CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County attorney Jenny Dorsey re-filed a petition to remove district attorney Mark Gonzalez from office Wednesday, the same day he made an impassioned plea for the county to pay his legal fees in the civil action.
Resident Colby Wiltse filed a petition to have Gonzalez removed in January. In February, county attorney Jenny Dorsey endorsed the filing, allowing it to move forward.
During the March 8 hearing, visiting judge David Peeples gave county attorney Jenny Dorsey two weeks to re-file the petition in her own words, a deadline that coincidentally expired Wednesday.
Earlier, Gonzalez signed up for public comment during the regularly-scheduled county commissioners meeting to argue his case, expressing disappointment at the court's inaction during its March 8 meeting -- the same day he was in court for a hearing in the case.
"I was disappointed that I didn’t get one text, one call, about my agenda item that was placed here for approval of my legal fees," he said of that day.
He said it's a move the county would make to protect county jailers and other employees.
He is currently being represented by Corpus Christi attorney Chris Gale.
"Justice does have a cost, and all I ask is that I get representation," Gonzalez said.
He said the move would have precedent.
"I’ve been sued twice in my public capacity, and every time the county has agreed to represent me," he said.
The irony wasn't lost on him, he said, that Wednesday was the anniversary of the landmark decision from Gideon v. Wainwright which guarantees counsel to defendants who can not afford it.
Openpayrolls.com lists Nueces County salaries for 2022. While it doesn't list Gonzalez's salary, it lists his first assistant Angelica Hernandez's at $119,205 a year.
"And it’s almost poetic – it strikes me funny – that we’re here on Gideon Day, when we advocate and we ask that people get a right to an attorney, and that’s all I’m asking for," he said.
He likened himself to William Wallace, the main character in the movie "Braveheart," a man, he said, who had been disappointed by his countrymen.
Gonzalez said he was disappointed that his request had not been put back on the agenda after no action was taken March 8, and disappointed that commissioners were willing to pay for outside counsel to come in and advise them in the matter.
He said that whether the commission was advised to cover his fees or not, that the county already had spent money on the case.
"The reality is, anything, any time wasted by the county attorney, whether it’s prodding my ex-interns or employees who worked for me to try to get something out, it’s on your dime," he said. "I’m asking for the same thing."
He also leaned on "The Legend of Billie Jean," a movie filmed in Corpus Christi in 1985, to drive his point home, getting so caught up in his argument that he mistakenly addressed commissioners Joe A. Gonzalez and Brent Chesney as judges.
"That thing says 'What’s fair is fair,' ” he said. "Commissioner, what’s fair is fair. Shouldn’t I get my legal fees paid for? Commissioner Marez, shouldn’t I? What’s fair is fair. Judge Scott, Judge Gonzalez, Judge Chesney, what’s fair is fair."
County judge Connie Scott told 3NEWS on Wednesday night that the court has asked the Texas Attorney General for guidance in the in matter.