SAN ANTONIO – Get more election news on KSAT’s Vote 2022 page.
An elected district attorney has an important role in not only prosecuting criminals but representing and protecting crime victims.
The district attorney represents the state in prosecuting felony criminal cases and works with law enforcement in investigations.
It’s the job of the DA’s office to present cases to a grand jury that will decide whether there is enough evidence to indict a suspected criminal. The DA’s office also represents victims of violence in protective orders and represents the state in removing children from abusive households.
To qualify for the position, a candidate must be a practicing attorney or judge and once elected, he or she will serve a four-year term.
The current Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales was elected in 2019 after defeating the incumbent Nico LaHood.
Gonzales, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, now faces off with Nico’s brother — Republican Marc LaHood in the Nov. 8 election. LaHood is an attorney and a partner of the family-run firm LaHood Law that specializes in criminal defense, personal injury law, probate issues and family law.
Gonzales’ challenges over the last four years include a growing backlog in domestic violence cases as well as communication issues between prosecutors and law enforcement, leading to delays in at least one high-profile murder case.
He touts the county’s cite-and-release program as one of his successes, which LaHood has spoken out against.
Gonzales and LaHood also have different philosophies on the state’s criminal abortion statutes.
“My obligation is to seek justice,” Gonzales said during a June press conference. “There is no justice in prosecuting women for their own medical decisions.”
“If someone is voluntarily seeking out this treatment, they shouldn’t be worried about being prosecuted,” Gonzales said.
In a debate at San Antonio College in September, LaHood said he would enforce the statutes.
“The law is clear,” he said. “We don’t want our law enforcement to pick and choose what laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.”
You can watch that full debate on the San Antonio Reports’ YouTube page.
As the election gets closer, we want to know what questions you may have for the candidates that could help you make your decision at the polls.
Submit them below and we’ll take your questions to the candidates for answers.
We’ll post those answers in the weeks leading up to the election.
Read more on KSAT’s Vote 2022 page