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‘We are juggling it,’ El Paso district attorney’s office seek to refile hundreds of dismissed criminal cases

EL PASO, Texas -- An El Paso assistant district attorney says the office is reviewing and refiling the more than 900 criminal cases that have been dismissed in referral court in the past month, as more crimes are presented to the office.

"We are going to go ahead and review these cases. Nobody wants to see crimes in El Paso anymore than the rest of us," Douglas Tiemann, an assistant district attorney and chief of the intake department, said during a one-on-one interview with ABC-7.

Tiemann says his department has already refiled about 80 of those criminal cases and have identified about 420 more cases to refile. The office is going through the cases one-by-one. More than 900 cases were dismissed because the state did not officially file charges in time.

ABC-7 asked how the office got into this situation in the first place. Tiemann says the DIMS process, a program which is designed to file cases faster, was not being utilized in parts of 2021. Also, Tiemann explained they needed more help from other staff in the office to process the cases.

This year the intake department is processing 900 cases a month, while the department was only able to process 500 a month the year before. ABC-7 asked Tiemann if the backlog of cases is causing any impact on the day-to-day operations.

“Yes, the juggling of the incoming cases, as well as the ones that were part of this dismissal process, it’s a handful. But that’s why I’m telling you everybody in the office is really coming forward. So with all of the help with our staff and other attorneys in the courts, we’ll get through this," Tiemann explained.

Some attorneys and staff from all departments in the office are helping process the dismissed cases on top of their daily responsibilities. When asked if that was concerning, Tiemann said the staff is able to juggle all their duties and the extra work.

ABC-7 reached out to district attorney's offices around Texas to see if the situation in El Paso is happening in other areas. District attorneys representing Hidalgo, Dallas, and Travis counties all replied and said they were not experiencing the same problem as El Paso.

Tiemann explained that district attorney Yvonne Rosales was actively involved in the office and is making sure they have the resources they need to move forward. 

“I have seen her frequently," Tiemann said after ABC-7 asked if Rosales was physically in the office working with her team.

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Dylan McKim

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