County Attorney

Texas wide receiver Cayleb Jones’ felony charge was dismissed and will be reduced to a misdemeanor to be tried by the county attorney, according to officials from the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and the Travis County Attorney’s Office. 

Jones punched UT tennis player Joey Swaysland on Feb. 22 outside a downtown nightclub after confronting Swaysland and UT volleyball player Khat Bell, according to police. The blow fractured Swaysland’s jaw. Jones was charged with felony aggravated assault on March 12, a criminal offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison. 

Bell told police she had previously been in a relationship with Jones, who had threatened Swaysland before and was jealous of Bell seeing other men — specifically Swaysland. 

According to Nick Valdez, an official at the district attorney’s office, the case was dismissed as a felony and submitted as a reduction to the county attorney’s office on April 12. 

Corby Holcomb, assistant director for the trial division at the county attorney’s office, said the county attorney will examine the case and decide whether to prosecute after the case is filed. As of now, the case has not been filed. 

“Nothing will happen for a while,” Holcomb said.

At a hearing at the 167th Criminal District Court on Monday morning, the case was reset for May 20. Valdez said the reset is misleading due to a lag between computer systems at the two offices, calling the reset “insignificant” because the decision to prosecute is out of the district attorney’s hands. 

UT head football coach Mack Brown issued a statement saying Jones will not participate in team activities until his charges are finalized. 

“We are aware of Cayleb’s situation and disappointed any time one of our players is accused of wrongdoing,” Brown said. “We have talked with Cayleb and his family, and he has been suspended from all team activities pending the completion of the legal process. Any further action will be handled at the conclusion of the legal process.”

Jones’ attorney Rickey Durante Jones could not be reached for comment.

UT wide receiver Cayleb Jones has felony charge reduced to misdemeanor

UT wide receiver Cayleb Jones’ felony charge was dismissed and will be reduced to a misdemeanor to be tried by the county attorney according to Nick Valdez, an official at the District Attorney’s office.

Corby Holcomb, assistant director for the trial division at the County attorney’s office, said the county attorney will examine the case and decide whether to prosecute after the case is filed. As of now, the case has not been filed. Holcomb said “nothing will happen for a while.” 

According to police, Jones punched UT tennis player Joseph Swaysland on Feb. 22 outside a downtown nightclub after confronting Swaysland and UT volleyball player Katherine Bell. The blow fractured Swaysland’s jaw. Jones was charged with an an “aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury" on March 12 – a criminal offense punishable by up to 20 years in prison. 

Bell told police she had previously been in a relationship with Jones, who had threatened Swaysland before and was jealous of Bell seeing other men – specifically Swaysland. 

Rickey Durante Jones – Jones’s attorney – could not be reached for comment. 

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg will plead guilty “without any request for leniency or consideration” to her DWI charge, according to a statement she released.

Lehmberg was arrested and charged with a DWI this past weekend. In a letter sent to County Attorney David Escamilla, Lehmberg said she will accept whatever punishment is deemed appropriate by the sentencing court. Lehmberg said she will waive her right to be considered for probation and to appeal her guilt.

According to county records, Travis County deputies arrested Lehmberg after a witness called 911 at approximately 10:45 p.m. Friday to report a four-door Lexus swerving into oncoming traffic while traveling southbound on FM 620 in Northwest Travis County.

Lehmberg told the deputy she had two vodka drinks earlier in the evening and was on her prescribed medication. According to the arrest affidavit, Lehmberg was carrying an opened bottle of vodka in the passenger seat. The arresting officer described Lehmberg’s demeanor as polite and cooperative, but also “cocky” and “insulting.”

Lehmberg was placed in jail at approximately 2 a.m. and held on $3,000 bond.

“I am truly sorry to have let the citizens of Travis County down,” Lehmberg said in a statement. “I deeply regret my actions and take full responsibility. As I continue to carry out my responsibilities as District Attorney, I hope that the community will forgive my mistake.”

Communication studies professor Dana Cloud, English professor Snehal Shingavi and Coordinator for the Texas State Employee Union Jim Branson wait to deliver a petition in the lobby of President PowerÂ’s office Wednesday before noon. The petition, with over 400 signatures, calls for charges to be dismissed against Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition protestors who were arrested in April.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

President William Powers, Jr. got a surprise delivery Wednesday as representatives of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition brought a petition to his office with more than 400 signatures.

The petition demands that criminal trespassing charges brought against 18 members of the coalition during a peaceful sit-in at Powers’ office last spring be immediately dropped. Powers does not have the ability to drop the charges himself and has said the case is now in the hands of the County Attorney.

“It got turned over to the [County Attorney], and that is the County Attorney’s business,” Powers said.

However, the coalition members believe Powers could influence the County Attorney and ask for dismissal of the charges on their behalf.

Corby Holcomb, assistant trial director for the Travis County Attorney’s Office, said last week that the victim or entity in a criminal trespassing case normally has a say in the charging and sentencing decisions.

“Normally, on a criminal trespass case, say, the property owner where the person was trespassing, they would definitely have input,” he said.

Holcomb declined to comment on the specific influence the University would have in this case, as it is currently ongoing.

The coalition members participated in the sit-in last spring to try and convince the University to join the Worker Rights Consortium, an organization that monitors the working conditions of factory employees internationally. Powers announced in July that UT would join the consortium to monitor conditions at some of the factories that manufacture UT apparel. The students will face trial on the charges Friday in Travis County Court, where they will have to either take one of two pleas offered to them or continue to fight the charges.

Government junior Lucy Griswold, who was arrested at the sit-in, said she believes the charges should be dropped because the sit-in was of a peaceful nature and held as a last resort effort.

“We were peacefully protesting, and this was after years of escalation in the campaign where we had used all of the democratic avenues offered on campus to have a dialogue with the University,” she said.

Griswold said if the University remains silent, it will also send a negative message to the rest of the campus community.

“We feel the charges should be dropped to reserve the right of protests on campus,” she said. “Essentially, this has always been about freedom of speech.”

Dana Cloud, associate professor of rhetoric and writing, said even if the charges are not dropped and the students stand trial Friday, the coalition will continue efforts to have the charges dismissed.

“We are not going to let this go down without a fight,” she said.

Printed on Thursday, September 13th, 2012 as: Petition requests Powers to drop case

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla will lead an inquiry into whether Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and city council members violated the Texas Open Meetings Act by discussing how they plan to vote before general council meetings.

“The complaint alleges that the Mayor and Council have coordinated a regular series of private gatherings of Council members in numbers less than a quorum to conduct private discussions, thereby avoiding the public notice and meeting requirements of the Act,” Escamilla said in a statement.

According to the Act, every meeting conducted by a government body must be open to the public unless it is meant to discuss a personnel matter, land acquisition or legal counsel.

Brian Rodgers, local activist and open government proponent, levied the accusations after he said he withdrew his name from consideration to run for Austin City Council because of frustration at the council’s activities.

Rodgers said he believes Leffingwell meets in his office with two council members at a time, one hour before each general meeting. Rodgers said the mayor met with only two members at a time to avoid establishing a quorum, which would have violated the Act.

The Austin Bulldog, an investigative blog, released on Tuesday a conversation between Rodgers and Council Member Chris Riley. Rodgers said Riley told him most council members finalize their votes before going to the Thursday meetings.

“No one in the council denies that they do this, and they will have to stop meeting in private,” Rodgers said. “When Riley told me that the council already knows how they’ll vote on Thursdays, I sat there angrily thinking about how community activists pour their time and energy into making our city a better place to live — unaware that the council’s votes are set before they even walk into the council chambers.”

Riley denied the accusations.

“In my experience, there is absolutely no intent on the part of any member of the Austin City Council to circumvent the Open Meetings Act,” Riley said in a statement.

Leffingwell released a statement assuring the City Council’s willingness to cooperate with any legal proceedings.

“We’ve been advised by the City Attorney that meetings between individual Council members do not violate the Open Meetings Act, but we will cooperate fully with the County Attorney’s review,” the statement said.