More "change" at the DA's Office

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The District Attorney’s Office is in the Chronicle twice in one day. This article features an idea about forcing some defendants to go to trial regardless of their wishes. Now, usually when I agree with a defense attorney like Mark Bennett, I have to stick my head out the window to make sure the world hasn’t ended. However, I totally agree with Mr. Bennett in his assessment of Jim Leitner.

The loudest voice against the plan came from Mark Bennett, president of the Harris County Criminal Lawyers association, who said the District Attorney’s Office was treating people’s fates like a game or a law school mock trial exercise.

“It’s unethical,” Bennett said. “A prosecutor’s job is to seek justice, not win easy cases.

Amen! Another problem with this is the standard Harris County practice is to schedule several cases for trial on the same day. The prosecutors and the defense attorneys have to call all of their witnesses into court and then huddle up and decide which case will actually go to trial, and everyone else will have to go home and come again another day. This plan of Leitner’s would also force more police officers to put their lives on hold to come to court when they normally wouldn’t have to. This keeps the officers from their regular patrol or detective duties, preventing them from serving the citizens. This plan would also force civilians to put their lives on hold as well when it wouldn’t be necessary.

However, there could be one benefit to this plan. Perhaps the DA herself could actually try a case and get rid of that stigma of never having prosecuted a case.

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