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Email from Judge Eckhardt re: CA/DA merger

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2 years 10 months ago #543 by JoeHon
See email below from Judge Eckhardt:

Subject: CA/DA merger
Date: Monday, December 10, 2018 at 2:02:14 PM Central Standard Time
From: Sarah Eckhardt

Commissioners:

I fully support the DA and CA proposal – the complete merger of all criminal and civil jurisdictions into a single office. Tomorrow on the dais, I will await a motion and second by two Commissioners to accomplish that merger.

I feel so strongly about the justice benefits of the merger of felony and misdemeanor prosecution that, if the complete merger proposed by the DA and CA fails, I will make the following motion:

Move to pursue legislation consolidating both felony and misdemeanor prosecution in the District Attorney’s Office, leaving the County Attorney with civil responsibilities for the County.


I am pleading with you to merge the felony and misdemeanor prosecutorial functions into a single office. Some have complained the merger will de-emphasize misdemeanor prosecution. YES, IT WILL. Our criminal justice system should be effective, efficient, and fair. It should be no larger than necessary. And involvement in the criminal justice system should be only as onerous as public safety demands. These goals are thwarted by maintaining two offices.

We have long recognized that Texas criminalizes human frailty with little to no connection to public safety. It is no surprise that most people arrested for misdemeanors never have another encounter with the criminal justice system. The arrest itself may have been intervention enough. Charging these people with a crime subsequent to the arrest is an unnecessary expense for all concerned.

For those who actually are a threat to public safety, we need one office of prosecution holistically addressing the criminal behavior through appropriate charging decisions after arrest and targeted interventions throughout the prosecution.

– SE


Joe Hon
Project Coordinator
Information Technology Services

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