The Walker County Criminal District Attorney's Office is one of the statutory prosecuting authorities in the State of Texas. The primary prosecuting officers are: The County Attorney which generally prosecutes misdemeanor crimes and advises the county on all civil matters; a District Attorney who prosecutes felonies only, and; a Criminal District Attorney which combines the offices of County and District Attorney. Walker County has a Criminal District Attorney with the responsibility of prosecuting all misdemeanors and felonies while advising and representing the county in civil matters. The authority of the Criminal District Attorney is extremely broad. Within his/her jurisdiction, in this case Walker County, the Criminal District Attorney has sole discretion as to whether or not a case is prosecuted. A prosecutor can dismiss a charge or refuse to accept a charge on his own volition and there is no appeal.
The District Attorney's Office handles civil matters in addition to its criminal responsibilities. In Walker County the Criminal District Attorney's Office advises the county on civil issues and represents the county in some civil matters. Some civil litigation is handled by private firms. The Criminal District Attorney handles all mental commitments, protective orders, extraditions, renders legal opinions to all elected officials in the county and reviews all contracts entered into by the county. This office also has the responsibility of representing the state in matters involving child abuse and neglect and all juvenile matters before the court.
The criminal responsibilities of the Criminal District Attorney's Office are to prepare arrest warrants and search warrants; accept or reject all criminal cases Class "B" and above. This office prepares warrants and presents felony cases to the grand jury at its discretion. Class "C" misdemeanors, which are punishable by fine only, are the only criminal cases that are filed directly with the Justices of the Peace or the Municipal Court without the involvement of the District Attorney's Office. Class "B" and Class "A" misdemeanors are filed by the District Attorney's Office. It is the policy of the District Attorney's Office that all arrest warrants will be prepared and issued through this office. Felony cases (state jail, 3rd, 2nd, 1st degree) and capital cases are all prosecuted by this office.
The Criminal District Attorney's Office consists of the Criminal District Attorney, six assistants, three investigators, a victim/witness coordinator, and support staff. The county pays the salaries of all staff while the Criminal District Attorney is paid by the State. Expenses of the office are provided by monies collected on collection of hot checks by the Criminal District Attorney's Office and forfeited funds.
The Criminal District Attorney's Office provides a 24 hour on call system for law enforcement. This allows law enforcement to have access to legal advice at any time. Our office encourages such consultation regarding arrests, searches and the filing of appropriate charges to ensure that crimes may be prosecuted and punished. It is only through such cooperation that our legal system can function to serve and protect our community.