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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Embattled Michelle Barrientes Vela Steps Down as Constable After Judge's Ruling

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2019 at 10:24 AM

click to enlarge Michelle Barrientes Vela meets the press. - TWITTER / @KSATNEWS
  • Twitter / @ksatnews
  • Michelle Barrientes Vela meets the press.
Michelle Barrientes Vela, who spent much of her term as Bexar County Constable in a media firestorm, has left office.

Her replacement took over Wednesday afternoon.

Leticia Vazquez, a 25-year sheriff’s deputy, was sworn in as Precinct 2 constable after being selected last week from a pool of nearly 30 applicants. However, she was prevented from immediately taking office due to a restraining order filed by Barrientes Vela.

On Wednesday, Judge Martha Tanner dissolved that restraining order, ruling her court didn't have jurisdiction, Texas Public Radio reports. Afterward, Barrientes Vela agreed to vacate her office.

Last month, Barrientes Vela announced plans to run for Bexar County Sheriff, which triggered a state law requiring that elected officials who run for another position step down unless they're near the end of their term. The former constable said she hadn't intended her remark to be taken as a formal announcement.

Barrientes Vela's tenure has been racked with tumult, including a recent raid of her offices by the FBI and Texas Rangers. She's also faced accusations that she and other officials charged the county for out-of-town training trips but never showed up for the sessions.

Barrientes Vela told TV station KSAT she still intends to run for sheriff.

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