Singing Loudly: In Defense of Dallas County

Singing Loudly

Monday, February 28, 2005

In Defense of Dallas County

TChris at TalkLeft had a little to say about the Dallas County District Attorney's Office. Specifically he brings up the problems with the fake drug scandal.

Having sat on the other side of the bench, I have had an opportunity to work closely with many of the prosecutors who work for the Dallas County. It is an office that certainly has it's share of problems, but I honestly believe that it's got a lot of good people and capable leadership.

There are problems. The drug scandal should never have happened. However, I think that they dealt with that problem in a good way. ADA's were fired and new procedures were put in place. Many offices (such as Harris County) seem oblivious to any sort of problems they have in their office.

Occassionally the attorneys will prosecute on cases that really should not be prosecuted. However, they are decent at offering dismissals if you go and speak with them about the case. Many offices have guidelines set so that they will not dismiss a case once the ball is rolling. Furthermore, the individual DA's have alot of discretion on whether or not they will offer a plea. If they decided to (which is most of the time) they are good about bargaining. Typically they are quite fair.

I know a few people who work on the inside, and I know that they think highly of their office. They are good people who are just trying to fight passionately for the county to make things safer. Most of them realize that police err and that they sometimes err. My friends at least realize that listening to the defense attorney offers another valid perspective.

As far as Bill Hill is concerned he could be better. Like I said, I think he's a pretty decent leader. The DA's office has a strong work ethic, a lot of passion for what they do, and they are typically fair.

I certainly think there are problems but overall they are a very decent office with very good attorneys. There aren 't many other offices I would care to be a defense attorney working against because they are challenging, fair, and willing to develop positive professional relationships.

In all of my time there I can't think of any defendant (besides a kid up for the death penalty -- one of the problems with the Dallas County office) with whom I worked, who received a bum deal. This should be a surprising review for anyone who reads my blog with any regularity or knows me in real life. I'm just trying to offer a realistic perspective from what I've seen in the past couple years.

Of course, they could do something tomorrow that would make me turn a 180 on these thoughts.


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