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Attorneys for Starr County woman falsely charged with murder following abortion discuss lawsuit

2 weeks 2 days 13 hours ago Tuesday, April 02 2024 Apr 2, 2024 April 02, 2024 10:54 AM April 02, 2024 in News - Local

Representatives of the Starr County woman suing the district attorney and county spoke to the public during a Tuesday press conference.

Lizelle Gonzalez was arrested on April 8, 2022, and jailed following a “self-induced” abortion. Her attorneys say the county district attorney wrongfully charged her with murder.

Gonzalez is seeking $1 million in damages, and her legal team says the lawsuit is not about her abortion. 

PREVIOUS STORY: Woman jailed on murder charge following abortion sues Starr County, DA's office

“Today, we're talking about Lizelle. Tomorrow, it could be you or someone you love,” Gonzalez’s attorney — Veronica Martinez — said. “We will not sit on the sidelines and allow this abuse of power to continue.”

Gonzalez was joined in the press conference by her legal team and her mother. 

The lawsuit states Gonzalez went to the hospital because of complications from an at-home abortion. Hospital staff allegedly reported Gonzalez’s abortion to the office of Starr County District Attorney Gocha Allen Ramirez.

Texas law prevents murder charges from being brought up against the individual who undergoes an abortion. Ramirez is accused of misleading grand jurors to formally charge Gonzalez with murder.

“Ms. Gonzalez was targeted,” attorney Cecilia Garza said. “She was prosecuted and she was persecuted by the district attorney in Starr County."

After Gonzalez spent three days in jail and paid bond, the charges were dropped.

In a public statement, Ramirez said he reviewed state law and found they had no legal basis for the charges — and called the case a “mistake.”

Gonzalez's lawyers say even though the case was dismissed, her arrest and the media attention that came with it are still with her today.

“Lizelle’s life was forever changed by the blatant violation of her civil rights,” Martinez said.

Ramirez was previously fined $1,250 by the State Bar of Texas and had his license placed in a probated suspension.

READ MORE: Starr County DA fined over 2022 indictment against woman charged with murder for 'self-induced abortion'

A filing from the Bar said Ramirez committed “professional misconduct” by allowing the indictment to go forward despite the charge “known not to be supported by probable cause.”

Gonzalez’s attorneys say Ramirez and his assistant were served with the lawsuit on Monday afternoon. Starr County Judge Eloy Vera has yet to be served with the lawsuit.

Channel 5 news reached out to Ramirez for comment, who said he has yet to look over the lawsuit. 

Watch the video above for the full story. 

Read the full statement from Gonzalez's attorney below:

"There is no more basic human right guaranteed by the Constitutions of the United States of America and the State of Texas than the liberty of its citizens to be free from malicious and unjust prosecution. We have no doubt that the Starr County District Attorney, and his office, were well-aware that Texas law exempts a woman who receives an abortion, by any means, from a murder charge and yet chose to pursue an unjust and unconstitutional indictment. Such a flagrant violation of Ms. Gonzalez's basic civil rights cannot be regarded as a mere 'mistake.' The unlawful actions of the Starr County District Attorney's Office irrevocably changed the course of Lizelle Gonzalez's life. Lizelle Gonzalez, through her attorneys at Garza Martinez, PLLC, filed her Complaint not only to vindicate her rights but also to hold the government officials who violated them accountable."

- I. Cecilia Garza & Veronica S. Martinez

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