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Elizabeth Warren Endorses José Garza in Travis County D.A. Race

Garza has promised to end cash bail and address racial inequities in the legal system.

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren on Tuesday endorsed José Garza, a Democrat vying for district attorney in Travis County, Texas. Garza has vowed to end cash bail, to end the prosecution of low-level drug possession or sale, and to address racial inequities in the legal system.

He will face off against current District Attorney Margaret Moore, also a Democrat, in a March 3 primary. Garza, a former federal public defender, is currently the co-executive director of the Austin-based nonprofit Workers Defense Project, and hopes to build on the momentum of cities across the country that have recently elected progressive prosecutors.  

“With José as district attorney, Travis County will gain another champion in the fight to transform our criminal justice system,” Warren said in a statement. “As an experienced public servant with a proven track record of standing up for working families, I know that José will be the fighter that Travis County communities deserve.”

Moore has drawn controversy in Austin for her alleged mishandling of sexual assault cases. In June 2018, a group of women filed a proposed class action lawsuit against Moore and the city of Austin alleging that their cases were marred by law enforcement failures. They claimed Moore’s office disproportionately dismissed cases or refused to prosecute sexual assault cases when the victim was female. More recently, a woman filed a motion for a restraining order against the district attorney and first assistant prosecutor, seeking to block them from alleging that she consented to being sexually assaulted. Moore has denied any wrongdoing. 

Critics also accuse Moore of continuing to ask for cash bail and prosecuting people for possession of a trace amount of narcotics. Last year, Moore said she was hoping to work with the Austin Police Department to reconsider prosecuting cases involving 0.01 grams of drugs such as cocaine or meth. 

“She’s not seeking justice. She’s just seeking to be re-elected,” Seth Manetta-Dillon, a defense attorney in Travis County, told The Appeal. 

Erin Martinson, formerly the managing attorney for Advocates of Victims of Crime at the Texas Legal Services Center, will also face Garza and Moore in March.