CORPUS CHRISTI — The newly created district attorney position for Kleberg and Kenedy counties could help lessen jail overcrowding and case backlogs.
Gov. Rick Perry appointed John Hubert, who will be sworn in today in Austin, as the district attorney for the two counties.
Since 2005, officials from both counties have hoped to ease the growing workload of 105th District Attorney Carlos Valdez, who was tasked with handling cases in Nueces, Kleberg and Kenedy counties.
But up until the recent 80th legislative session a bill to create the position had been unsuccessful.
Kleberg County Judge Pete De La Garza credited Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr., D-Brownsville, for carrying the legislation and said it will benefit all three counties.
"This is a win-win for us," De La Garza said. "(Valdez) did an excellent job for us but it just got too voluminous."
It also will help with the county's jail overcrowding by allowing prisoners to go through the court process quicker, De La Garza added.
Valdez, who was not available for comment Friday, has said that with another district attorney for those two counties he can refocus his efforts on tackling Nueces County cases.
Hubert, a Kingsville resident, will have felony jurisdiction, while the County Attorney's Office will continue to handle misdemeanor cases.
Hubert, who received two Bronze Stars, led a tank platoon in combat in the Gulf War.
He served as an assistant district attorney of Nueces County for a year and as an assistant district attorney for Kleberg and Kenedy Counties for four years.
"This is one of those jobs where I can really make a difference," Hubert said. "One of the major goals is to basically get the whole process done on a more timely schedule."
The Army Reserves major is the commander of Headquarters and Headquarters Company 451st Civil Affairs Battalion in Pasadena.
Kenedy County Judge J.A. Garcia was not available for comment on Friday.
The two counties have a combined population of about 33,000. The state will provide all the funding for the new district attorney position, including Hubert's $125,000 annual salary along with $19,833 in benefits and a $3,500 car allowance. Another $33,500 a year in funding to operate the district attorney's office also will be provided by the state, De La Garza said.
Contact Mary Ann Cavazos at 886-3623 or firstname.lastname@example.org