EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Today under District Attorney Yvonne Rosales, 88 cases were dismissed with most of them involving domestic violence.
According to retired judge Penny Hamilton, the claim that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a large backlog of cases is true but says Rosales’ office should have people who screen the cases and trials beforehand to give them enough time to prosecute.
“If you’re not going to trial then you should have plenty of time to take care of those new cases that are coming in and that’s not happening obviously because of all of these 3201 dismissals.”
A majority of these cases do involve domestic violence and according to executive director Sandra Nevarez Garcia of the Center for Sexual and Family Violence, it is already difficult for someone to come forward so these dismissals cause an even bigger issue.
“It tends to be very difficult right for domestic violence or even sexual assault and so we do know that there is a very small percentage of cases are brought forward and reported and also it depends on the level of how threatening or how risky that particularly that case is.”
Hamilton explains that while these dismissals are extremely unfair for those who come forward, this process is also unfair to the defendants.
“It would also be extremely unfair to the defendants because if you have a defendant who has been arrested for a crime if they have posted bond and gone through a bonding company and typically you know when they pay that 10 percent that money is gone.”
With hundreds of cases still waiting to be brought to trial, Hamilton wants the public to know that it is the job of the district attorney to prosecute those crimes which are now falling through the cracks
“I don’t think as a district attorney that you should be differentiating those things your job is to prosecute those cases and it’s not happening and its not been happening since she took office.”
KTSM did receive a comment from the District Attorney’s office that said, “some of the cases that were dismissed were from the previous administration but under the statute of limitations a misdemeanor family violence case can be legally filed within two years of the alleged incident.”
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