Welcome, Susan Hawk; Dallas DA’s expectations

January 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Michael Ainsworth/DMN Staff Photographer

If you are a student of the legal/criminal justice system like myself or became a legal expert after high profile grand jury cases involving police shooting black men, then this may be of interest.

The new DA for Dallas is Susan Hawk and she announced some cool things published in Dallas Morning News. The full article is in the link but here are key points I took away.

  • She is inviting every police chief in Dallas County to her office on Jan. 29 to talk as a group about how “we can improve communications and all work together for the good of every community.”
  • Work with lawmakers to create laws that more clearly define the proper use of forfeiture funds, and to require the use of these funds to be published for public access on a quarterly basis. Her office will begin publishing this information within the next few months.
  • Addressing core issues that cause crime, such as mental illness and drug abuse, and addressing significant challenges to the criminal justice system, such as race relations.
  • “Our mission should not just be to prosecute criminals. Our mission must be to contribute to making our communities safer and stronger. That means prosecuting our most violent offenders and habitual offenders, but also using the justice system to help those who cannot help themselves.”
  • “Sometimes doing what’s best for a community means saying “no” to the easy plea bargain and instead taking on the harder job of helping someone get back on track. Sometimes doing what’s best for a community means keeping someone out of prison instead of growing the population of ex-convicts simply because it’s the easier path.”
  • Quarterly town hall meetings, starting in southern Dallas within the next 90 days.
  • “Over the coming months, I look forward to building upon some of the ideas introduced by Mr. Watkins, such as the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), the Animal Cruelty Division and the Civil Rights Unit, and continuing to make progress on issues such as diversity, accessibility and equality.”

My associates and I are strongly looking forward to the town hall meetings, and I commend her for building upon former DA Watkins Conviction Integrity Unity, a unit focused on post-conviction DNA exonerations, Watkins greatest feat as DA in my opinion.

I will follow her, and as a reader you can expect to stay in tune with the office’s actions.

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