Wednesday, August 08, 2007

DA Susan Reed blocking key Bexar jail crowding solution

Reporter Dave Maass gives Bexar County DA Susan Reed a well-deserved tongue-lashing in an' open letter in the new San Antonio Current. Though Reed won't talk to the press about it, apparently behind the scenes she's opposing local implementation of HB 2391, legislation that would allow police to issue a citation instead of arresting low-level offenders for nonviolent crimes including driving with a suspended license and marijuana possession. County Judge Nelson Wolff conservatively estimated the law would save $10,000 per day in jail costs.

HB 2391 actually was conceived in part by the Bexar County Jail Administrator, and nobody before now ever heard of DA Reed's concerns - indeed, she won't talk to Maass about it now. But she's apparently trying to keep the idea from ever being implemented.

Maass writes to Reed, "SAPD has told us that after talking to you they’ve decided not to implement the cite-and-summons option." He still hopes some other local jurisdictions might be given permission to implement the summons option now that Bexar County will begin to charge them $100 per arrest through an interlocal agreement to house prisoners in the county jail.

"Imagine you’re mayor of a suburban city," Maass suggested, "would you rather spend $100 on, say, infrastructure, or would you rather spend it to lock up a minor offender in a squalid detention center for up to 18 hours?" Indeed! Where are the small-government conservatives when you really need them?

This news comes on the heels of Reed's insensible opposition to the Bexar County needle exchange project and a self investigation that turned up nothing after the recantation of the sole witness/victim in a long-closed capital case.

Reed may not want to talk about it, but IMO she'll pay a price for such hubris. Her self-exoneration in the Ruben Cantu case after she'd presided over a portion as a judge, whatever the reality, cannot avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest. Ultimately that harms the credibility of her office. Now her refusal to implement needle exchange and HB 2391 makes her directly responsible for poorer outcomes and higher costs for both HIV and the jail.

These just shouldn't be her calls. Why should the DA get to defy the Legislature on needle exchange or refuse to work with police to implement their new authority under HB 2391? For that matter, why should she be trusted to investigate her own office's alleged misconduct?

Since Dave Maass wrote an open letter to the DA, I'll offer some direct advice of my own: If you're going to play the part of Dr. No, Mrs. Reed, you at least owe voters an explanation why - don't just skulk around behind the scenes pulling the plug on cost-saving solutions without explaining yourself to the public.

14 comments:

nurit said...

My goodness, what every happened to that document we call the Constitution? Has it gotten so that there are no rules any more for elected officials? Do they only apply to us common folk?

thesanantonian said...

Make sure you call her "Judge Reed". She doesn't like it when you call her "Mrs. Reed". More evidence of her hubris.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

Maybe that's the problem - she's forgotten which job she's supposed to be doing! best,

Don said...

Since when does the police dept, sherrif's office, etc. take orders from the District Attorney, anyway? The DA lobby opposed all of the overcrowding remedies. The cops still have the discretion. Rite?

Gritsforbreakfast said...

They do have discretion under the law, but if she just refuses to work with them to implement it or uses behind the scenes leverage to make things harder, she has pressure points with the police that aren't necessarily visible.

Dave Maass said...

The deal is that Judge Reed would have to craft the language for the citation itself ... and without that, it can't happen

Anonymous said...

Why can't these children (DA, Police, Legislature) play nice?

Most of us learned that skill when we were quite young. Perhaps these folks havn't grown up yet. A stay at TYC would rehabilitate (sorry - punish) them. Or would TYC be just one more brat in the sand box?

Anonymous said...

After we have established if this person is a DA or Judge , which is not clear , reading some of these comments , let's make her pay for the money being wasted for not implementing the new law. The taxpayers need to get more vocal when election time comes around. Da's and Judges who waste your money , need to be booted out.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

She's a former judge, and now the DA.

It's sort of an honorific to call a pol by the highest office they've held, so e.g. Jon Lindsay was alway "Judge" even thought he became a state Senator.

But typically that's an honor others use to show respect, not something people demand. And for the sitting DA, it somehow doesn't sit well with me that she thinks of herself that way.

Anonymous said...

"Where are the small-government conservatives when you really need them?"

Exactly. Just another reason why I left the Republican Party. Actually, it's folks like Susan Reed, Mike Nifong and other zealous prosecutors like them who use government to steal our civil liberties.

Just because she doesn't agree with the statutes doesn't mean she can play czar and impose her own opinions. Talk about ego...

I love Grits for Breakfast. This site really is awesome. It brings to light the true abuses of the system and the information law enforcement, et. al don't want the other half to hear.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

I think I've determined a compromise on what to call Susan Reed. Since she insists on being called "Judge," perhaps we should follow the lead of The San Antonian and declare her Judge Dredd? It has a ring to it, no?

And thanks for the compliment, 9:10, I appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

She does her own thing and doesn't care what you and I think. I hope she gets canned in the next election! She is a poor excuse for someone who is charged with following the letter of the law. I guess what they say about abusing alcohol and killing brain cells is true!
Send her and the Judges packing in Bexar County in the next election.

Anonymous said...

Keep Digging grits! There is more to the competency of the DA!!!!!

Anonymous said...

yea she needs to retire or LETS VOTE HER OUT! KEEP HER OUT!! She has a grudge on all or anyone that has done her or her family wrong, and makes everyone pay. Let the past go and do your job! past is past. The main one has payed for his debt. You cant punish everyone for one mans mistake. VOTE HER OUT, SHE IS NOT BEING EVER FAIR!