EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – With over 11,000 backlogged cases, El Paso District Attorney Bill Hicks said they are focusing on those reaching the statute of limitations and the dismissed cases.

“My concern is with these cases that we have in this backlog is that we don’t lose a case,” Hicks said.

Numerous cases in the backlog are reaching their statute of limitations.

For misdemeanors, it’s 2 years and for felonies it’s 3 years, before they need to be filed by the D.A.’s office. If they’re not filed in that period, they expire and cannot be filed again.

Hicks said they are also prioritizing criminal cases with victims.

“Targeting those crimes which have involved victims because I feel very strongly that the people who have been victimized in our community should certainly have their cases addressed,” Hicks said.

Some of the cases they are refiling are the ones which have been dismissed based on Texas Code 32.01.

The code makes defendants who have not been indicted within 180 days of their arrest be eligible to be released from their bond conditions.

It does not fully dismiss the case, but just the bond conditions.

Hundreds of those eligible cases have been filed by the Public Defender’s office since last year.

Kelli Childress-Diaz, chief public defender, said her office has over 2,000 more cases eligible for dismissal.

“I know they have a mountain to get over. But I’m really looking forward to the day where we don’t have this pre-indictment problem because it’s very difficult to watch my clients struggling like this and have so little access to relief in our court system,” she said.

She said her office is also filing some cases on a speedy trial dismissal motion.

This applies to defendants that have been indicted but a significant amount of time has passed since their arrest. With this motion filing, the case is dismissed fully.

“Cases where witnesses are unavailable, or memories have faded, or cases where evidence no longer exist,” Childress explained.

Childress said they file fewer of those dismissal motions.

Both Childress and Hicks say they have a good working relationship despite being on opposite sides in the courtroom.

“Bringing justice doesn’t just mean seeking convictions. It means getting those cases into court and seeing what is the best direction with those cases,” Hicks said.

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