Mark Gonzalez has announced a new bureau to handle domestic violence cases after sharing data about the conviction rate involving those cases during his first year as Nueces County District Attorney.
"We had 375 misdemeanor domestic violence cases and the bulk of it was dismissed. About 178 were actually dismissed," Gonzalez shared during a press conference on Friday morning.
"I’m here first today to publicly announce and to say that our office has failed in seeking and getting convictions for domestic violence."
Gonzalez and his staff hope this new domestic violence bureau will turn things around by giving these incidents more focus and attention.
Erica Matlock, one of the prosecutors assigned to the bureau, said, "What we hope to bring with this bureau are fewer violent incidents. We hope to bring victims peace. We don’t want to tear apart families but we do want to make this a serious priority."
Hadee Khan is the other prosecutor in the bureau who will be working closely with those victims and survivors.
"I can tell you that in my heart — from the bottom of my heart — that the objective is for you, the victim, that your domestic situation gets better," Khan said.
In the end, the DA’S Office says the real success will come from public support of this bureau to make sure domestic victims get through their doors and seek out justice.
"The linchpin to this is having victim cooperation and having community cooperation because if this going on in your house, it affects me," assistant district attorney Matt Manning said. "And we need to remedy the mindset that it does not."
Manning said the office will also work on closing the gap between the information it has and the information that the community needs, in relation to domestic violence cases. There will also be a re-evaluation of the pre-trial diversion program meant to educate first-time domestic violence offenders.
Meanwhile, KRIS 6 News has obtained documents show that, since Gonzalez took office, most of the domestic violence cases were dismissed without the defendant going through that program.