GATESVILLE — The Coryell County Commissioners Court earlier this week agreed to adjust the district attorney’s budget to help clear a backlog of district cases’ including about 20 in the 10th Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals.
District Attorney Dusty Boyd requested the $35,000 adjustment so he could contract with a special prosecutor to help clear cases in which Boyd or his new assistant district attorney, Scott Stevens, had conflicts of interest.
In addition to the 20 pending appeals cases, Boyd said another 15 cases pending trial would be handled by the special prosecutor. He asked for $1,000 per case for the 35 cases, although he said the cost of each case would be determined on a sliding scale.
The commissioners voted to move $35,000 from a budget line item for litigation into the district attorney’s budget to fund the special prosecutor.
Boyd said Steve Morris, a lawyer with extensive court experience in Houston who now lives in Bell County, “is on board and has agreed to help us” as special prosecutor.
The special prosecutor “will not be an employee but a contract position,” Boyd said.
After speaking with Justice Rex Davis of the 10th Circuit Court of Criminal Appeals earlier this month, Boyd said he learned of “a serious backlog of cases pending with the court,” many awaiting overdue answers from the district attorney.
Davis presided at the swearing-in ceremony for Boyd and 10 other elected officials Jan. 2.
Boyd assumed office Jan. 1, succeeding David Castillo, whom he defeated in the Republican primary last spring. In the interim between the election and the end of his term, Boyd said, Castillo did not speak to Boyd or provide any transition of the office caseload.
Boyd started his term facing about 350 pending criminal cases.
“The (appeals) court is being patient with us,” Boyd said, “but the repercussion (of the backlog) could be a complete reversal and return to square one and the need to re-try some of these cases in their totality.”
The special prosecutor will review each of the cases for resolution, Boyd said. “Some may go fast.”
Spending for the special prosecution cases will be “completely transparent” to the commissioners’ court and the public, Boyd said.