Margaret Moore sworn in as district attorney

Travis County has a new district attorney

Margaret Moore, Travis County's district attorney-elect, was sworn into office Tuesday morning.

The ceremony for Moore, who is replacing retiring District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, took place at the Travis County Courthouse at 9 a.m.

In early December, Moore said she is already making good on her campaign promise to change the office by firing or reassigning dozens of employees. Fort-eight people -- around 20 percent -- of the staff are impacted by the changes. Thirty-five employees, including 17 attorneys, will not return either because they are retiring or because they have been told they will no longer be employed there.

This is the first significant change for the office for the first time in 40 years. 

After being sworn-in, Moore address the public. In her speech, she took a microscope to the Travis County justice system, highlighting some deep-seeded issues plaguing the community.

 
Next, Moore addressed the 're-victimization of victims' -- specifically in reference to domestic violence.
By establishing a Family Violence Unit, Moore seeks to improve communication and speed of resolution for these cases (so that victims don't have to continue to relive their abuse). Moore will replace the old system with intake section jointly staffed by district and county attorney assistants. Cases fully are vetted on the front end so that decisions on whether or not to prosecute are made quickly, according to Moore. She'll also be assigning one lawyer to each of the eight district courts to get cases processed quicker.
 
Moore also talked about the resource gap. She says for decades, the county has been poorly equipped to deal with mental health and addiction issues. She'll be dedicating two lawyers to Community Prosecution so they can better handle diversion and special court programs. This is aimed at breaking and preventing the jail cycle.
 
She said the DA's office can't fix it all -- but they have a duty to evaluate, innovate and collaborate.
 
" If we are to succeed as a democracy, we have to be able to police ourselves, to agree on what conduct is prohibited, and how to deal with violations of those prohibitions," explained Moore. "I promise that I and the people who serve with me, will continue to listen, collaborate, and to relentlessly seek justice."
 
Moore has a storied career -- with stints as Assistant District Attorney with both Travis County and the state, among other positions.
 
She came out of retirement to run for DA. She is only the second woman to hold the office in Travis County, behind Lehmberg, who did not seek a third term after a drunk driving scandal in 2013. 

 


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