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An increasing workload has Walker County's District Attorney's office asking for some help from an unusual source. But this pioneering partnership isn't a done deal yet.
Walker County District Attorney David Weeks is beginning to think there's no end in sight. Even putting in extra hours doesn't seem to put a dent in the workload piling up on him and his assistant D.A.'s.
" For example our misdemeanor case load, that's A and B misdemeanors, has increased over 100%. Our felony case load has increased, our juvenile case load has increased tremendously," said Weeks.
It's gotten so bad that Weeks has asked the city and county to go into partnership to hire a new attorney and split the salary 50-50, or about $30,000 a piece.
Weeks says it'll kill two birds with one stone since the city's been looking for legal help and it would get to share the prosecutor. And for now, the city agrees.
" Well certainly we want the case load to be reasonable and justice needs to be carried out in a timely fashion. I mean, I think that's very frustrating to citizens when it takes longer than it should," said council member Mickey Evans.
But the proposal failed with county commissioners by a 3 to 2 vote. The commissioners who voted no say they wanted to review next year's budget and see if the county could afford it.
" We all were looking at the time frame on this. It didn't come at the most opportune time. We are now involved in the budget for the 05-06 year," said County Judge Pierce.
County Judge Danny Pierce voted in favor of the measure, but understands other commissioners’ apprehension.
But there is still a glimmer of hope for the D.A.'s office. Once county commissioners look at their budget they could change their minds and agree to the partnership.
Weeks says the extra attorney would not only help lighten the case loads, but also help free up time to implement new ideas and programs.
" We need another attorney now. I don't see the need decreasing in the coming year," said Weeks.
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