Officials move to dismiss lawsuit filed by woman wrongfully charged with murder

Lizelle Gonzalez listens as a statement is read aloud by her lawyer Cecilia Garza during a press conference held in her office Tuesday, April 2, 2024, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | [email protected])
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Starr County, District Attorney Gocha A. Ramirez and Assistant District Attorney Alexandria Lynn Barrera have filed motions to dismiss the lawsuit against them filed by attorneys representing Lizelle Gonzalez.

Gonzalez, who was previously identified in jail and court records as Lizelle Herrera, made national headlines in 2022 after she was indicted and arrested on a charge of murder for a self-induced abortion. Her attorneys, I. Cecilia Garza and Veronica S. Martinez of Garza Martinez, PLLC, filed the lawsuit against Ramirez, Barrera, and the county for their role in Gonzalez’s indictment and arrest.

Days after filing the motion to dismiss, the county’s attorneys also filed a motion to seal exhibits. Gonzalez’s attorneys responded Tuesday claiming that the exhibits filed under seal have not been produced.

In the response, Gonzalez’s attorneys said that on May 1, attorneys for Ramirez and Barrera “filed their Rule 12 Motion to Dismiss and Opposed Motion to File Sealed Exhibits and Defendant Starr County filed its Motion to Dismiss under Federal Rule 12(b)(1), or Alternatively, under Rule 12(b)(6). Defendants’ Opposed Motion to File Sealed Exhibits referenced and attached a ‘Proposed Agreed Confidentiality Order for Documents Submitted Under Seal.’”

Those exhibits include the Starr County Sheriff’s Office incident report, investigative reports and subpoenas related to a doctor and records from Starr County Memorial Hospital.

They go on to say that the proposed confidentiality order was filed “within four hours of being sent to the undersigned counsel for review, without undersigned counsel having had the opportunity to confer with defense counsel to reach agreement on the proposed order’s terms.”

Attorneys representing both sides of the lawsuit were able to reach an agreement on an “Agreed Confidentiality Order for Documents Submitted Under Seal,” but Gonzalez’s attorneys said that the exhibits filed under seal have not been produced.

The attorneys filed a federal lawsuit in McAllen federal court on behalf of Gonzalez against Starr County, Ramirez and Barrera on March 28. Barrera and Ramirez were served with Summons

As previously reported, the State Bar of Texas fined and imposed a probated suspension against Ramirez in February over the indictment.

Court records indicate that Starr County Sheriff Rene Fuentes has also been added to the lawsuit. He has not yet filed a response.

And initial conference in the case is scheduled for July 11.