Jaime Esparza served as El Paso District Attorney for nearly 30 years, from 1993 to 2020.

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If confirmed as the U.S. Attorney for West Texas, Mr. Esparza would lead the federal prosecution of the accused Walmart shooter.

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Many El Pasoans are going to see this as a relief after several months of dysfunction in the CURRENT El Paso DA’s office.  Esparza’s successor, Yvonne Rosales, has received massive criticism for “inaction” resulting in hundreds of cases being dismissed. Rosales has also been critical of Esparza for, according to her, “not helping her enough” when she took over the DA’s office.

The El Paso District Attorney will still be in charge of the state’s prosecution of the accused shooter. Whether Ms. Rosales will STILL be the DA remains to be seen; a petition for her removal is still moving ahead at this time.

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Here’s the deal: even IF the DA’s office continues with the screw-ups, the accused shooter won’t go free. This person is spending the rest of his days behind bars. The worst-case scenario is that, even with a complete breakdown of the DA’s case, he’ll still face the same charges on the federal level.  That’s 23 charges that each come with the possibility of the death penalty.

BUT…and this is crucial…both Biden and AG Merrick Garland have expressed reservations about applying the death penalty in federal cases. The accused will never go free, but the death penalty is much more likely in the local trial, the one that Rosales would oversee.

The reasons to support Esparza’s confirmation are the same as he himself gave in an interview with El Paso Matters in December 2020.

 “I’m qualified, I have lots of experience and I have a good grasp of the criminal justice system,” Esparza said in that interview.

Let’s call it a safety net. Jaime Esparza should be confirmed as US Attorney for the West Texas district.

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