County judge dismisses hundreds of cases related to March rush at border wall


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — More than 200 migrant misdemeanor cases of rioting have been dismissed and the defendants discharged after an El Paso County judge determined he had no jurisdiction over the matter. 

The 214 cases are in relation to the March 21 border “riot” that happened at Gate 36.  

During a jurisdiction plea hearing, El Paso County public defender Kelli Childress argued that the state did not follow the proper legal path in transferring jurisdiction, therefore County Court of Law Judge Ruben Morales had no grounds to take on the cases. 

Childress said the more than 200 cases were moved to a district court after being indicted by the District Attorney’s Office but were sent back to county. In order to confer jurisdiction from one court to another, a transfer order needs to give – something that was missing on the state’s end. 

The state argued that Judge Morale’s court oversaw misdemeanor cases, and he did have jurisdiction. 

Ultimately, Morales sided with the public defense and said his “hands are tied” without the order transfer. 

Childress said she couldn’t understand why the state would choose to indict in the first place and the efforts only wastes resources. 

“My office alone has 1,600 cases awaiting screening by the DA’s office, so 800 of those have been waiting more than six months. 400 of those have been waiting more than a year and these cases, somehow, 18 hours after they’re dismissed for no probable cause, those are able to be brought to a grand jury. It’s very frustrating,” said Childress. 

The DA’s office did not offer comment after the hearing. 

Border Report

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