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County officials aim to designate state’s first domestic violence court

Posted: 11:47 PM, Jun 20, 2018
Updated: 2018-06-21 00:47:59-04

A local judge aims to help put a stop to domestic violence in the Coastal Bend by starting Texas’ first specialized domestic violence court.

The goal: to create a court to handle felony domestic violence cases in Nueces County. It’s a concept adopted by more than 200 similar courts around the country; but in Texas, there are none, making the planned court the first of its kind in the state.

When it comes to domestic violence in Nueces County, Judge Inna Klein wants more to be done.

"So basically, what we’re doing right now is not working," Judge Klein described.

Before taking the bench, Judge Klein spent years researching domestic violence in the area. Now, she wants a different way to handle felony domestic violence cases.

"All of us are coming to a realization that what we’re doing is not cutting it. That we need to step up to address the (domestic violence) epidemic."

Now, starting July 9, the 214th District Court will be designated for these types of cases. Those cases will be spearheaded by special prosecution from the Nueces County District Attorney’s Office’s Domestic Violence Task Force.

"Centralizing it to one court is going to allow not only the prosecutor to be in one place, and judges don’t have to wait on the prosecutor…it’s going to allow the defendants to know who they’re dealing with not only the prosecutor in the DA’s office, but also the judge," said Erica Matlock, Felony Prosecutor with the DV Task Force.

Judge Klein said she believes this new way of handling the cases will achieve many goals, bringing down the caseload in Nueces County and saving lives.

"The fact that it is still the highest (cause of) death for women in this country is incomprehensible to me," Judge Klein concluded.