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Government/Politics

D.A. Gets Go-Ahead For Million-Dollar Staff Expansion, With An Eye On The Long Haul

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Eileen Pace | Texas Public Radio
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  Bexar County’s new district attorney has received approval to expand his staff, a million-dollar investment that county commissioners said will save the county money in the long run.

District Attorney Nico LaHood said that when he opened the door to his new position on Jan. 1, he found a backlog and started questioning why so many cases were pending.

“The backlog in the intake section alone was very, very disappointing to say the least. I mean, when it takes two to four years to have your day in court, that’s unacceptable,” he said.

LaHood said there was a backlog of 1,000 cases just in DWIs. He asked the Commissioners Court for 13 new positions to hire prosecutors this year in a plan that Commissioner Kevin Wolff said would mean savings for the future.

“We’re basically spending $1.3 million to save $2 million going forward on jail costs,” Wolff said.

LaHood said he also plans a trial advocacy program to bring the attorneys’ training up-to-date.

“This is the largest law firm in Bexar County, and I don’t ever want our lawyers to be out-lawyered,” LaHood said. “I talked about that in the campaign and I’m going to back it up by getting clarity on what we expect out of the assistant D.A.s.”

The new D.A. said he expects his plan to clear out two to three pods at the jail, which could be up to 150 inmates, once the structure begins to work efficiently.