HAYS COUNTY, Texas – In a recent development, district clerk Avrey Anderson has taken legal action to remove Hays County District Attorney Kelly Higgins from office. As per Hays County court records, Anderson filed the petition on September 12, citing alleged unlawful actions committed by Higgins.
The petition argues that, according to Texas law, a district attorney is entrusted with the responsibility of representing the state in all criminal cases heard in the district court. In this context, Anderson claims that Higgins has failed to fulfill this duty, prompting the need for his removal from office.
This move comes amidst new legislation signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott regarding public safety. One of the bills, HB 17, aims to hold accountable what are referred to as “rogue district attorneys.” According to the law, the refusal of a district attorney to prosecute certain types of crimes amounts to official misconduct. Consequently, such instances could result in the removal of the prosecutor by a judge from outside the jurisdiction.
Governor Abbott shared his perspective on the matter, stating that district attorneys should focus on enforcing the laws if they wish to be involved in law enforcement. He further emphasized that those aspiring to shape state policy should seek positions in the state legislature.
In light of these developments, the petition submitted by Anderson alleges several unlawful actions committed by Higgins. Furthermore, under section 87.011 of the Texas local government code, a district attorney can be removed from office in the case of official misconduct. The petition highlights the decline of an excessive amount of cannabis, meth, and cocaine due to random and non-specific reasons.
As part of the ongoing legal process, the petition also requests a jury trial, seeking the suspension of Higgins and the appointment of another individual to fulfill the responsibilities of the office during this period. In response to the petition, State Representative Erin Zwiener, who represents Texas House District 45, expressed her stance via a tweet.
Through the tweet, Zwiener conveyed her disapproval of Anderson’s actions, questioning his alignment with the values of Hays County. She characterized the lawsuit as a waste of taxpayer resources targeting another county official in an unnecessary and baseless manner.
FOX 7 Austin news reached out to Avrey Anderson for a comment on the petition. In his statement, Anderson addressed the legal grounds for his actions. He emphasized his support for bodily autonomy rights for women and transgender individuals. Anderson acknowledged the negative impacts of prosecuting minor drug offenses on the justice system’s fairness but highlighted the importance of upholding the law as an elected official, including the role of a district attorney.
Anderson further elaborated on his experiences with Higgins, expressing concerns about the district attorney’s lack of professional courtesy and decorum. He recounted an incident earlier in the year where Higgins displayed aggressive behavior, attempting to intimidate Anderson over a misunderstanding regarding subpoena processing. Anderson suggested that better communication between their offices could have resolved the issue.
Additionally, Anderson relayed that tensions between the District Clerk’s office and the District Attorney’s office existed in previous administrations, highlighting his efforts to eliminate these tensions and foster collaboration for the betterment of justice in Hays County. He also shared that other officials had similar issues with Higgins, mentioning instances where the district attorney displayed belligerent behavior within the government center.
In closing, Anderson expressed his belief that Higgins ran on a misleading platform, particularly regarding the prosecution of abortion and medical decisions made between patients and their physicians. Anderson contended that Higgins omitted the fact that no doctor would perform an abortion under the risk of losing their license. Ultimately, Anderson stated that he believes Hays County deserves better.
With the petition and potential legal proceedings now underway, the future of Kelly Higgins as the Hays County District Attorney remains uncertain.