For the first time, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office is forming a unit wholly dedicated to domestic violence. The idea was newly-elected D.A. Margaret Moore’s.
“Family violence is a particular concern to me and this community because there are a very high number of cases being filed,” said Moore.
She says this decision came after much research.
“I looked at the number of cases filed, how long it was taking to resolve them, I also listened to victim advocacy groups,” said Moore.
Moore will have ten attorneys who will specifically handle domestic violence cases. But in this transition, everyone who works at the D.A.’s office will have to reapply for their jobs.
“I have to make an evaluation as to each individual's ability to contribute to the office and get the best use of county resources,” said Moore.
Several prosecutors were among those who were let go.
“Some people just don't fit the structure and they don't fit the philosophy. We're making an analysis,” said Moore.
Safe Place, a domestic violence program in Austin, released this statement:
The Safe Alliance-a merger between Austin Children's Shelter and Safe Place is watching the changes at the Travis County District Attorney's Office closely. For many years, we have worked closely with several of the individuals whose positions are being terminated. Many of the people in question are considered national experts in their fields, and we have great respect for them. We count on this office to hold offenders accountable. Lives are literally at stake.
Moore has already brought in some top attorneys like attorney Mindy Montford as first assistant, Guillermo Gonzalez as trial chief, and Dexter Gilford to serve as head of civil rights unit, to name a few. The transition may not be pretty, but Moore says it's in the county's best interest.
“I ran on a platform of change in the D.A.’s office. Change means change and that includes the personnel,” said Moore.