Nearly 60 days into my role as your newly elected District Attorney for the 81st Judicial District, I have found it to be an exciting challenge. I appreciate your faith in electing me and I am working hard to earn that trust.
Shortly after the election, we began putting together our team. It was important to me to have the right personnel in place (from receptionist to investigators and prosecutors), a team that shared the common goal of service to our community and the desire to make a difference.
I am happy to say that we are well on our way to accomplishing that goal. We have assembled a great team of prosecutors from around the state with varying degrees of experience. They are all very eager to begin trying cases. The office has rallied together, working hard to sift through the backlog of more than 1,500 cases pending grand jury (over 700 of which were in Atascosa County) including many for sexual assaults of children and murder. We are grateful to the Atascosa grand jury for their service as well. While normally the grand jury meets once every other month, they are now meeting twice every month to help tackle the problem to clear out the backlog.
As promised during the campaign, we have hired a full-time victim advocate, Katie Etringer, to keep our victims informed throughout the legal process. We have also hired a full-time 17-year career prosecutor, Leslie Carranza, who is devoted to prosecuting crimes against children in all five counties. Leslie and I have together successfully tried many gut-wrenching sexual assaults against children with very good results. We want to continue doing that for our children who have had the courage to come forward and asked for help. Since starting last month, both Leslie and Katie have been meeting with children and their families to let them know the status of their cases and how we intend to move forward.
Additionally, in the months ahead we will begin trying significant felony cases in the district. We have several murder and sexual assault cases pending in Atascosa County. Victims families deserve peace, justice and some degree of closure. I am determined to make that happen as quickly as possible.
I look forward to serving the district and providing the leadership to ensure that my entire team will work diligently with law enforcement to protect and serve each and every member of our community.
Audrey Louis is the 81st Judicial District Attorney and is a career prosecutor. She currently serves Atascosa, Frio, Karnes, LaSalle, and Wilson counties.