Will this prosecutor remain above the law just like his boss?
August 13, 2013
Travis County prosecutor Brandon Grunewald, 33, was charged with driving while intoxicated over the weekend after he rear ended another vehicle, reports KXAN.
Grunewald was traveling southbound in his 2008 Land Rover on an Austin highway Sunday afternoon when he reportedly collided with a Mini Cooper after it came to a stop.
Public affidavits reveal the officer who responded to the wreck observed Grunewald to have bloodshot watery eyes and smelled strongly of alcohol. The officer also observed Grunewald having difficulty balancing and seemed “confused.”
Grunewald declined to take a breath test and also refused a field-sobriety test. His alcohol level at the time is currently unknown.
Grunewald was booked into the Travis County Jail Sunday afternoon but was later released when he posted bond, which was set at $3,500. Records show he was also ordered to immediately install an ignition lock on his vehicle that prohibits drinking and driving.
KHOU reports, last March Grunewald prosecuted Charles Roberts Jr., 24, who was “chased by police and crashed into a bus stop” killing 41-year old Rondal Lynn Brooks.
“Roberts was sentenced to 25-years in prison, however Grunewald asked that he get a 34-year sentence,” reports the American-Statesman.
Grunewald has been employed with the DA’s office since August 2006 and received a yearly salary of $83,424.
Grunewald’s boss, Travis County District Attorney (DA) Rosemary Lehmberg, was arrested for driving while intoxicated in April when another driver reported her for “driving about a mile in the bike lane” and also for “swerving and veering into oncoming traffic.”
Police discovered an open bottle of vodka in the front seat of Lehmberg’s vehicle.
The dash cam video shows Lehmberg looking disheveled and stumbling about while the officer instructs her to complete a field-sobriety test. The DA stands with her arms crossed, appearing visibly upset as she tells officers that they are going to “take her to jail” and “ruin her career.”
Lehmberg was eventually booked into jail and because of her unwillingness to cooperate, was “restrained with handcuffs and leg irons” and forced to submit to a blood draw. Her blood alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit, .239. She plead guilty to the charges and received a 45 day jail sentence (however only served 22 days), a $4,000 fine and a 180-day license suspension under a plea agreement.
Since her arrest, multiple petitions have been filed against the DA in an attempt to remove Lehmberg from office, including one by Rick Reed, who ran against her in 2008. The petition cites “16 counts of official misconduct ranging from coercion of a public servant to retaliation.”
A separate petition was filed to remove her from office “on grounds of intoxication” under which state law allows the removal of a DA on grounds of “incompetency, official misconduct and intoxication on or off duty.”
A report by My Fox Austin disclosed that even the Travis County Commissioner called for Lehmberg’s resignation, however she refused and is still holding office to this day.
In an attempt to save face and “reimburse the public,” Lehmberg announced in late June that she planned to donate the salary she earned in jail to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
She earned a total of $13,358 during her stay in the Travis County Jail.
In regard to Lehmberg’s employee, Grunewald, she said, “It’s a first offense DWI and I don’t know what will happen until I have all the facts. I have never terminated an employee for a first offense DWI and we have had employees with first offense DWI up and down the ranks.”
However, KVUE News learned “Frank Dixon and Cynthia Bell with the Travis County DA’s office were fired for DWI offenses.” The report also revealed a victim witness counselor was fired after a DWI offense.
The DA wasted no time in defending the Travis County prosecutor in saying, “He’s a good lawyer and a good man. He told me he’s terribly sorry for what happened.”
This is yet another example of officials being held above the law, in this case most notably Democrats, since they are the political party in power serving a blue city within a red state.
This is further affirmation that political affiliations trump state law and its penalties which are seemingly put into place for the peasants, meanwhile the royals go right back to business as usual.
This article was posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 1:20 pm