Friday, October 17, 2008

Central Texas Officials Have No Objection to the Citation Option

APD Chief Acevedo put together a meeting of Central Texas criminal justice officials that took place on September 4, 2008 - the one mentioned in our previous blog and in Jordan Smith's story. The Chief brought together thirty-nine law enforcement and court officials from the tri-county region (no small feat in and of itself) and they agreed to work together on this and other improvements. They unanimously agreed that the citation option will be beneficial. Here is an excerpt from their official minutes:

"Issues with Cite and Release

• No objections to moving to cite and release
• Identification mechanism (need more access to technology)
• Need to bring whole legal system together to standardize
• Should look at other jurisdictions that have implemented it.
• Need consistency
• Want to reduce numbers going through booking
• Make sure Judge Evans is briefed before increasing numbers in Travis County (APD potentially 2000)
• Incorporate magistration through other courts – needs to be close to downtown booking
• Most Muni Courts don’t have fingerprint/ID equipment
• Citation has to be what is acceptable to the jurisdiction where it’s filed (same ticket for all three counties)
• Conviction has the same result – front end different not back end of process
• Increases effectiveness and efficiency for officers
• Law enforcement CAN implement without permission from County Attorney
• Need education piece so public understands change is to the front end
• Make sure field release doesn’t impact family violence cases – clear guidelines for officers
• Is a bond being set? It can be a violation of court rather than a failure to appear. Safety issues can be addressed. Bond can be revoked.
• It’s more involved than writing a class C citation
• Arrest for a driving offense - for example, can conditions be imposed? Not being done currently (check with Judge Evans)
• Need to be sure procedures are standardized

General agreement that it would have a positive impact"

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