Sunday, August 12, 2007

New Victoria DA forcing police to follow the law: They don't like it

Since he took office last year, Victoria County District Attorney Steve Tyler has rejected 36% of the cases brought to him by the local police department because there wasn't enough evidence to prosecute, reports the Victoria Advocate ("DA's actions alarm law enforcement," Aug. 12)

The previous DA had "made it known to law enforcement that 'he was going to take every case that came in the door. I've seen prosecutors around the state do that. They quietly dismiss them later (in court). It's intellectually dishonest in the long run,'" said a former prosecutor. Reported the Advocate:

[Previous DA Dexter] Eaves said Tyler just has a different approach to the office.

"I was more willing to go out on a limb as DA, to take riskier cases," Eaves said.

Tyler said 50 percent of Eaves' cases were dismissed in court for a lack of evidence.

"They'd go to trial and didn't have a case," Tyler said. "I can't deprive a person of liberty unless I have evidence."

Sounds reasonable to me, how about you? It also sounds like a big waste of time and money for Tyler's predecessor to take "every case that came in the door" then dismiss half of them later. Tyler says he's willing to meet with police to explain the deficiencies in their cases, but he won't back down on his higher standards.
"What they got used to is not having to comply with the law," Tyler said. "It shows me they're not willing to do anything that's costly and inconvenient. They think I'm giving them hell. I'm telling them the truth, and they just think it's hell."
Bully for him for taking seriously the requirement that DA's seek justice, not just convictions! I wonder how many other DAs have the same attitudes and policy as Tyler's predecessor? Via South Texas Chisme.


Anonymous said...

Interesting... It sounds a lot like the complaints we heard in Collin County after the elected DA refused to go forward on the Dateline NBC "sex sting" cases. Nevermind that there were major jurisdictional problems and serious concerns about the "independence" of the arresting agency having NBC's cameras watching.

There were even cries of the DA being "soft" on crime, which is absolutely ridiculous to anyone practicing law in the area.

It's amazing that when anyone ever questions the police about their techniques, they automatically go on the offensive. It's the external locus of control that surrounds many police departments.

Don said...

I bet we can find a lot of horror stories. Lubbock police went on a morality policing binge recently. The Chippendale dancers came to town and they had six undercover cops waiting to close in at the first provacation. Which they did. One of the dancers allegedly did a "hip thrust" at one of the customers, and it was Katy Bar The Door. They arrested all of the dancers and the manager of Jake's, where they were performing. The DA declined to file the charges, of course. Then the same bunch, headed up by a corporal named Bill Bates, arrested a lingerie shop owner for allegedly selling a "sex toy". Again, nothing illegal, no charges. Looks like the DA would tell them to stop bringing him this crap. In Yoakum County, a 12 year old kid who was having a running feud with another 12 year old kid, accused the other kid's mother of trying to run over him with her pickup. What she had done was give them both a lecture about their quarrel. The boy's (who had a reputation for making stuff up) family called police, and they arrested the woman, about a week later. The DA charged her with Aggravated Assault With a Deadly Weapon, and confiscated her pickup. He kept it for 7 months, when he had to finally drop the charges because he had no case. Point being, sometimes it's the DA, not the cops who go overboard.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the victims, once released, arrest the guilty police officers for false arrest, false imprisonment, and kidnapping?

Don said...

anon, you might want to think about how practical that would be in the real world, no?

Vox Populi said...

yeah but it would be fun.

I can tell you that the DA and the State's Atty in Tampa FL have NO integrity. Online there are case after case where frustrated, grieving parents have been unable to get murderers prosecuted for the murders of their children. Except for one guy who got thirty days ...
Here if the cops do anything inappropriate and many of them DO; they quit and become firemen or security guards and continue to abuse the public and the public trust. I always thought texas or arizona had the worst in the union law enforcement but lately I've been under the impression that lil ol Tampa is way up in the running. I really had NO idea

Unknown said...

Have you seen any movies or police shows on TV? The constitution is just one of the many obstacles that good cops have to face. These guys are shown physically abusing suspects [even ones that are shown to be innocent] and engaging in all sorts of verbal intimidation and threats. That's how "bad guys" are supposed to be treated. These scum on the streets only respect force and toughness.
The same people who watch these programs vote for District Attorney. In these movies and TV shows any DA that actually enforces the constitution is considered another obstacle for our cop heroes. And yes, cops who rough up suspects are always heroes. The bad cops are only the ones who take the bad guys' money as a favor or steal from the bad guys. Even police who "confiscate" ill gotten gains to conduct a sting are heroes.
These are the messages that are constantly being conveyed by our lapdog media onscreen and in pop culture. District Attorneys that don't bend the law to catch these bad guys are villains - even though some are depicted as merely delusional and well meaning, but woefully ignorant of the "real world".