Skip to Content

Incoming El Paso district attorney makes prosecutors reapply for jobs; about 40 reportedly terminated

Yvonne Rosales
Twitter/Yvonne Rosales
El Paso District Attorney Yvonne Rosales.

EL PASO, Texas -- Although the election for El Paso District Attorney was decided back in July, the losing candidate from that race re-emerged Wednesday with an eye-raising video that was posted online.

On his Facebook account, Assistant District Attorney James Montoya announced that he would be leaving the DA's office and then went on to cite several concerns.

He specifically took issue with what he says is the decision by incoming District Attorney-elect Yvonne Rosales, saying that she plans to make all 200 office employees re-apply for their jobs.

He added that in his opinion, this decision would spark a massive turnover of employees inside of the DA's office. He went further, alleging it could endanger their ability to properly prosecute current and future criminal cases - including that of alleged Walmart mass shooter Patrick Crusius.

“All of the trial attorneys that have been working on that case are all gone and they are all leaving the office," he said.

Montoya also alleged that Rosales has already informed about 40 experienced assistant district attorneys that they would terminated once she takes office on Jan. 1..

“That means we are going to be approaching a turnover rate of 50%," said Montoya. "Nearly all of the lawyers that are being terminated are in our special prosecution units or in our felony trial sections handling our most serious criminal cases.”

He believes these are changes that could also delay the DA's ability to pursue criminal cases in a timely manner.

However, it was back before the election in July that Rosales actually appeared on a segment of ABC-7 Extra in which she said that if elected, she would indeed go ahead with a re-application process. She noted this was also done by retiring District Attorney Jaime Esparza when he took office nearly 30 years ago.

"We will have a re-application process for all the personnel," said Rosales at the time. "This is something that Mr. Esparza did when he first took office and so I think it was a very wise decision and a very wise move to take a page from that book. We are going to go ahead and have everybody reapply."

For his part, Esparza put out a statement on Wednesday saying the following: “My priority is to ensure that the transition of the District Attorney’s Office to the new administration goes as smoothly as possible. I am working hard so the new administration has the tools they need to succeed for the benefit of the community.”

As to Montoya's claims, Roslaes told ABC-7 late Wednesday, "I am disappointed that the irresponsible actions of my former opponent are disruptive to the working relationship that I have recently developed with Jaime Esparza. The current DA and I have been working together to ensure a smooth transition into office on January 1st."

Article Topic Follows: El Paso

Jump to comments ↓

Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is an ABC-7 reporter who co-anchors Good Morning El Paso weekends.


KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content