TX DA Readies To Challenge AG’s Prosecution Reporting Rule

Texas AG Ken Paxton | Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A legal challenge may be mounting against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s proposed rule that requires district attorneys’ offices in Texas to produce quarterly reports on how crime is being prosecuted locally.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales has criticized the Office of the Attorney General’s proposal, which Paxton has not yet enacted.

According to the proposed rule, the new reporting requirements state that “District Attorneys and County Attorneys presiding in a district or county with a population of 250,000 or more are required to submit quarterly and annual reports relating to criminal matters and the interests of the state to the OAG in a manner prescribed by the OAG.”

“Complying with the Attorney General’s proposed rules would cost local taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money,” Gonzales said, per KSAT.

“Pulling prosecutors out of courtrooms to review years-old cases in conference rooms makes no sense — especially when we are seeing tremendous success in prosecution of cases. Add to that the requirement that we send sensitive information regarding victims to a state agency who can then release the information at will and you have a recipe for disaster,” he continued.

On April 9, the Bexar County Commissioner’s Court approved a $50,000 expenditure to seek legal assistance from Miller and Chevalier, a Washington D.C.-based law firm, to represent Gonzales if Paxton implements the rule.

The Attorney General’s Office has suggested that enhancing reporting requirements would make prosecution data more transparent and readily available to citizens, especially with regard to violent crime, as previously covered by The Dallas Express.

The rule, which wrapped up its 30-day public comment period on the Texas Register, would also allow Paxton to file a petition to remove district and county attorneys failing to comply with the reporting requirements.

“District Attorneys who choose not to prosecute criminals appropriately have created unthinkable damage in Texas communities,” said Paxton in a press release announcing the proposal.

“Some of these officials have developed an unacceptable pattern of failing to uphold the law and adopting policies that privilege criminals over innocent victims,” added Paxton.

Several jurisdictions nationwide have begun to roll back their soft-on-crime policies amid rising crime rates. Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot enacted a heavily scrutinized “theft amnesty” policy two years ago, which was rescinded after just a few months. Nevertheless, the initiative’s effects continue to color perceptions of his office and musings about whether he would be affected by Paxton’s proposed rule, as DX has reported.

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