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Community Service always taken serious by judiciary
In a recent article written by Mr. Chris Agee, entitled, “Falsified Community Service Reports Increase,” there was a quote made by Mr. Bill Blevins, our Community Service Coordinator. In the quote, Mr. Blevins speculated “with the new district judge and the county judge, both of them being harder on community service and about them (the probationers) doing their community service.” Unfortunately, the quote makes it sound as though nothing was done about non-performance of community service hours by the judiciary prior to now, which is not the case. Non-performance of community service hours has always been addressed by both of the courts our department serves, that being the Palo Pinto County Court and the 29th Judicial District Court.
County Judge David Nicklas has been presiding over the Palo Pinto County Court for the previous two years and former District Judge Jerry Ray presided over the 29th Judicial District Court with distinction. Both routinely admonished and/or sanctioned probationers for non-performance of community service. Judge Nicklas continues to do so, and current District Judge Mike Moore has continued the practice with the same distinction as Judge Ray.
The increase in the number of falsified community service hours appears to be an aberration, though the problem itself has always been present. As Mr. Blevins states in the article, “the reasons behind probationers forging their worksheets likely vary.”
The aberration has more to do with recent changes made by the Legislature to reduce prison populations. As a result, local probation departments have to handle probation violations differently through sanctioning methods or face penalizing funding cuts. In past years, those violators would have been revoked and incarcerated. Thus, a number of people coming onto probation now get a false impression that they will not suffer any real consequences for commission of what is considered a technical violation. They are learning otherwise, as the increase of filings would indicate.
I believe that this point should be viewed by the readers of this article. It should, also, be noted that the opinion expressed in the article is that of the interviewee, and does not reflect in any way the position or official policy of the agency to which he is affiliated.
James R. French, Director Palo Pinto County CSCD 29th Judicial District
Love those Snippets!
I loved today’s snippet. Keep digging up these gems from the past.
Quinn Robinson, D&F Battery & Electric, Mineral Wells