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Home Lawsuit A woman who was accused of murder for inducing her own abortion is now suing a Texas district attorney who was disciplined for allowing the false case to be brought, only to dismiss it days later

A woman who was accused of murder for inducing her own abortion is now suing a Texas district attorney who was disciplined for allowing the false case to be brought, only to dismiss it days later

A woman who was falsely charged with murder in Texas after inducing her own abortion is now suing the DA who allowed the legally baseless case to proceed.

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Lizelle Hererra, aka Lizelle Gonzalez, DA Gocha Ramirez

Lizelle Herrera, who is also known as Lizelle Gonzalez, appeared in a booking photo after her arrest; Starr County District Attorney Gocha Ramirez was seen in a YouTube video (Gocha for District Attorney/screengrab)

The woman, who used to be called Lizelle Herrera and faced an unfounded murder charge in Texas after having a self-induced abortion, is suing the district attorney who got disciplined a few months back for letting the baseless case proceed under his supervision, only to drop it shortly after.

Lizelle Gonzalez, previously known as Lizelle Herrera, filed a $1 million lawsuit for violation of her rights in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division, on Thursday against Starr County DA Gocha Allen Ramirez, alleging that he, defendant Assistant DA Alexandria Barrera, and defendant Starr County should be held accountable for the enduring harm caused by their “illegal and unconstitutional actions.

The complaint, filed by attorney Ida Cecilia Garza, stated that “Due to the Defendants’ unconstitutional actions, the Plaintiff suffered public indictment and arrest, leading to permanent damage to her reputation. If not for the Defendants’ actions, she would not have endured these harms.” The complaint alleges a violation of her constitutional rights. “[Gonzalez] is bringing this case not only to uphold her rights but also to hold accountable the government officials who violated them.”

Gonzalez highlighted the nationwide media coverage of her case, including a mug shot after her arrest, which garnered even more attention after the charges were dropped due to the case being “frivolous.”

Ramirez, an elected member of the Democratic party, was found to have committed in “misconduct” by violating the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct under 8.01(a) — “knowingly make a false statement of material fact” — 3.09(a) — “The prosecutor in a criminal case shall: (a) refrain from prosecuting or threatening to prosecute a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause” — and rules 5.01(a) and 5.01(b). The latter two state:

A lawyer shall be subject to discipline because of another lawyer’s violation of these rules of professional conduct if:
(a) The lawyer is a partner or supervising lawyer and orders, encourages, or knowingly permits the conduct involved; or
(b) The lawyer is a partner in the law firm in which the other lawyer practices, is the general counsel of a government agency’s legal department in which the other lawyer is employed, or has direct supervisor authority over the other lawyer, and with knowledge of the other lawyer’s violation of these rules knowingly fails to take reasonable remedial action to avoid or mitigate the consequences of the other lawyer’s violation.

As a result, Ramirez was given a probated suspension for one year for allowing Barrera, who is under his supervision, to “pursue criminal homicide charges against an individual for acts clearly not criminal” under Texas law.

“[Ramirez] chose to proceed with a charge that was known to not be supported by probable cause,” the disciplinary judgment stated.

The lawsuit asserted that Ramirez and Barrera “knew” that the relevant law “exempted the death of an unborn child from the statute pertaining to murder ‘if the conduct charged is: (1) conduct committed by the mother of the unborn child,'” but they still obtained the grand jury indictment using “false and misleading information and omissions.

Texas Administrative Code explains a probated suspension is a “heightened level of disciplinary action issued for a period of years,” but Ramirez “may continue to practice.”

The legal case focused on the findings of wrongdoing against Ramirez. The argument was that the DA and Barrera should not be able to claim prosecutorial immunity from being sued, and should not be protected by qualified immunity.

“As a result, Defendants Ramirez and Barrera are not eligible for qualified immunity because they either presented or directed the presentation of grand jury ‘evidence’ that lacked legal basis, making their belief in its existence unreasonable,” the complaint continued. “No reasonable grand juror could have thought the law was different because of the Defendants’ unlawful actions.”

The person bringing the lawsuit said the prosecutors took away her freedom, damaged her reputation, publicly embarrassed her, and caused her both mental and emotional suffering. Gonzalez asked for damages exceeding $1 million and a trial by jury.

Law&Crime contacted the DA to get their response.

Read the lawsuit here.

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