(Notes: Letter of Resignation from Cathy Chopin to District Attorney Anna Maria Jimenez; this letter gives the readers a glimpse of the charged political agenda and autocratic style of Ms. Jimenez – and it also glimpses at how she has become an instrument for COUNTY JUDGE LOYD NEAL & Sheriff Jim Kaelin and others like Rene Rodriguez and other politicos by selectively negotiating deals and targeting political opponents. Note: COUNTY JUDGE LOYD NEAL & SHERIFF KAELIN – who were in the Governor’s committee -- pushed her (Jimenez’) appointment because Mike Skurka, who was next in line when Carlos Valdez resigned, refused to turn Republican. Ms. Jimenez has gone above and beyond to accommodate the Neal Network and his new Democratic Party associates (mostly lawyers) who are making lucrative profits by practicing criminal law… Please find the letter below dated August 31, 2010]
Dear Ms. Jimenez,
Six months ago you approached me and asked me to write a letter of support to Governor Perry for your appointment as the District Attorney of Nueces County after Carlos Valdez resigned. I believed you to be the best Republican nominee and believed in your ability to lead this office without the constraints of politics or ego,so I obliged and happily wrote a letter of support for you, before I knew Mark Skurka had also applied.
Once you received the appointment, you approached me again and asked me to create a training program for new prosecutors, as well as to create a system for relieving the backlog of the thousands of misdemeanor cases that needed to be processed. You did not tell me how to solve these problems, but allowed me to work independently. Since then I have been working diligently, often 10‐12 hour days as well as weekends, to devise a solution to these problems. In these past six months, I have trained over 10 new prosecutors and continued to mentor them once they were placed into a court. Simultaneously, I, with the help of the misdemeanor staff,eliminated the backlog of misdemeanor cases. I also set up a procedure to track cases that our office has not yet received as well as assisted in creating a checklist for all law enforcement agencies to utilize when filing cases. Further, we have filed thousands of cases, as well as reduced the number of arraignment resets from over 400 resets a week to below 80 resets a week. You have never expressed your appreciation by thanking our incredible misdemeanor staff. Rather, you have created a hostile work environment based on your own unfounded speculations and fears.
The office atmosphere has devolved into a culture of oppression and divisiveness. Several prosecutors have been targeted as “not loyal” to you and you have made a concerted effort to alienate them. These prosecutors are some of the most knowledgeable and passionate attorneys in our office. The new supervisors you appointed and insulated yourself with are defense‐oriented and have little, if any, recent experience with prosecution or the daily workings of our office. You follow heir advice, regardless of merit, because they are “loyal” to you. Loyalty to you equtates being right.
The District Attorney’s Office is not about loyalty to one person or one cause. It is focused on ensuring that justice is done. In an effort to do that job, and do it effectively, we should work together, bring in new talent, invest time training them, and, hopefully, retaining them. Our mission should embrace the talent we already have and reward good work, regardless if that person is your supporter or not.
Throughout the last few months, I have become bewildered: you havedeemed me as one of the prosecutors who are “not loyal” to you. You have discussedmy alleged “disloyalty” not only with members of our office, but also members of other departments throughout the courthouse. You have involved others in your decision to brand me as “disloyal” and perpetuated this image of me as a negative gossip who speaks ill of you and your decision making to the media, courthouse staff and Judges. However, you never asked me directly if I in fact spoke ill of you to the media, the public, or the new staff. A specific example of this behavior is the blogger OfficeWorker67 on caller.com. When that blogger began commenting on what was occurring in our office, you assumed it was me who was authoring that blog, or at the very least, you intimated that I was telling new employees what to blog. You never asked me if I was OfficeWorker67. You pulled other prosecutors aside in the office during working hours and asked them if they thought it was me; you discussed it with people who were not members of our office. Initially, I assumed that because you knew me and my character, you knew I would never do such a thing. However, I later learned that was not the case; you just never wanted to discuss it with me. You choose to believe that people are trying to ruin you rather than investigate and discover the truth.
However, despite all of the above, I continued mentoring prosecutors and decreasing the misdemeanor backlog. I continued even though you used such progress to your political advantage, placing the credit with yourself. Your negative treatment towards me and your promotion of my work as your own was not the breaking point for me. I was just glad I was getting to do what I loved, which is prosecuting, as well as teaching and training new employees. My breaking point has come with the unethical behavior you have exhibited and forced upon your employees.
I stayed silent when your motion to Rene Rodriguez became public and you claimed it was a “trial strategy,” even though you showed it to me prior to giving it to him and you were laughing at how funny it was. I stayed silent when you instructed a new misdemeanor attorney to give a pretrial diversion on a DWI case because Chuy Hinojosa asked you to. I stayed silent when you instructed our office to indict Phillip Blum and when it was true billed, you dismissed it because youwanted a “no bill” and then represented the same case with the same facts to get a “no bill.” I also stayed silent when you indicted Adan Munoz, even though there was no evidence in the file at that time that a crime was committed and no way we could prove the elements of the offense for which he was indicted. Later, you blamed the intake attorney for indicting the case and claimed you were unaware Munoz was the Executive Director of Jail Standards, even though the police agency presented the case to you directly and discussed it with you directly several times. The majority of the attorneys in our office work together and ask each other’s advice and direction when reviewing cases, so the above instances are not office secrets that only a few people know about. Rather, this information is well‐known and has produced a dark
cloud over the ethics within the District Attorney’s Office. Based on all the above, I can stay silent no longer. You have forced your employees to make ethical and moral decisions no one should have to make, especially assistant district attorneys. You have made this office into a forum for your reelection, instead of seeking that justice be done.
Your latest endeavor to disband the new prosecutor training program and the procedures I have developed to resolve the decade‐long intake issues, merely because you dislike me is inexcusable. Although you had nothing to do with creating or maintaining those programs, you tout them as your biggest accomplishments in your campaign. I know you see abolishing my position and returning me to a trial court as both a punishment as well as a way to keep me out of the office and observing your behavior. However, I am more than happy to return to a trial court as I have tried over 40 jury cases and been a trial attorney for four years with this office. However, I can not stay silent and watch you compromise the ethics and work product of our office based on personal vendettas and poor judgment. Therefore because of the above, I hereby submit my resignation from the District Attorney’s Office effective Friday September 17, 2010. My last day in the office will be Friday September 3, 2010. Monday, September 6, 2010 is a holiday, and I will begin using y accrued vacation time on Tuesday September 7, making my last day on the ayroll September 17, 2010.