EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Just a day after Bill Hicks was appointed as the new District Attorney, Yvonne Rosales’s name was removed from the DA’s office at the courthouse and Hicks already announcing how he will bring the office “back on track.”

In his first interview Hicks promised, besides the Walmart shooting case he will prioritize the case backlog and staffing shortage at the DA’s office.

Chief public defender Kelli Childress-Diaz said she hopes that the communication between her and DA’s office will improve with Hicks in office, as well as the cases moving faster.

Childress-Diaz filed almost 1000 cases that were dismissed while Rosales was in office, saying there are about that many more eligible for dismissal.

“Mr. Hicks talking about that being one of his top priorities is music to my ears. We’re really anxious to get things running smoothly again, get people into the court system who need to be there so they can have their day in court, so I can effectively defend them and to get people who do not need to be in the court out,” she said.

Hicks also acknowledged the issue that is affecting both victims of crimes and those accused.

“We’ve got to address the backlog, the fact that too many victims of crime have gone to the police, had charges filed and those charges just sit for months on end without any resolution only to find out that their cases were dismissed. Because no one at the district attorney’s office was able to look at those cases,” he said.

The staffing shortage impact at the DA’s office extends to the public defender as well.

Childress-Diaz explained because of the lack of attorneys her clients are waiting for their trials longer.

“They are either not prepared or they don’t have enough of people to literally to show up to court to cover trials,” she explained.

On Thursday’s County Commissioner’s Court, one agenda item was a request from the DA’s office for county funds of over $1.7 million to fill 20 positions in the office.

The item was deleted by commissioners as it was filed by the interim DA George Al-Hanna prior to Hicks being appointed.

Hicks said in his interview on Wednesday that he is looking to hire more staff in the office and is expecting for some of the previous staff to return referring to some who have left during Rosales’s term.

In a brief interview on Thursday, County Attorney Jo Anne Bernal said it is time to move forward also confirming that her request to dismiss the case for Rosales’s removal was approved.

“I know that there are so many good, hardworking employees at the D.A.’s office and I hope that everyone in the community will remember that there are good public servants working really hard to protect the community, protect victims, I think that should be our focus, we need to move forward,” Bernal said.

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