandoned new charges against Lara.

The petition also questioned the DA office’s dismissal of thousands of felony and misdemeanor cases.

6 Investigates reported on dismissals by the district attorney's office in August 2022 and its impact on programs designed to rehabilitate offenders.

Among other complaints, the petition alleges Gonzalez has made social media posts advertising his private business, Cruisers, from his office at the Nueces County Courthouse.

"The Defendant's use of government property, services, and his official time to transact business in furtherance of his private gain is an abuse of position," the petition states.

After several delays, the jury trial for Gonzalez was set for December 11, 2023.

Gonzalez, a Democrat, took office January 1, 2017 and was re-elected in 2021.

His latest term was set to expire December 31, 2024.