A Special Prosecutor Avoids Special Treatment

Posted by Doug Murphy | Apr 26, 2021 | 0 Comments

Texas law, like laws in other states, authorizes a county's district attorney to bring in a special prosecutor in certain cases. Standard procedure is that the county's district attorney determines whether to charge a DWI, what DWI crimes to charge, and how to proceed with the trial or plea bargain of the charges.

In the case of a special prosecutor, though, under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 2.07, the county district attorney calls on an experienced prosecutor from another county or on an assistant attorney general from the state to take over the local DWI prosecution.

No Special Treatment

A special prosecutor, though, doesn't mean that the DWI defendant receives special treatment. The primary purpose of bringing in a special prosecutor is exactly the opposite, to ensure that the DWI defendant doesn't get special treatment. Sometimes, the district attorney has a personal or professional relationship with the DWI defendant. Those conflicts of interest commonly arise when the defendant is a police officer who works closely with the district attorney or a district attorney's family member. That's when Article 2.07 authorizes a special prosecutor. District attorneys may also call in a special prosecutor for an especially complex case, when understaffed, or when illness or other cause makes them unavailable.

Avoiding Impropriety's Appearance

Prosecutors, of course, don't directly determine the outcome of DWI charges. That role is for the judge and jury. Judges decide whether the prosecutor's evidence supports a DWI charge, while juries decide whether to convict the DWI defendant. Prosecutors do, however, have a great deal of influence over which DWI charges to file, what plea bargains to offer, and whether and how a DWI charge proceeds. District attorneys must avoid improprieties like special treatment for special friends or favors. Indeed, given their popular election, district attorneys may prefer to appoint a special prosecutor in any close-call case, to avoid any possible appearance of impropriety.

A Case in Point

For a case in point, consider the story of a Wichita County commissioner charged with a DWI that the commissioner vigorously contests. The story reports that the Wichita County district attorney has appointed a Denton County deputy misdemeanor chief to handle the commissioner's prosecution. A district attorney's office often has a reciprocal arrangement with another nearby office. When either office needs a special prosecutor, it calls on the other office.

What could possibly be the district attorney's conflict of interest in prosecuting a commissioner from the same county? District attorneys depend on county commissioners to approve the budgets funding their offices. In that respect, a county commission serves as a supervisor of the county's prosecutorial function. County commissioners together determine how generously to support the district attorney's office. That financial interest presents a clear enough conflict to warrant a special prosecutor.

Expert Representation Saves the Day

The expert representation of Board Certified DWI Specialist Doug Murphy can beat a Texas DWI charge, even one pursued by a special prosecutor intent on avoiding any appearance of special treatment or other impropriety. Attorney Murphy's reputation and expertise as a national DWI expert give him the skill and standing to aggressively defend all DWI charges, even those public cases that a special prosecutor may be especially intent to pursue because of the DWI defendant's fame or special relationships.

Whether your DWI matter involves special considerations of any type or is instead of a more routine kind, you still have plenty at stake to retain 2021 Houston DWI Lawyer of the Year Doug Murphy. Give yourself the best opportunity to put the DWI charge behind you. Don't give in to special pressure, whether public or private. Trust attorney Doug Murphy, one of only two Texas lawyers holding both DWI Board Certification and Criminal Law Certification, to stand up for you. Contact Doug Murphy Law Firm online or at (713) 229-8333 to discuss your case today.

About the Author

Doug Murphy

Doug Murphy is one of only two Texas lawyers Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and also in DWI Defense by the National College for DUI Defense, accredited by the American Bar Association and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization.


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