Angelina Co. DA's office backlogged

ANGELINA CO., TX (KTRE) - Hundred of files are get added to almost every day.  The District Attorney's office is dealing with more and more cases and can't seem to get ahead.

"Once or twice a year we have to go pull files, just to keep space in the file cabinet," says Angelina County District Attorney Clyde Herrington.

But it's not just the number of criminals that's increasing.  "Even if the percent of people who commit crime remain the same, as the county grows, the number of cases will increase."

More officers are on the streets and getting more offenders than ever before.

In addition to the time it takes to get an ordinary case through the system, other factors are holding it up.

"When we are relying on DNA evidence, it can add several months to the process," says Herrington.

And with the current digital age, that can be a time factor as well.

"Hopefully the video recorded the matter in controversy. It sure settles a lot of questions, but no doubt it's a good thing, it just adds to the thickness of the file," says Herrington.

So how can we help the District Attorney's office out?  The first is obvious, don't commit a crime. But the DA's office also needs you to keep up with a particular case when you are a victim or witness.

"We've had some cases where residents have moved out of state.  We've been able to find them, but it's more expensive and takes time," says Herrington.

Judges are doing their part to keep cases moving, but that doesn't lessen the number of cases.

"The general trend is that cases increase. Right now we have 1,450 pending cases.  We get anywhere from 100 to 150 new felony cases a month and we dispose of that number each month."

So at some point they need to be disposing of more cases than they are bringing in.