AUSTIN (KXAN) — District Attorney Margaret Moore says she has the numbers to back up her claim that her office “prioritizes violent crime” over low-level drug offenses, according to a press release sent on Monday.
Moore released statistics Monday she says “demonstrate(s) her administration’s approach to felony cases,” per the release. The overall goal is to focus on violent crime while reducing the impact of low-level drug and theft cases because her “prosecutors were frustrated with the practice” of disposing of such cases even calling them “meaningless felony conviction(s),” per the release.
She believes time would be better spent on preparing and trying violent offenders. In response, Moore created a specialty docket which targets treatment options rather than incarceration. The program completed one year of operations on May 31, 2019. Over 1,000 cases were diverted from district court dockets to the specialty court docket.
In its first year, Travis County has seen a 94% reduction in felony convictions for these low-level offenses and “saved public resources,” per the release. The time it takes to resolve a case has declined from an average of 191 days to an average of 52 days after Moore’s administration implemented the new docket.
Since Moore took office at the beginning of 2017, Travis County juries returned fifteen life sentences on violent crimes such as capital murder, sexual assault, and aggravated robbery, etc.
Moore’s administration has seen over 4,750 pleas or findings of guilt in the most serious of violent offense cases.
Here’s a list of offenses considered to be violent for purposes of the numbers Moore’s office provided:
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated kidnapping
- Aggravated robbery
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Aggravated sexual assault of a child
- Assault of a family or household member with a previous conviction, if at trial
- Assault – strangulation
- Assault of a public servant
- Capital murder
- Continuous sex abuse of a child: victim under fourteen
- Continuous violence against the family
- Indecency with a child with sexual contact
- Injury of a child, the elderly, or disabled with intent of severe bodily or mental injury
- Intoxication assault with vehicle involving severe bodily injury
- Sexual assault
- Sexual assault of a child
- Sexual performance with a child
- Trafficking of persons
- Trafficking of a child
- Unlawful restraint exposing them to severe bodily injury
Her office approximates 160 jury trials involved violent offenses during her administration.