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D.A. loses investigator
by Jason Collins
Sep 03, 2011 | 1358 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BEEVILLE – A lack of funding means that the special investigator hired to handle family violence cases will no longer be at the district attorney’s office.

Martha Warner, district attorney, said that the grant that funded the position, held by Dan Caddell, is a cash match system, which means the county would have to fund a percentage of the grant.

“The governor’s office offered us less money,” Warner said.

For the grant which ended in June, there was no cash match. That grant totaled $252,618 and funded the investigator position along with a prosecutor and a crime victim’s coordinator covering Bee, Live Oak and McMullen counties.

This most recent grant, which started Thursday, totaled $217,353 and included a cash match of $56,924 by the district attorney’s office and an additional match of $19,200 worth of hours worked by volunteers and interns through the district attorney’s office.

Countywide budget cuts, however, made keeping the position financially not possible.

“It just killed me to have to let Dan go,” she said, adding that Caddell will be going to work at the Live Oak County Sheriff’s Office.

Warner was disappointed at losing the position, saying that having a investigator handle just family violence cases was beneficial.

“With all of these if you don’t respond to them quickly and develop a rapport... the (victims) will come in later and say they want to file non-prosecutory affidavits,” Warner said.

In simple terms, this means the victims don’t want to press charges against the person who beat them.

“They just end up going back,” Warner said of the victims. “(The abusers) are master manipulators.”

Changes in the law have made it easier for prosecutors to file charges against those who assault family members, even when the victims don’t want charges filed.

The grant, she said, makes it possible to get with these abused women quickly and get them out of their abusive relationships.

“As we speak, we have a real crisis going on with a family violence case,” Warner said. “There is a guy who beat her so badly she was in the hospital.”

Warner said she recalled another case involving a women in her mid 20s.

“The poor little girl was so beaten down she wouldn’t talk (to the prosecutor.)”

Warner said she plans to work with the police and sheriff’s department so that they can get the necessary statements quickly to her office.

“Getting the case to court fast helps everything,” she said. “It appears to be working.”

Nearly all of those ordered into the state funded Batterers Prevention Program are completing the six-month-long, once-a-week counseling sessions, she said.

Now, the misdemeanor assault cases will be handled by the county attorney, as they were prior to the grant, and the felony cases will remain with the district attorney’s special prosecutor whose position is still funded by the grant.

Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.

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