Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lunacy In the DA's Office

This maybe a regular feature here. Everyone, in every profession starts out wet behind the ears. Nobody expects them to be on top of their game for some time. Some people catch on quick and learn the ropes quickly and within a year or less are kicking ass and taking names. Others (like me) can be a bit slow learning and takes a while to catch their knack. However after some time and some experience start to catch on and kick ass and take names though from time to time have a 'duh' moment. Some get the same experiences over and over and can handle routine matters perfectly, but if they stray from their routine they are lost. Yet some others never seem to catch on and make the same mistakes over and over. Or, they make all new stupid mistakes and makes the rest of the crew wonder how in the hell did they pass the tests. Sadly, there are some officers whose work I review and shudder. I learned that quickly. However I was surprised when I learned this also applies to the district attorney's office.

Incident #1:

I was eating dinner when I got a call. Earlier that night a man had been arrested for aggravated assault of a family member. Generally, when we make an arrest for family violence we file a MOEP (magistrates order of emergency protection) which is a court order for the offender to stay away from his victim and not to assault, harass, contact, etc. The law says the victim can apply for it, or a peace officer on behalf of the victim, or a prosecutor. For whatever reason the original officers never filed the MOEP. We get called back and the victim is afraid and asks for one. The officer's call the DA's office and the assistant DA says they cannot file it because the relationship is landlord/tenant even though they live in the same house. The law defines a family as anyone sharing a household. So, this applies. It astounds me that this ADA does not realize he's not doing his part in trying to protect a victim here. I first told the officer to speak to the intake supervisor. However the more I thought about it, the madder I got and I called him back. After making sure the guy was still in jail (MOEPs are served in the jail before they are released on bond) I told the officer to fill out the MOEP application and fax it to the intake anyhow. If they don't want to file it, and something happens to that victim it will be on them!

Incident #2:

A warrant for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle (layman's term auto theft). The guy first calls up to the office trying to tell us the car owner wants to drop the charges and asks if we can help him. We tell him no. The warrant is filed all he can do is post a bond, go to court and let the charges get dropped there. Then, he calls the car owner (ex wife, girlfriend or something) and offers her more child support money to get the charges dropped (I know classy guy). Then, he calls up and tells her if the case goes to court he will kill her. Now, any rational individual knows this is against the law. The charge is either tampering with a witness, or retaliation. However when the DA's office is contacted, they refuse the charge because they don't want to stack charges on the 'poor' guy! So, according to this assistant DA, a man with a felony case pending can threaten to kill the person who filed charges on him and the assistant DA is worried about stacking charges. Unbelievable!!!!!


chick with a badge said...

You would think that since they had to actually go to law school that the ADAs would know the law, but alas this is not always the case. Worse than when they don't know the law is when they refuse to enforce the law. Our local DAs office refuses to take enhanced DWIs for some reason. They always reduce it to the misdemeanor charge. It's also a pain to get them to take an assault on a peace officer unless there are obvious injuries to the officer. A fellow officer was slapped in the face by a female who he was attempting to arrest, and all was clearly visable on his dash cam video. The DA dropped the charge and kicked it back to the city court for the original warrant service. Really? It was on video! Sometimes its hard to figure out how we are supposed to do our jobs between the public demanding our actions be limited, and then the prosecutors rejecting cases that are clear cut. ugh!

Texas Ghostrider said...

Welcome to the NEW and IMPROVED DA's office. You might want to make this a regular post because I am sure there is plenty there.....