The Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office announced they’ve refiled more than 200 cases against accused criminals, cases they say were wrongly dismissed by judges earlier this year.
Constable Mark Herman blames too many dismissed cases as the reason for Harris County’s high crime rate.
“This emboldens the criminals,” he said.
Herman said 434 Precinct 4 cases were dismissed by judges citing a lack of probable cause.
“Many times these suspects are out of jail before our guys finish their paperwork,” said Herman.
Herman says he’s had to take deputies off the street to help refile hundreds of cases that he believes should have never been thrown out.
“There’s a variety of cases, from violent to nonviolent,” said Herman. “There’s so many, there’s no way we can file them all. I don’t have the manpower to do it, but we’re filling all we can and so are other agencies.”
Data provided by Precinct 4 shows that of the 434 cases dismissed, more than 70% of them are misdemeanor offenses. It does include 127 felony charges, including 44 domestic violence-related assaults.
“They know damn good and well there’s plenty of probable cause and enough to get a conviction,” said Ray Hunt with the Houston Police Officers Union.
KHOU 11 legal analyst Carmen Roe reviewed the data provided by Precinct 4.
“The judges who dismissed most of the cases that we’re seeing from Precinct 4, looking at the numbers, reflect some of the most experienced judges in our criminal courthouse,” said Roe.
Roe says probable cause is a pretty low bar to meet, and if judges are dismissing the cases, they’re finding insufficient evidence to move forward.
“There’s a number of people playing a role in these outcomes and so to suggest one actor is responsible just isn’t true,” said Roe.
So far, Precinct 4 told KHOU 11 News they’ve refiled 220 cases and counting.
“We need to get our courts to get off their rears and start prosecuting some of these cases,” said Herman.
For full disclosure, we are just over a month from Election Day and Constable Herman has publicly come out to endorse the Republican running in the race for Harris County Judge.
Herman claims the refiling of cases is not political.
You can look through the data provided by Precinct 4 below: