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Bexar County Prosecutors May Not Pursue All Criminal Trespassing Cases

Flickr/SalFalko (CC BY-NC 2.0) http://bit.ly/2HJ1qxP

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office may now reject some cases that charge the homeless or mentally ill with criminal trespassing.

The move comes in response to the deaths of people who are in jail for low-level offenses, according to a news release on Tuesday.

DA Joe Gonzales announced his office may decline to prosecute cases in which a homeless defendant is trespassing in a non-residential place, does not have any violent history, and where criminal trespass is the only charge.

However, the policy will not prevent law enforcement officers from using their discretion in ensuring public safety or the safety of the person arrested.

A prosecutor will decide on whether or not to pursue the charges on a case-by-case basis, the statement explained.

“We are continuing to develop our policy regarding this issue," Gonzales said, as quoted in the statement, "and are working with law enforcement and mental health professionals to better serve the community and find workable solutions to this problem.”

The policy went into effect Saturday.

Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.