DA race kicks off 2020 election season with candidate forum

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The community had a chance to get to know the candidates looking to become the new El Paso District Attorney Monday evening.

The Region 19 Head Start facility in East El Paso hosted a forum with the four candidates; Yvonne Rosales, Karen Dykes, Roger Montoya and James Montoya (no relation).

KTSM asked each candidate what changes they believe are needed in the DA’s Office.

“First and foremost we need to reform our policies now give individualized case-by-case analysis before we give plea-offer recommendations. Everything right now is very cookie-cutter and it doesn’t take into consideration the particular needs of the victims or their families,” Rosales said.

“I think that they’ve done a great job, but everything can get a little better. I think we can do a little better with transparency, helping people to know what’s going on inside the district attorney’s office. I heard one of the candidates say that you don’t want to see your DA, but in all honesty, I think you do want to see that person in our community,” Dykes explained.

“I think that more prosecutors need to be made responsible for disposing cases. I think more prosecutors, especially at the upper levels. They’re called chiefs some of them are even called super chiefs they’re not necessarily responsible for going to court disposing of cases,” said candidate Roger Montoya.

James Montoya, who currently works under Jaime Esparza as an Assistant DA believes a departure in his current boss’ philosophy on misdemeanor drug cases is in order. “I think we can make strides in screening out bad cases sooner. I don’t think we should be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases. I think we should be diverting those cases along with possession with small amounts of controlled substances out of prosecution,” James Montoya said.

Longtime District Attorney Jaime Esparza announced he is retiring after 28-years in office at the end of his term in 2020.

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