The Anderson Administration

The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is over 600 employees strong. We are comprised of 306 Assistant District Attorneys, 80 Investigators, and 264 support staff. Support staff includes administrative assistants, caseworkers, court reporters, fraud examiners, IT specialists, paralegals, a public relations officer, a public information officer, social workers, translators, and victim witness coordinators. Our dedicated staff works as a team each day to seek justice in Harris County.

The office is divided into six bureaus: the Legal Services Bureau, the Misdemeanor and Juvenile Justice Bureau, the Public Service Bureau, the Special Crimes Bureau, the Special Victim’s Bureau, and the Trial Bureau.

DA Budget

In 2013 when Devon took office, the budget for FY2013-2014 was $62,192,344.00. She was immediately tasked with reviewing the budget and determining what the priorities were for the upcoming budget cycle. At that time, the DA’s Office had the highest caseload per prosecutor (66%) in Texas.

Devon and key members of her administration have worked extremely hard with the Harris County Budget Office to strategically request new positions only where necessary to provide first-rate prosecutorial services to Harris County.

Since 2013 and through the end of the current budget cycle, there have been 112 new positions added to bolster the infrastructure and strengthen foundations in key divisions, such as Animal Cruelty, Elder Exploitation, Gangs, Human Trafficking, Major Fraud, Mental Health, and Money Laundering.

The current budget for FY2016-2017 is $78,781,574.00, an increase of 27%. Devon is extremely grateful for the support of the Harris County Commissioner’s Court.

As a responsible steward of public funds, she has also implemented many cost-saving programs for prosecuting low-level non-violent offenders so that the focus of the DA’s Office resources  are on prosecuting violent crimes.

Cost-Saving Programs

HCDA Intake Division

In 2015, Neulaw (Baylor College of Medicine, Department of Neuroscience) conducted an independent study of the HCDA intake system. Neulaw observed that in most jurisdictions, a police officer arrests and books a defendant, and then files the criminal complaint, but in Harris County, when a defendant is arrested, the police officer is required to immediately consult with a prosecutor by phone to obtain authorization from the prosecutor to file the criminal complaint. Neulaw concluded that the HCDA intake system compares favorably to systems based on officer discretion, with significantly fewer dropped cases, fewer prosecutor and law enforcement hours wasted, more efficient courtroom dockets, and fewer nights that defendants spend in jail on deficient charges.

Intervention Programs

Intervention Programs for low-level non-violent offenders need minimal resources to manage and data shows that they are successful in diverting these offenders out of the system saving the county millions of dollars. The First Chance Intervention Program (FCIP), the Retail-Theft Pretrial Intervention program (Retail Theft PTI), and Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance Pretrial Intervention Program (PCS PTI) are some of programs established since Devon took office.

Grants

Members of the DA’s Office actively seek out grants from other resources to implement valuable programs saving the county money. Over $1 million in grants have been awarded to the DA’s Office.

Misdemeanor Pretrial Intervention Programs

First Chance Intervention Program

Participation in this program means that the participant WILL NOT be arrested at the scene. The participant will be offered the program and instructed to appear at a location to enroll in the program. If the participant is successful in the program there will be NO CRIMINAL record of this offense.

Begin Date: October 6, 2014

Eligibility Requirements: First-time offender detained for possession of marijuana, 2 ounces or less (Class B) including “Drug Free Zone” POM offenses, and possesses sufficient identifying information.

Exclusions: If a participant has additional charges out of the instant detention (other than Class C tickets), has outstanding warrants or holds (excluding Class C charges), has criminal convictions as an adult (including Class B offense or above), has received or is currently on a probation or deferred adjudication as an adult (Class B offense or above), is currently on bond as an adult (Class B offense or above), or has previously participated in this program or another pretrial intervention program as an adult.

Length of Program: 60 Days or 90 Days

Requirements: The participant is assessed by Pretrial Services and must either perform 8 hours of community service or attend an 8 hours cognitive skills class.

Retail Theft Pre-Trial Intervention: (Post-Charge)

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed. The defendant may seek an immediate expunction.

Begin Date: February 1, 2016

Eligibility: First-time offender charged with Class B Theft (Retail only $100-$750). The property must be recovered and no outstanding restitution. There must be no evidence of assaultive conduct from the defendant toward anyone during this offense of retail theft. The defendant is not required to submit a packet.

Exclusions: A defendant is excluded if he has additional charges arising out of the instant arrest (other than Class C tickets), has outstanding warrants or holds (excluding Class C charges), has criminal convictions as an adult (including Class B offense or above), has received or is currently on a probation or deferred adjudication as an adult (Class B offense or above), is currently on bond as an adult (Class B offense or above), or has previously participated in this program or another pretrial intervention program as an adult.

Length of Program: 90 Days

Requirements: The participant is supervised by Harris County Community Service and Corrections Department and must attend an 8 hours cognitive skills class.

DWI Pre-trial Intervention (Post-Charge)

If the defendant successfully completes the DWI PTI term, the case is dismissed and may be expunged two (2) years after dismissal.

Begin Date: November 4, 2013

Eligibility: First-time offender, B.A.C. of .149 or below (Class B), must have a valid driver’s license and insurance at the time of the offense and possess sufficient community contacts. The defendant must submit a signed and sworn to application which includes employment and/or school enrollment information, and a statement from the defendant admitting guilt. Accidents are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Exclusions: If a defendant has had a previous arrest, has received or is currently on a deferred adjudication or probation, has a conviction for an offense (other than Class C tickets), has previously participated in this program or another pretrial intervention program as an adult, or has a no test/refusal case.

Length of Program: 1 Year

Requirements: The defendant is assessed and supervised by Harris County Community Services and Corrections Department. The defendant must remain alcohol and drug free for the entire term of the agreement, install an ignition interlock device on his/her vehicle and follow the recommendations of the assessment by HCCSCD. A non-driving defendant must obtain a portable breath testing device, Soberlink or SCRAM device.

Veteran’s Court(Post-Charge)

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed. The defendant may seek an immediate expunction.

Begin Date: February 25, 2015

Eligibility: An offender must be eligible for Veteran’s Administration services, must be a veteran with an honorable discharge or general discharge, on active duty or in the reserve or National Guard, have a service connected disability or illness that is related to the criminal offense, be a resident of Harris County, or contiguous county, and a U.S. Citizen or lawful resident.

Exclusions: A defendant is excluded if he has a prior conviction, a deferred adjudication or a pending charge for a 3g offense other than aggravated assault, sex offense (including but not limited to those offense enumerated in TCCP, Article 42.12, Section 13B(b), possession with intent to deliver or manufacturing/delivery of a controlled substance. Clients who are determined to have a serious or persistent mental illness which renders him unable to participate in the structure of Veterans Program will be excluded from the program.

Length of Program: A minimum of six months to sixteen months.

Requirements: An individualized treatment plan will be developed for the participant to receive services from the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs and be supervised by the Harris County Community Service and Corrections Department.

SAFE Court

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed. The defendant may seek an immediate expunction.

Begin Date: April 2015

Eligibility: An offender must be between 17 and 25 years of age at the time of the offense, be charged with misdemeanor prostitution, and a resident of Harris County, or a surrounding county. Exclusions: A defendant is excluded if she has a prior conviction for a 3 g offense, or is accused of being the purchaser/buyer.

Length of Program: 9 months to 16 months

Requirements: The defendant is supervised by Harris County Community Service and Corrections Department and will undergo targeted assessments and participate in the development of an individualized treatment plan based on their unique needs.

Misdemeanor Pre-Trial Intervention (Post-Charge)

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed. Defendant may seek an immediate expunction.

Eligibility: The defendant must be a first-time adult offender. The defendant must submit a packet that includes a signed letter from the defendant explaining the offense and his role in the crime. It is encouraged that the packet also include proof of employment and/or enrollment in school, grades in school, and letters of recommendation cases are thoroughly screened to determine appropriateness for the program. Factors considered are the type of offense, the specific facts of the case, a lack of aggravating factors, juvenile and adult criminal history, employment, education, attendance in school, alcohol or drug abuse, current or prior violence, residential stability, family and/or community support, and the defendant’s attitude about the offense and sentencing.

Exclusions: A defendant is excluded if he has any criminal convictions as an adult (including Class B offense or above), if he has previously been on, or currently is on, a probation or deferred adjudication as an adult (Class B offense or above), if he is on bond or in custody for another pending offense, or if he has previously participated in this program or another pretrial intervention program as an adult.

Length of Program:6 months – 1 Year

Requirements: The defendant will be assessed and supervised by Harris County Community Supervision and Corrections Department. The defendant will follow the recommendations of the assessment by HCCSCD, and complete any terms and conditions required by the State.

Juvenile Pretrial Intervention Program

Non-Petition Deferred Prosecution (Pre-Petition)

If the juvenile successfully completes the program, there will not be a petition filed.

Begin Date: March 2009

Eligibility: Non-violent first-time offenders.

Exclusions: The juvenile has previously participated in the program or has offenses involving a weapon (except possession of knuckles), violence against a person, driving while intoxicated, intoxication assault, intoxication manslaughter, and burglary of a motor vehicle.

Length of Program: 90 Days or 180 Days.

Prosecutors review the facts of each case to make sure it is appropriate for the program. If approved by the prosecutor for the program, the Juvenile Probation Department contacts the offenders before a petition is filed, to ensure that the juvenile and his/her parents agree to participate in the program.

Requirements: All juveniles accepted into the program are required to attend the Juvenile Consequences Program along with a parent. This program is held once a month with representatives from the District Attorney’s Office, Houston Police Department, Harris County Criminal Defense Bar, Houston Bar Association, and Juvenile Probation Department to advise juveniles regarding the consequences of breaking the law. This is a specialized program to avoid adjudication and divert them from the juvenile justice system. Depending on the facts of the case, the juvenile may have additional requirements such as community service, counseling, or restitution.

Exclusions: A defendant is excluded if he has a prior conviction for a 3 g offense, or is accused of being the purchaser/buyer.

Length of Program: 9 months to 16 months

Requirements: The defendant is supervised by Harris County Community Service and Corrections Department and will undergo targeted assessments and participate in the development of an individualized treatment plan based on their unique needs.

Quick Stats as of 8/31/2016:

Felony Pretrial Intervention Programs

Felony Possession of a Controlled Substance Pre-Trial Intervention (Post-Charge)

If the defendant successfully completes the program, the case will be dismissed. The defendant may seek an immediate expunction.

Begin Date: February 1, 2016

Eligibility: Defendant charged with a possession of a controlled substance <less than 4 grams.

Exclusions: If a defendant is currently on bond for another felony case, has a felony conviction, was previously granted probation or deferred adjudication for a felony offense, or has previously participated in any pretrial intervention or diversion program for a felony offense in this or any other jurisdiction.

Length of Program: 1 Year

Requirements: The defendant will be assessed and supervised by the Harris County Community Services and Corrections Department. The defendant will follow the recommendations of the assessment by HCCSCD.

New Start Pre-Disposition Intervention Jail Diversion (Post-Charge)

The goal of this program is to provide intensive community based treatment and services that enable defendants opined competent, incompetent and/are not likely to be restored to achieve mental stability , engage in long –term treatment and reduce interaction with the criminal justice system for criminal behavior due to mental illness.

Begin Date: June 1, 2016

Eligibility: 46B Felony Defendants opined incompetent and not likely to be restored, 46B defendants with a previous adjudication of not competent, not likely to be restored in their most recent case, or 46B incompetent and returned competent.

Exclusions: None.

Length of Program: A minimum of six months.

Requirements: The defendant will be released on a pretrial bond and supervised by New START with intensive case management. The defendant must agree to the terms of the individualized treatment plan in the participation agreement.

Programs in the Community

Make it Right!

In the Make It Right! Program the criminal justice system goes on the road to the community. This is the first program of its kind being offered in Texas.

This program is designed to help members of our community who have unresolved warrants for low-level, non-violent misdemeanor offenses. The goal is to provide these individuals with an opportunity to “make things right” for themselves by getting their outstanding warrants removed and their pending cases resolved in a non-traditional and non-confrontational manner, with NO immediate financial cost and no risk of arrest.

The first inaugural Make It Right! Program was held on June 11th at the Windsor Village United Methodist Church hosted by Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell. There were over 900 people who attended and 85 DA’s Office employees volunteered to assist citizens navigate the event.

Citizens had the opportunity to resolve their outstanding Class C warrants or other pending charges in Harris County Precinct 7 Justice of the Peace Courts.

There was also a Job fair, Community Services fair, and free legal resources available to participants.

“A lot of this is poverty-driven,” says Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson. “They get a ticket and they can either eat or pay their fine. So they don’t show up, they get a warrant, it gets worse.”

List of Eligible Class C Offenses (in Justice of the Peace Courts)

  • Continuing obligation of a child now an adult
  • Criminal Mischief – Less than $100
  • Criminal Trespass
  • Disorderly Conduct
  • Issuance of a Bad Check ++
  • Failure to Appear
  • Failure to I.D.
  • Minor in possession of Alcohol
  • Minor consuming Alcohol
  • Minor in possession of Tobacco
  • Parent Contributing to non-attendance
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia
  • Public Intoxication
  • Theft- Less than $100

++Defendants must bring restitution for issuance of a bad check offenses to be eligible for dismissal.

*Traffic offenses and felonies are not eligible for the Make It Right! program.

The upcoming Make It Right! events in the community near you:

October 22, 2016 at Mount Rose Mount Rose Church of God and Christ, 13000 Crosby Lynchburg Road , Crosby, Texas 77532 for Precinct 3 Justice Courts Only.

November 5, 2016 at Good Hope Baptist Church, 3014 N. MacGregor Way Houston, Texas 77004 for Precinct 7 Justice Courts, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, University of Houston college students only.

January 28, 2017 at Lakewood Church, 3700 Southwest Freeway, Houston, Texas 77027 for Precinct 1 Justice Courts Only.

HCDAO’s Junior District Attorney Academy Program

This is a crime prevention and educational program designed to provide elementary students with an overview of the criminal justice system by allowing them to interact with the various divisions. The program promotes the importance of education, unique skills required for different careers, as well as diverse career paths in law. Through our community outreach efforts, our goal is to spark interest in the legal profession for youth and to increase racial and economic diversity in the legal profession.

The program is part of a concerted effort to offer students, who are just beginning to explore career options, a glimpse into the legal profession. Our office teaches fifth grade students from accredited schools within Harris County on a weekly basis about the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. The students meet prosecutors, including the District Attorney. The goal of the program is to provide students with a basic understanding of the criminal justice system.

Students learn about the divisions in our office, including Animal Cruelty Division, Gang Division and Technical

Services over 6 weeks. A graduation ceremony is held at the completion of the program.

Services over 6 weeks. At the completion of the course, there is a graduation ceremony where the students receive an award for completing the academy.

Office Training Programs

Under Devon Anderson the role of the Training Coordinator has expanded and is creating more training opportunities for Prosecutors, formalizing training programs for the Administrative Assistants and Paralegals, and collaborating more frequently with the Investigators. While trial advocacy and legal updates remain the central focus of the Office’s training program, Devon Anderson has encouraged the Training Coordinator to include innovative programs that push beyond the traditional prosecutorial topics.

Under her leadership, Devon has also mandated that the office train on topics that make the lawyers and staff better able to truly seek justice in their daily practice. These trainings encourage the staff to be aware of all of the factors that affect the criminal justice system – even those not traditionally addressed by prosecutors. Examples include trainings on actual innocence, racial disparity, the various diversion programs available in Harris County, and prosecuting hate crimes presented by the Anti-Defamation League. In addition, training is used to help employees in all areas of life, inside the office and out, through coverage of topics such as stress management, protecting against an active shooter, information about the Open Carry laws, and various leadership trainings.

New Attorney Orientation Program

At least twice a year, the Training Coordinator, in conjunction with Misdemeanor and Juvenile Justice Bureau Chief, plans a New Attorney Orientation. The Office’s newest prosecutors are given a weeklong course that prepares them for their prosecutorial duties, enables them to effectively try misdemeanor cases, and instills in them the ethics and values that make this office a success. Additionally, before a prosecutor is promoted to a felony district court, he or she meets with the Training Coordinator for two sessions. During these sessions, the prosecutor is given the tools and knowledge they need to succeed as a Felony #3 prosecutor. They learn how to screen felony cases, how to run a felony docket, how to prepare for and present cases to the Grand Jury, and what to expect as a new felony prosecutor.

Open Door Advisors Program

This program provides a one-on-one learning experience by giving prosecutors access to the knowledge of more experienced prosecutors who volunteer to be a part of this mentorship program. A prosecutor can approach an Open Door Advisor (whose participation is broadcast by a door placard) at any time to ask for guidance in a confidential and supportive environment.

Actual Innocence Training

In October 2015, the training coordinator helped facilitate an Actual Innocence Program in conjunction with the Conviction Review Section, Anthony Graves, and the Center for American and International Law. The training was held on two consecutive days in the afternoon so that prosecutors could attend. A second training session in this area is scheduled for October 2016.

Consumer Fraud Section

The Consumer Fraud Section has placed an emphasis on being proactive in an effort to better protect consumers. This has included a partnership with the U. S. Department of Homeland Security to focus on the import and illegal sale of counterfeit goods that pose a danger to consumers, as well as, an active partnership with the Houston Police Department to utilize undercover investigators to target scam artists. Emphasis included the arrest of the owner of an auto body shop who had been defrauding customers under the guise of his contract with the City of Houston’s SAFE Clear Program.

Elder Exploitation Section

With the creation of the Elder Exploitation Section, a full time prosecutor and investigator are dedicated to the investigation and prosecution of those who target the elderly. Law enforcement officers now have the ability to contact a prosecutor for assistance and legal advice as they investigate cases involving financial and/or physical or abuse of the elderly. Elder Exploitation prosecutor has also been actively involved in an ongoing project to create a Senior Justice Assessment Center. The Senior Justice Assessment Center will bring together core team members at regularly scheduled meetings to hear cases, make recommendations and implement plans to address the issues related to abuse and exploitation of the growing elderly population. The core team members will include representatives of Adult Protective Services, the District Attorney’s Office, the County Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement agencies and members of the medical community.

Money Laundering Section

A full-time prosecutor, two investigators, and a fraud examiner staff the Money Laundering Section. They have focused on the seizure of the financial profits of criminal organizations, and have successfully targeted illegal gambling operations and prostitution rings. During a six (6) month span from September 2015 through March 2016, the Money Laundering Section assisted local law enforcement agencies in the apprehension of 41 individuals involved in organized crime, and the execution of search warrants that led to the seizure of over $860,000 in U.S. currency.

Animal Cruelty Section

This section is staffed with a Chief Prosecutor and Felony # 2 prosecutor. The Felony #2 prosecutor works on both animal cruelty and domestic violence cases since there is a correlation between the two crimes. In July 2015, an additional administrative assistant was assigned to work on animal cruelty cases and there are now two administrative assistants who work with the animal cruelty specialists. This addition has increased the speed with which animal cruelty charges are filed and the overall efficiency of the Animal Cruelty Section. Additionally, the Animal Cruelty Section receives investigatory assistance from all of the investigators assigned to the Special Victim’s Bureau .

In September 2014, the DA’s Office launched an online tool for citizens to report animal cruelty and the HOPE (Helping Our Pets through Education) Program was launched to proactively prevent and stop animal cruelty. HOPE is an education program for elementary age children to teach them how to properly care for their pets and to understand the consequences of animal cruelty, dog fighting and cock fighting. The program, created and taught by Animal Cruelty Specialist Jessica Milligan, has been enthusiastically embraced by elementary schools throughout the county and has been the subject of a national webinar sponsored by the National District and County Attorneys Association.

Adult Sexual Assault Prosecutor

In late 2015, the DA’s Office was awarded a grant to create an adult sexual assault prosecutor position. This prosecutor has established streamlined policies and has developed stronger relationships with some of the larger law enforcement agencies. This prosecutor works closely with Harris County agencies and professionals including law enforcement, sexual assault nurse examiners, advocates, and criminal analysts on adult sexual assault case investigations. The Adult Sexual Assault Prosecutor also provided sexual assault training this Fall to the prosecutors.

Child Abuse Division

The Child Abuse Division prosecutes cases where the testifying complainant is under 6 years old; sexual abuse cases in which the complainant is currently 13 years or younger and the officer who conducted the investigation and filed the charge is a Children’s Assessment Officer; all super aggravated sexual assault of child cases; and all continuous sexual abuse of child cases.

All other child abuse cases are assigned to the Trial Bureau. A Child Sexual Offense Support Team comprised of experienced prosecutors was created to assist prosecutors in trial preparation and trial strategy of child sexual abuse cases not assigned to the Child Abuse Division.

Family Criminal Law Division

The primary focus of the Family Criminal Law Division (FCLD) is on criminal prosecution and civil representation for protective orders. FCLD utilizes the professions of legal, law enforcement, and social work to provide a multi-disciplinary approach to address domestic violence.

FCLD social service staff includes licensed social workers and, bachelor’s level caseworkers who have extensive experience with domestic violence issues.

At the request of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, Protective Order Specialist Beth Barron, Director of Family Violence Services Jennifer Varela and Special Victims Bureau Chief Jane Waters wrote a Protective Order handbook. The book details the process for obtaining a protective order intake to completion of the legal process and includes examples of protective order pleadings, orders and forms. In conjunction with the publication of the protective order book, the authors taught numerous classes pertaining to the protective order process to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and domestic violence advocates across the State.

Human Trafficking Section

The human trafficking specialist position was created in February, 2013, to combat human trafficking by better identifying victims and prosecuting exploiters, such as pimps and johns. Devon Anderson has expanded this commitment to include five prosecutors, an investigator, a paralegal, and an administrative assistant cover all human trafficking related defendants, SAFE (Survivors Acquiring Freedom and Empowerment) Court, all prostitution related cases and investigations. This section is on call to law enforcement 24/7 to assist in investigations. The section’s experts are nationally recognized for their efforts and often conduct training for court and law enforcement personnel across the nation. Devon and the section experts participate in numerous task force efforts: the Human Trafficking Rescue Alliance, Governor Abbotts’ Child Sex Trafficking Team, Congressman Ted Poe’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council and Mayor Turner’s Houston Area Council on Human Trafficking.

The DA’s Office sought and was awarded a Department of Justice Smart Prosecution grant to establish SAFE Court. This Court presided over by Judge Pam Derbyshire works to assist prostituted individuals between 17 and 25 years of age with appropriate services for housing, education and health to get them out of the revolving door of the criminal justice system and establish an independent path.

Since 2013, this section has handled more than 2,220 cases, including identifying and diverting some 445 potential victims out of the criminal justice system.

Victim Witness Division/Translator Section

The Victim Witness Division ensures that all crime victims receive assistance in understanding their rights, guidance to complete victim impact statements and restitution paperwork, and understanding the criminal justice system.

In 2015, the DA’s office was awarded a grant for two additional victim assistance coordinators. The division now has a director and assistant director to manage six victim assistance coordinators, two administrative assistants and the Translator Unit.

Beginning in October 2013, four Licensed Court Interpreters have been added to the Victim/Witness Division to translate/transcribe all Spanish language documents, alleviating the burden from the Spanish speaking victim assistance coordinators and eliminating the need for an outside translation service. Also, two Foreign Language Translators have been added to contact Spanish speaking victims by telephone to ensure their participation in the criminal justice process. This unit is vital to remove the barriers for Non-English speaking victims.

Mental Health Division

Devon has made it a priority to increase resources available for the Mental Health Division. At the beginning of 2013, the division was staffed with a division chief who created a case log system to efficiently assign and manage700 cases. The division chief of the Mental Health Division has re-established partner agency contacts with agencies that assist in mental health cases. Prosecutors in this division are assigned specific caseloads and dockets that they handle daily to distribute the caseload and increase efficiency of docket management.

In 2014, a felony chief, a #3 prosecutor, an investigator, and an administrative assistant were added to support the division. This division has processed 59% more cases compared to 2013.At the close of 2015, there were 650 active cases.

In 2015, this division was assigned to assist and ultimately take over from the Special Prosecution Unit in Huntsville on prosecutions for civil commitment of all sexually violent predator cases. Last year, there were thirty referrals in Harris County and an experienced prosecutor is vital to prosecute these dangerous defendants. There have been four jury trials held and currently three petitions filed and set for trial.

Non-Death Capital Murder Impact Court

The Non-Death Capital Murder Impact Court was a collaboration of the DA’s Office, the District Court’s Trying Criminal Cases, the Second Administrative Judicial Region of Texas and the Harris County Budget Office in late 2013 to focus on the backlog of capital murder cases. At the time, the oldest case was over six years and the average median age of cases were 3 1/2 years old with over two hundred cases pending. As of August 5, 2016, there were 173 non-capital murder cases pending, 82% of this caseload is less than two years old. A total of 197 capital murder cases have been disposed in this impact court.
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