Public Safety


Despite El Paso’s designation as the second safest city in the nation, the drug war violence in Cd. Juarez, Mexico has raised legitimate concerns about spill over violence into El Paso. Of particular concern are transnational gangs operating in El Paso that work for the drug cartels.

As County Attorney, José worked with law enforcement to successfully obtain civil gang injunctions against transnational gangs. José will support anti- gang legislation, adequate funding of law enforcement agencies, and other community safety measures to ensure that El Paso remains one of the safest cities in America.

In the 82nd Legislature, José authored the following legislation:

Hospital police: Allows the El Paso County Hospital District to hire peace officers. [strong>Senate Bill 601*]

Warrant execution: Allows jailers to execute warrants, thereby increasing efficiency and saving constables time and money. [Senate Bill 604*]

Appellate court: Creates an appellate judicial system for the Eighth Court of Appeals District, which is based in El Paso. [Senate Bill 605*]

Jury service: Ensures the availability of an individual to address jury service postponement requests in El Paso County, streamlining the administration of jury duty. [Senate Bill 1195*]

Guardianships: Reforms sections of the Texas Probate Code to update the law regarding guardianships for those with physical disabilities. [Senate Bill 1196]

Trusts: Updates sections of the Texas Property Code that deal with trusts. [Senate Bill 1197]

Estates: Makes modifications to the Texas Probate Code to modernize the law concerning decedents’ estates. [Senate Bill 1198]

Missing children: Clarifies the definition of “missing child” to include those instances when a child may be with a parent but whose whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained after reasonable inquiries and investigation by law enforcement. Also makes it a state crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child outside the United States with the intent to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights, or to attempt to do so. This is patterned after the federal International Parental Kidnapping Act. During the legislative process, an amendment was added to child injury cases may be prosecuted in a county, where an element of the offense occurred, where the defendant is apprehended, where the victim resides, or where the defendant resides. [Senate Bill 1551]

Legal representation: Ensures that in cases involving a parent-child relationship, a person who has an appointed lawyer is presumed to remain indigent until there is a material and substantial change in the person’s financial circumstances, and that the appointed lawyer remains on the case until the suit is dismissed, all appeals are exhausted or waived, or until the court allows the lawyer to withdraw based on good cause. [House Bill 906]

Process service: Streamlines the return of service process by requiring a process server to sign the return of service under penalty of perjury rather than requiring verification by a notary public. This will reduce time and cost to litigants. [House Bill 962]

Animal welfare: Standardizes the procedures for appeals in cases of cruelly treated animals, as well as helps ensure that costs incurred by the government agency or non-profit animal welfare organization in taking care of the animals during the litigation process will be paid by the those charge with the cruel treatment of animals. [House Bill 963*]

Crime reporting: Makes the reporting of misdemeanors to the National Criminal Information Center discretionary instead of mandatory, which will aid local law enforcement. The reporting of felonies will still be required. [House Bill 2472*]

Commitment proceedings: Clarifies state law regarding the role of local prosecutors in legal proceedings involving people involuntarily committed to a state hospital or mental health facility. It also makes the state a party to all legal proceedings resulting from a patient suing state hospitals or physicians for being held without any legal justification. [House Bill 3342]

Custodial rights: Clarifies the definition of “missing child” to include those instances when a child may be with a parent but whose whereabouts are unknown and cannot be ascertained after reasonable inquiries and investigation by law enforcement. Also, makes it a state crime to remove a child from the United States or retain a child outside the country with the intent to obstruct a parent’s custodial rights or to attempt to do so. [House Bill 3439]

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