JOSÉ R. RODRÍGUEZ
EL PASO COUNTY ATTORNEY
500 EAST SAN ANTONIO
ROOM 503, COUNTY COURTHOUSE
EL PASO, TEXAS 79901
_____ No. 200721
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For More Information Contact:
Friday March 16, 2007 Elhiu Dominguez
Public Affairs Officer
Visit the New Press Releases Archive at: Phone: (915) 546-2016
http://www.epcounty/CA/releases.htm FAX: (915) 546-2133
FEDERAL COURTS REJECT LEGAL CHALLENGES TO THE DIMS PROGRAM
County Attorney José R. Rodríguez and District Attorney Jaime Esparza announced jointly today that a series of cases challenging the DIMS arrest and booking process of El Paso County and the City of El Paso have all been dismissed this week by two different federal judges. The D.I.M.S. program was developed by District Attorney Jaime Esparza who has maintained that the decade-old, time-tested program serves justice and El Paso County taxpayers well. More than 1,000 defendants arrested for misdemeanor crimes are processed through D.I.M.S. monthly.
Four individuals, all represented by attorney Sam Snoddy, filed separate lawsuits claiming that the D.I.M.S. process was unconstitutional and that their rights were violated when they were arrested under the system. The plaintiffs claimed that their rights were violated because they were not immediately taken to a magistrate before being booked in the County jail. The individuals also complained that the process violated their right to have a neutral and detached magistrate fix the amount of their bail. Federal Judges Kathleen Cardone and Frank Montalvo found that the plaintiffs failed to show any violation of their constitutional rights. The cases are:
District Attorney Jaime Esparza commented, “I’m proud of the D.I.M.S. program and believe it will become the best practice model. There have been wild accusations made by a few about D.I.M.S., but all have ultimately been ruled to have no merit.”
County Attorney Jose Rodriguez stated that the federal decisions vindicate the actions of the City, the County and the District Attorney. “It is clear that the D.I.M.S. system is an innovative system that does not violate the rights of citizens. To the contrary, D.I.M.S. has been demonstrated repeatedly to be a constitutional system that is efficient, fair because it treats everyone equally, and saves the taxpayers money.”
DIMS, which stands for the District Attorney Information Management System, is an innovative program implemented in El Paso to efficiently process criminal cases. DIMS allows arresting law enforcement officers to interface with a prosecutor in real time 24 hours a day, every day of the year, regarding routine criminal cases. When a defendant is detained by the officer, an on-duty prosecutor instantly receives a report allowing him/her to decide, based on the merits of the case, whether or not it will be accepted for prosecution. If the prosecutor decides not to file charges, the individual is immediately released. If the case is accepted for prosecution, the peace officer sets the bond based on a bond schedule approved by the El Paso Council of Judges. In addition, D.I.M.S. puts peace officers back on the streets fighting crime more quickly.
Over the course of the litigation, the plaintiffs collectively made demands of over $4 million from the County and the City of El Paso. The litigation has cost the County slightly over $5,000 and hundreds of hours of attorney time.
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