More than 6,000 criminal cases dismissed by DA’s office in 3 months, county report shows

On average, Gonzales dismisses 45.7% more cases than former DA Nico LaHood

SAN ANTONIO – A new Bexar County quarterly report is showing an increase in the amount of misdemeanor and felony criminal cases dismissed by the District Attorney’s Office.

The Bexar County Judicial Management Report is released quarterly with the most recent report showing the workload and efficiency measures of the second quarter of 2023, which was January through March.

The report noted that 6,017 cases were dismissed in that three-month time frame.

In the previous quarter, there were 3,978 dismissed cases.

Dismissals spike by 45.7% under Joe Gonzales

A KSAT analysis of the county’s prior reports indicates that the dismissal numbers for Gonzales’ office have been consistently higher than that of the previous Nico LaHood administration.

On average, Gonzales dismisses 45.7% more cases than LaHood did, according to the analysis.

Below are two graphs showing the caseload versus the dismissal, per quarter for both Gonzales and LaHood.

LaHood took office in 2015 and his highest dismissal rate came in the fourth quarter of 2017 with 3,384 dismissed cases.

The graph for Gonzales shows that since 2019, when he took office, the number of dismissed cases started to go up as the total number of cases coming in started to decrease. The latest quarter shows only 11,751 incoming cases.

Criminal defense attorney Daniel De La Garza explained that there are many reasons why a case could be dismissed.

“The state can’t prove it, or the state they are missing their witness,” De La Garza said. “Maybe there’s a legal reason, like a constitution or the statutes unconstitutional or a motion to suppress was granted, but the dismissal would be the case closed document.”

De La Garza has many clients in Bexar County and told KSAT he has had many of his own cases dismissed.

Cases can be dismissed and re-indicted

It’s important to note that cases that have been dismissed can always be re-indicted at a later time.

That is what happened in the capital murder case of Kristian Ray Belmudez.

Belmudez had two capital murder charges dismissed in June due to a lack of evidence and was released from jail.

A week later, he was rearrested and has since been indicted for capital murder.

KSAT 12 reached out by email to the District Attorney’s head of communication, Pete Gallego, on Nov. 14 to request an interview with Gonzales.

Gallego responded that we could interview first assistant district attorney Christian Henricksen, saying he was the most knowledgeable person on the issue.

KSAT 12 instead pressed to hear directly from Gonzales because he is the head of the DA’s office who was elected by residents of Bexar County.

The DA’s office requested to speak off-camera with KSAT about our stance on Thursday.

The last time Gonzales did sit down for an interview with KSAT was on Sept. 22 for a KSAT Explains episode about how the criminal justice system works.

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About the Authors:

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

Misael started at KSAT-TV as a photojournalist in 1987.