FIRST ON FOX: Lawmakers in Texas are going after 'rogue' prosecutors who they say refuse to enforce state laws for certain crimes or prosecute certain defendants by threatening to have them removed from office or subject to an investigation.
State Sen. Mayes Middleton, a Republican, filed a bill in the state Legislature Friday that would require district attorneys to go after suspected criminals and prosecute their alleged crimes. It would also give state Attorney General Ken Paxton that ability to go after district attorneys by forcing them to enforce laws and potentially seek to remove them from office, according to a copy of the bill obtained by Fox News Digital.
'Every district attorney has taken an oath to protect and defend the laws and Constitution of the State of Texas. They are violating their oath of office and do not have the constitutional authority to choose which classes of offenses to prosecute. George-Soros-backed DAs are endangering our communities with policies of non-prosecution,' Middleton said Friday.
'In Texas, we support law and order. Criminals that violate our laws and endanger our communities should be prosecuted, and justice should be served. Our justice system cannot function when DAs are allowed to cafeteria-style pick-and-choose which laws to follow and which to ignore. It is up to the legislature to pass laws and for district attorneys to enforce them, period,' he added.
Under the bill, district attorneys may not refuse to charge suspects accused of violent crimes as well as those suspected of property crimes and election-related crimes. In addition, prosecutors cannot refuse to seek capital punishment against those accused of committing capital crimes.
They also can't refuse to prosecute illegal immigrants in an effort to shield them from consequences of federal or state immigration laws.
If it is believed a prosecutor refuses to apply the laws, the attorney general can require that DA to formally state their reason why and provide any material requested. Prosecutors can also be subjected to an investigation over their alleged failure.
The bill would also allow any Texas resident to file a complaint with the attorney general's office for the removal of a DA. If authorities believe the complaint is valid, the attorney general can ask a court to remove the prosecutor.
An individual would also be able to ask a district court to remove a DA as well.
The bill is similar to other legislation in Texas targeting prosecutors over failures to not prosecute certain crimes of defendants.
The bill would take effect immediately upon a two-thirds vote of both chambers in the state Legislature. If it doesn't receive the necessary number of votes for immediate effect, it would take effect Sept. 1 if passed by lawmakers.
Two similar bills, HB 1350 and SB 378 were filed last week. Both would allow the attorney general to sue prosecutors who have implemented policies which prohibit or materially limit the enforcement of criminal offenses.
'Rather than adopt politically-motivated virtue signaling and blanket immunity for criminals, district attorneys have a duty to evaluate the merits of each alleged crime on a case-by-case basis to ensure the public safety of Texans.' state Rep. David Cook, who partnered with state Sen. Tan Parker to file both bills, said in an announcement.
The bills target Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, according to a Dallas Morning News editorial published Monday.
In 2019, Creuzot said his office would not prosecute thefts of necessary items like diapers, baby formula and food between the amounts of $100 and $750 unless evidence showed it was done for economic gain.
In a November 2022 press release, Creuzot said the policy was misrepresented.
'This policy targets a very narrow class of offense and was instituted in an effort to decriminalize poverty, but instead, the policy has been misrepresented and politicized, and those who have done that have created a sense of mistrust about this office,' he said.
Fox News Digital has reached out to Creuzot's office as well as the Harris County District Attorney's Office, which prosecutes crimes in and around Houston.