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Meet Joe Grubbs

DA Grubbs speaks to Kiwanis Club of Ennis Thursday
In addressing the Ennis Kiwanis Club Thursday, County and District Attorney Joe Grubbs discussed the duties of his office, focusing on the criminal prosecution and grand jury selection process.
On the recent controversial issue of probation for sexual assault suspects in the county, Grubbs said for every three suspects who are prosecuted and serve jail time one is put on probation.
“Sometimes the victims don’t want to testify or the parents don’t want to put their child through the pain of a trial,” Grubbs said. “They are hard cases to prosecute.”
The principal reason for the district attorney’s office, according to Grubbs, is criminal prosecution and of the 15 attorneys working for the county, nine focus on these cases. Grubbs recorded approximately 5,000 criminal cases last year. He also noted that at the rate the county is growing, for every 100 people coming into the county, 3 1/2 percent will be involved in the criminal justice system.
Grubbs said there are currently 1,193 Ellis County residents in the state penitentiary and nearly 6,000 are on parole, living in the county.
Taking questions from the club, Grubbs clarified that the adult probation office works independently in the county using guidelines provided by the state. However, changes made to a probation go through the county courts with judges approving amendments.
Regarding a question on how Ennis’ police department compares with other county law enforcement agencies in the handling of criminal cases, Grubbs gave no direct answer but stated that Midlothian’s police department was the crème de la crème with its well-trained staff and adequate amount of officers for the low-crime area.
Grubbs also touched on the “CSI effect” –– juries expecting lawyers to provide the same tests seen on television when in reality it never happens that quickly or cheaply, the district attorney explained.
“If we don’t provide that sort of thing juries will count that as reasonable doubt,” Grubbs said.
Giving a brief explanation of the grand jury selection process, Grubbs said the old way of doing things was to have three jury commissioners put names on a list and draw them randomly. For the last 15-20 years the method has been to call 20 random people from the county and the first 12 without a reasonable excuse to not serve become a grand juror.
“We’ve had very good success with the new system,” Grubbs said. “We get a good cross section of the community. People think we control the grand jury. We don’t want to control them. We want their decision process.”
Other services Grubbs’ office provides includes advising the county on civil matters such as lawsuits against the county and deals to purchase land, property seizures, bail bond forfeitures, mass gatherings, hot check collections, mental and substance abuse commitments, CPS cases, open records and open meetings requests, review of autopsies and forcibly removing officers and city officials from duty.
“We have plenty to do, but it’s an interesting job because it’s varied,” Grubbs said.
The Ennis Kiwanis Club meets Thursday at noon at the Odd Fellow and Rebekah Retirement Center.

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Posted by on Mar 2 2008. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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