Click here to view how the DA "screens" felony cases
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "MLK, Jr"
For most who are unaware how the District Attorney's office works and why so many criminals remain on the streets in Bell County Texas.
This is what I have found out.
The Bell County District Attorney's office has a policy of screening all felony arrests that are prosecuted in Bell County.
They are one of only two counties that require “screening” in the entire state of Texas.
If a police officer in Bell County wants to seek a warrant of arrest for a felony offense they have to screen the case with the District Attorney's Office first.
If a police officer makes an arrest for a felony, the case also has to be screened. If the DA's office refuses prosecution, the arrested person has to be released unless there are other charges.
The official reason is this ensures that cases brought to the DA are prosecutable cases ready for trial. The unofficial reason is this way the DA does not have to take cases they might lose at trial and he can therefor brag about the win rate for cases his office prosecuted.
Once a case is sent to the DA office the “screening” process begins, it is reviewed by a Assistant DA then the “investigator” they have on staff, if they feel it is prosecutable it will then go to the Grand Jury who meets every Wednesday, if the Grand Jury returns an indictment a TRUE BILL the case is placed on the docket of the district court, then the indictment can be issued. If the Grand Jury chooses not to indict, it is documented as NO BILL. The docket can be found online usually Wednesday afternoons after they have been recorded in the county office.
I don't know how the citizens in Bell County can have this “screening” process changed but it should be.
**The entire process can be found online on the District Attorney's website.
This is the reason Candance's case remains open. It was solved January 2015, but the DA's office sat on her case for 2 years, yes TWO years!! When I contacted the 1st Assistant DA McWilliams his excuse to me was, "Oh Ummm, I just didn't have time to review it all". Really? Is that a legit excuse? Is that another way of saying her life does not matter to you?
The DA has everything he needs to go to trial with this case except a confession. If nobody including the detective ever inquired about it, her case would still be in limbo.
How many other cases remain in the District Attorney's black hole? And how many Detectives drop the ball by not contacting the DA and asking what is going on with a case that they had sent in for "screening"? The families remain waiting to hear that their loved one will finally get the justice they deserve.
Just so you know it is now 2020 and STILL NOTHING has been done on Candance's case. District Attorney Garza and Detective Harris refuse to talk to me. They won't tell me why they refuse to proceed with her case, my thought is somebody must be afraid to take this case to trial.
Shame on you both!
You can ignore me, but I won't go away.
This my readers is why there is and will always be felons walking the streets in Bell County. As I read the newspaper articles from Bell County I have come to the conclusion that either the Defense Attorney's in Bell County are spectacular or the DA and assistants are incompetent. Even using the "screening" process, the DA's office can't seem to get a criminal off the streets by going to trial. This again is my opinion.
The following is considered first degree felonies in the state of Texas:
Aggravated assault of public servant
Aggravated sexual assault
Attempted capital murder
Arson of habitation
Burglary of a habitation with intent to commit or commission of a felony
Causing serious bodily injury to child, senior citizen, or disabled person
Escape from custody (if serious bodily injury occurs)
Solicitation of capital murder
Trafficking of persons under the age of fourteen