HARRIS COUNTY, Texas - "Currently, Harris County is being raided by murderers, rapists robbers, and thieves," said Eric Batton, Executive Director of the Harris County Sheriff's Deputies Organization. "The sad reality is we have some elected officials allowing this to happen."
When patrol officers on the scene believe a crime was committed, they contact the District Attorney's Office to determine if there's enough probable cause to file criminal charges.
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"There's probable cause enough for these folks who do this every day to accept the charge," said Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman.
But in the last year alone, Criminal District Court Judges and magistrates have dismissed thousands of criminal cases.
According to data from the DA's office, in 2021, the number of cases dismissed by Criminal District Court Judges has quadrupled when you compare that number to 2015.
"Don't get me wrong, there are legitimate cases where they have to be dismissed or re-filed," Herman said.
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But the soaring number of case dismissals by judges and magistrates has some law enforcement officials saying it's fueling our ever-growing crime problem.
"These are cases in which activist judges did everything they could to find a way to dismiss that person who probably has a lengthy criminal record or multiple felony bonds to put them back out on the streets," said Ray Hunt, Executive Director of the Houston Police Officers Union.
"In a lot of these cases, we try to speak to the judges themselves to find out why there was no probable cause," Herman said. "They don't have to speak to us and they don't speak to us."
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Herman says he's taken some patrol officers off the streets to work with the DA's office in hopes of getting some dismissed cases re-filed.
He says he's urging other law enforcement agencies to do the same.
"If we don't follow through on this then all we are doing is emboldening these criminals to go back out and victimize more communities and citizens," said Herman.
"If these judges thought Constable Herman and all the others screaming about the judges are wrong, don't you think they'd be holding news conferences trying to defend themselves," Hunt said.