district attorney policy: fact or fiction?

In the Harris County Public Defender’s Office CLE today and Judge Belinda Hill spoke on behalf of the District Attorney’s Office. The look of surprise on her face was priceless as she heard some of the “policies” we hear from assistant district attorneys in court.

She will follow up on some of these but, essentially, there is no policy against offering 12.44(a) once a case is transferred to state jail court. There is no policy requiring you to request pre-trial diversion within 30 or even 60 days of first court appearance (there is no set time – despite written signs in some courts attached to prosecutor buckets).

It is the policy of the DA to encourage grand jurors to hear from witnesses, including the accused should he wish to appear, and to allow defense attorneys to present evidence via a grand jury packet (unedited or filtered by the prosecutor) when requested.

So, next time a prosecutor tells you it’s against policy, ask yourself (or administration) if that “policy” is fact or fiction.

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