EL PASO, Texas – A victim advocate is speaking out as dozens of criminal cases continue to be dismissed in El Paso.
Since Monday, hundreds of cases have been dismissed after the District Attorney’s office failed to indict them within the outlined time.
375 cases have been dismissed already. The public defender told ABC-7 on Thursday, dismissals will continue, but couldn't offer a schedule as to the next round.
All cases vary in charges and degrees, including assault, family violence by impeding breath and circulation, assault on a security officer, driving while intoxicated, tampering/fabricating physical evidence with intent to impair, assault of a family member causing bodily injury, etc.
On Monday, public defender Kelli Childress said her office was experiencing a backlog in cases that were stuck in pre-indictment status. She said there were more than 1,000 cases eligible to be dismissed.
Gloria Aguilera Terry, the CEO of the Texas Council on Family Violence, has been a lifelong advocate- assisting women who have experienced abuse.
Aguilera Terry worked alongside former District Attorney Jaime Esparza. She said Esparza had an “innovative” approach when it came to handling domestic violence cases.
Both collaborated to address domestic violence in the city and extended services for victims.
She said she is deeply concerned about the case dismissals, especially since a majority have been related to domestic violence.
“The issue of family violence requires a swift, swift, responsible and deep response,” Aguilera Terry said.
She said the safety of victims is in jeopardy.
“I am deeply concerned for the families that did make that plea for help, and I worry about their safety. I worry about is the system equipped to respond to their needs of safety and support in the community?” she said.
The victim advocate told ABC-7, under Esparza victim safety and offender accountability was always at the center.
The District Attorney's Office can still refile charges against any cases dismissed.
ABC-7 has reached out to the District Attorney's Office, but has not heard back.