Questions surround DA candidate Frizell's resignation

Judge Elizabeth Frizell publicly announced she was running for Dallas County district attorney last month.

But WFAA has confirmed with the governor’s office that it didn't receive Frizell's resignation letter last month as required under the state’s Code of Judicial Conduct.

The office says it actually didn't receive it until Wednesday morning. 

The code requires that a judge resign judicial office upon becoming "a candidate for a non-judicial office either in a primary of a general or in a special election.”

Because the governor fills those vacancies, the resignation must be submitted to his office.

WFAA has also confirmed with the Texas Comptroller’s Office that Frizell was paid her $11,666 salary on Monday, April 3. The check covers the entire month of March – and includes a two-week period when she was an announced candidate for DA, and no longer supposed to be occupying a judicial post.

Frizell told WFAA on Friday that she had sent the letter to the governor’s office last month. However, the governor’s office confirmed on Friday that they did not receive it. Spokesman John Wittman said Friday that she was still, at that time, considered to be the judge of that court. 

“I don’t know what happened,” Frizell told us Friday. “I submitted it to the governor’s office. I don’t know what’s going on.”

We spoke to her again on Thursday. She says she re-sent the resignation letter to the governor’s office several days ago.

“I guess they finally got it,” she said.

Asked about her salary for the month of March, she said she would have to check her back account to determine if she had received it.

“Let me get in touch with [the comptroller’s office] to find out because I want to make sure everything was done appropriately,” Frizell said. “If it’s an issue, I will definitely take care of it.”

Frizell submitted a resignation letter on March 15 to Regional Administrative Judge Mary Murphy. She said her last day in that court was March 20.

“I have decided not to continue my term as District Judge of Criminal Court to pursue a career in private practice,” the letter says.

Murphy then appointed a visiting judge to preside over that court until Gov. Greg Abbot appoints a replacement. 

Frizell officially kicked off her campaign for the DA's office on March 21. She is running against former District Judge John Creuzot in the March 2018 Democratic primary. Other candidates are expected to enter the case.

Creuzot said he had no comment on the issue of the questions surrounding Frizell’s resignation.

Whoever wins the race in the Democratic primary will most likely be facing incumbent Republican District Attorney Faith Johnson. Johnson was appointed to the post after last year’s resignation of District Attorney Susan Hawk, who resigned to focus on her mental health.

For eight years, Frizell served as a county criminal court judge handling misdemeanor cases.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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