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Second in command in Bexar County district attorney's office resigns

File photo of Lady Justice atop the water fountain in the plaza in front of the Bexar County Courthouse downtown
Joey Palacios
File photo of Lady Justice atop the water fountain in the plaza in front of the Bexar County Courthouse downtown

First Assistant Criminal DA Christian Henricksen, the chief deputy to Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, will leave his position on April 26.

Gonzales praised Henricksen's role in implementing the office's cite and release program and the use of specialty courts.

Those efforts by Henricksen followed Gonzales' campaign promises of keeping non-violent offenders out of the crowded county jail, which costs taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in overtime pay for staff each year.

"I've relied on his impressive ability to synthesize information, grasp nuances, and cut to the crux of issues for a long time," Gonzales said. "We are definitely going to miss him."

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton wants big county DAs like Gonzales to increase reporting to his office on who is being prosecuted. Gonzales said that would leave his prosecutors in the copy room instead of the courtroom where prosecutions actually take place.

To illustrate his point, Gonzales released a photo of the interior of a large storage area stacked from floor to ceiling with legal paperwork that would have to be copied under Paxton's proposal.

Gonzales told commissioners earlier this year that his 45 prosecutors managed over a 16 month period to reduce a backlog of cases by 11% while working on current cases at the same time. He also said 50% more cases were reviewed by his staff between Jan. 1 and Feb. 9, compared to the same period last year.

Henricksen said he's leaving for an opportunity he can't pass up. He called his fellow DA prosecutors hardworking and underpaid.

"We've worked to highlight the issue of lower attorney salaries in the Bexar County District Attorney's Office. It's a critical issue," Henricksen said.

KSAT reported that Henricksen and Gonzales were both criticized over their association with the Wren Collective, a social justice reform organization.

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