Jeremy Sylestine Campaign Launches New TV Ad Targeting Travis County District Attorney José Garza for Not Prioritizing Public Safety

Video Contrasts Sylestine’s Experience as a Former Public Defender and Prosecutor with Garza’s Inexperience and Inability to Do His Job as DA

AUSTIN, Texas – Former public defender, prosecutor, and Democratic candidate for Travis County District Attorney Jeremy Sylestine today released an ad highlighting his campaign to unseat the current DA José Garza in the March 5 Democratic Primary Election. The video, which criticizes Garza for not doing the job of prioritizing public safety in Travis County, will air on broadcast as well as digital media.

“Families deserve to be safe in our community,” Sylestine says in the ad. “The current District Attorney has given lenient plea deals in over a thousand violent crimes including cases of rape and child sexual assault. That’s not okay.”

“Our families’ safety comes first. José Garza is just not doing his job,” Sylestine continues. “I’m a former public defender and experienced prosecutor. I believe in safety and equal justice. I have the experience and the guts to get the job done.”

According to CBS Austin, Texas Office of Court Administration data reveals Travis County gave 1,007 plea deals for violent crimes from January through October of 2023. The numbers from the Texas Office of Court Administration show:

  • 7 pleas for capital murder
  • 39 pleas for murder
  • 841 for aggravated assault or attempted murder
  • 120 for indecency with or sexual assault of a child

In 2021, KVUE reported on Travis County prosecutors rejecting hundreds of criminal cases after Garza released relaxed bail and sentencing guidelines. According to KVUE, “during the four months analyzed, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office rejected 142 felony cases.” Garza rejected prosecuting 735% more felony cases than his predecessor, including aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault of a pregnant woman, and aggravated robbery.

About Jeremy Sylestine

Jeremy Sylestine was born in East Texas and grew up on the reservation as a member of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe. His grandfather was the Tribe’s Principal Chief. His father worked in the oil fields, and his mother supported the family as a bookkeeper.

Sylestine moved to Austin in 1997 to attend the University of Texas, and later, law school at the University of Virginia, becoming the first college graduate and attorney in his family. He began his legal career as a public defender in WestTexas, and then returned to Austin in 2006 to begin his 15-year tenure in theTravis County District Attorney’s office. During that time, he was a prosecutor and a supervisor; he prosecuted some of the most serious and complicated felony cases on child abuse and domestic violence in a specialized unit, as well as many violent crime cases including capital murder, aggravated robbery, and sexual assault. The convictions he pursued in those cases brought justice and some sense of closure to the victims and made our community safer.

Knowing that progress only comes when we actively foster it, Sylestine coordinated the office’s internship/mentor program for over 10 years, while also serving as an adjunct professor at the UT School of Law. But in 2021, Sylestine felt the DA’s office was moving in the wrong direction, and he chose to step away and start his own private practice in criminal defense.

Sylestine is currently a defense attorney in private practice and proudly serves as the Chief Appellate Trial Judge of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of East Texas. He lives in Northwest Austin with his wife Molly and three daughters.