I have recently been complained about to the grievance committee by a criminal defendant. The complaint stems from my handling of the prosecution. (with it pending she cannot seek gainful employment) The defendant is/was a TECLOSE certified officer. The Grievance has rejected my appeal of the classification. Is the County obligated to represent me? Who would do that since I am the county attorney? Has any other prosecutor been through similar grief?
Posts: 41 | Location: greenville, texas usa | Registered: February 19, 2001
If the commissioners court believes that the grievance proceeding is "an action arising from the performance of [your] public duties," then county-provided defense is authorized (and required) by section 157.901 of the Local Government Code. Whether that criterion is satisfied is a decision left to the discretion of the commissioners court. If they decide that your defense falls under this scheme, and it serves the county's interests, then subsection (b) of the same statute would indicate the need to procure outside counsel to represent you. Although you may not be interested in my opinion, I believe that the potential for a proliferation of grievances, once word gets out through the jailhouse grapevine that the prosecutor can be stymied by simply filing a grievance (based on what amounts to the unremarkable inconvenience imposed on the defendant), and the resulting interference with county law enforcement, stand as fairly conclusive indicators that this is an action arising from the performance of your prosecutorial duties and defense against it would benefit the county. Good luck.
Posts: 1233 | Location: Amarillo, Texas, USA | Registered: March 15, 2001
Preparing a proper and full written reply to a grievance is the most important step. We have relied upon lawyers within the DA's office to handle this task. Our first assistant, for example, previously worked for the State Bar Lawyer disciplinary agency. There is no additional cost to the county, and prosecutors are well trained in explaining things. We have never had a grievance go beyond the initial hearing stage. If these things are explained correctly, the panel can quickly see what the defendant is up to.
If you are concerned that there is more substance to the grievance, then you might want independent, outside counsel with more direct experience in disciplinary matters. Regardless whether the county pays for it or not, don't take the grievance lightly.
John is right, as usual. Don't take the d%#m thing lightly. Joe Shannon of Tarrant County is a good source for advice on these and he is always willing to help another prosecutor. Contact him at 817.884.1400. Whatever you do, don't delay and be thorough in your response.
Posts: 723 | Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA | Registered: July 30, 2002