On Election Day (March 3rd), you must vote in your precinct. You can locate your precinct on your voter registration card or at the Secretary of State's website.
Bring a photo ID to your precinct. Hours for election day are 7:00am-7:00pm. Listed below are the locations by county and a contact number for more information:
Dallam County (806.244.4751)
Precincts 1, 4: Texline Community Center, 300 South 4th Street, Texline, Texas
Precincts 2, 3, 5, 6: Courthouse Annex, Suite 1, 402 Denver Avenue, Dalhart, Texas
Precinct 7: Courthouse Annex, Suite 2, 402 Denver Avenue, Dalhart, Texas
Precinct 8: Courthouse Annex, Suite 3, 402 Denver Avenue, Dalhart, Texas
Precinct 9: Courthouse Annex, Suite 4, 402 Denver Avenue, Dalhart, Texas
Hartley County (806.235.3582)
Precinct 101: Hartley County Community Building, 801 Central, Hartley, Texas
Precinct 102: Rita Blanca Lake Coliseum, 1219 West FM 281, Dalhart, Texas
Precinct 201: Hartley County Courthouse, 900 Main Street, Channing, Texas
Precincts 202, 301, 401: Rita Blanca Lake Coliseum, 1219 West FM 281, Dalhart, Texas
Moore County (806.935.2009)
Precinct 101: 1st Street Annex, 310 East 1st Street, Dumas
Precinct 201: Girl's Center, 5th and South Maddox, Dumas
Precinct 202: Hillcrest School, 6th & Pear
Precinct 203: Double Diamond Activity Center, 110 South Club Drive, Fritch
Precinct 401: Sunray City Hall, 405 Main, Sunray
Precinct 402: Cactus City Hall, 201 South Highway 287, Cactus
Sherman County (806.366.2371)
Precinct 101: County Barn at Lautz, Highway 287 South of Stratford
Precincts 102, 201: County & District Courtroom, 701 North 3rd Street, Stratford, Texas
Precinct 202: Precinct 2 County Barn, County Road 24 & W
Precinct 301: County & District Courtroom, 701 North 3rd Street, Stratford, Texas
Precinct 302: Precinct 3 County Barn, 622 West Denver, Texhoma, Texas
Precinct 401: County & District Courtroom, 701 North 3rd Street, Stratford, Texas
Bring a valid photo ID to the following early voting locations in your county:
KXIT Radio in Dalhart gave me the opportunity to speak at their "Candidate's Corner" radio segment.
Having a District Attorney that runs the office efficiently is vital to successful prosecution of felony cases. After law enforcement officers submit a case to the District Attorney's Office, it's up to the DA to get the cases reviewed in a timely manner. My policy will be to review cases within thirty days. This policy will allow an opportunity for law enforcement to follow up on a request from my office, if need be. Is a witness statement needed? Should we get a photograph of a piece of evidence? This information often goes missing or is forgotten if months or years pass between receiving the case and reviewing it.
Once the case is complete and there is sufficient evidence, I'll take it to the grand jury. If the grand jury chooses to indict, I will fairly and aggressively prosecute the cases to completion. In my current position as Assistant District Attorney in Hutchinson and Hansford counties, I've prosecuted hundreds of felony cases. For defendants that do not want to take accountability for their actions, a jury trial will be set. In 2019 alone, I successfully tried six cases to a jury: two mental competency cases, burglary of a habitation, multi-count sexual assault of a child, felony DWI, and indecency with a child by sexual contact. I have the right experience to get the job done.
Check out the radio interview here:
Since announcing my candidacy in October, I have been very clear on what I found to be the issues affecting the District Attorney's office and my solutions to the problems: fairly and aggressively prosecute cases, reestablish the relationship between law enforcement and the DA, and efficiently run the DA's office.
In December, I had the opportunity to speak to the Moore County Journal to again discuss my reasons for running for District Attorney and the changes I would implement. Some folks were having trouble watching the video, so I've attached it here. Additionally, I've had the video transcribed as shown below.
For a pdf transcript of the video, please click here: erin_lands_for_da.pdf
Q. What are the duties and responsibilities of a district attorney?
A. So the district attorney represents the district in criminal matters. And in this district, since there's a county attorney -- since there's a county attorney, the district attorney handles the felony cases. So anything ranging from stolen vehicles, burglary of a habitation, burglary of a vehicle, methamphetamine cases, things of that nature, those are going to be felony level cases, and that's what the district attorney is responsible for.
Q. Can you explain to our viewers the process that's involved in a case from the time of an arrest all the way up to, like, a prosecution?
A. Sure. So the law enforcement agencies work the investigation, work the cases. Or maybe it just begins as a traffic stop. So they make the arrest and then work up a report, present the case to the district attorney's office. Then the district attorney usually reviews the case, makes sure there's enough evidence to present it to a grand jury.
Some cases are just simply declined because maybe there's no suspect that they can pin down, maybe the facts just don't support it, maybe it just ends up being a misdemeanor level offense.
If there is enough evidence to present it to a grand jury, then the district attorney is responsible to -- responsible for presenting it to the grand jury.
The grand jury is a secret proceeding where law enforcement and the district attorney's office will present the case to the grand jurors. They decide whether or not there's enough evidence to indict somebody. And then from the indictment, it carries on where people will show up for court dates, things of that nature. Maybe the defendant will plead guilty, and that's what resolves the case, or the case will go to trial. In either event, the district attorney is representing the State or this district until the case is disposed of.
Q. Can a defendant request their case be presented to a grand jury? Is that a right they have, or is that something that's at the discretion of the district attorney?
A. So if the district attorney decides not to present the case to a grand jury, a defendant really isn't going to have a say-so one way or the other about what -- what the district attorney can do with the case.
Somebody that is going to be charged with a felony does have a right to have their case presented to a grand jury. So you can't make them do anything just by simply charging them by information, like what you could do in a misdemeanor case. It has to go through the grand jury process, if the defendant chooses to be charged in that manner.
Q. So what happens to those cases that, say, are not presented to the grand jury?
A. This is where you're going to have a lot of discretion given to a district attorney. So if the DA decides, well, I just don't think that there's enough evidence here, for whatever reason, or they just don't want to present the case to a grand jury, then that's the end of it, as far as the criminal side.
Even the way that it's presented to a grand jury, that has a lot to do with the district attorney. So if he or she goes in there and says, well, I just really don't think that there's enough here, and pushes it that way, that can influence a grand jury also. So there's a lot of discretion in that beginning part of how the case is going to proceed. They don't have to present it to a grand jury if they don't want to. They can simply just decline it.
Q. Can these cases that are not presented and maybe set aside, can these cases be reviewed later? And if so, is that something that you would do when you take office?
A. Well, it depends on if the statute of limitations have run. And so the longer a case sits, the more it stinks, is kind of, you know, what people say about criminal cases. But if the statute of limitations have not passed and I do think that there's enough evidence to present a case, then certainly that's something that I can look over.
Now, if they've already pled guilty or they've already gone to a jury and have been found not guilty, then the case is done.
Q. So as a DA, you need to have a really good working relationship with law enforcement?
A. Correct. And so that's -- that's one thing that I've really been kind of trying to make the public aware of, is that the way it sits right now, there's a pretty strained relationship between most law enforcement and the district attorney's office. And I think a lot of that stems from -- obviously, they have to work together. The district attorney cannot do their job without the law enforcement agencies, and vice versa. So I think there's a lot of frustration coming from law enforcement, where they are doing the traffic stops, they're finding drugs, they're getting calls out for a stolen vehicle, stolen property, things of that nature. They work the case, they talk to witnesses, they write the reports, they do all of the things that they feel that they need to be doing, they present the case to the district attorney's office, and then it just goes nowhere, or they're given a bunch of reasons why it cannot move forward, instead of helping them figure out a way to move it forward. Obviously, that's demoralizing for law enforcement. They're getting tired of it. And then it's becoming, why are we even working this case.
And so as a community, that's not what we want, especially victims. You know, your vehicle gets stolen, it's found, we know who did it, and now police are arriving at the scene and they have no interest in working the case because they know down the road nothing is going to happen. So that's -- that's not good for law enforcement, that's not good for the victims of the crime, and also it provides a huge incentive for criminals to continue doing what they've been doing.
Q. So during the -- during the last election that we've just recently had, that included the school bonds and things, the county clerk, Brenda McKanna, had said that she felt like there were some voter harassment intimidation going on, and she actually referred some of those cases over to the current district attorney, David Green, and there weren't ever any charges brought or anything announced that there was -- you know, anything that kind of came of that.
Q. So using that as an example of these cases being set aside or not looked into, or anything --
Q. -- accomplished with the case, use that as an example and kind of explain -- you know, what can you explain how that process would work and how those types of situations would need to be looked into, and, you know, what are the possible outcomes in that.
A. Okay. All right. So this is a good example of where there's a wide discretion for a district attorney. And in fairness to that office, I -- you and I are not going to know all of the information and who they have talked to --
Q. Sure. Correct.
A. -- and if there's an investigation pending at all.
But let's say that there -- there is some truth to this. So the district attorney's office does have an investigator. The investigator can, you know, maybe guide these victims to the appropriate agency that they need to talk to, or can just go ahead and start talking to them himself.
So let's say that there is some truth to the matter, then the case would need to be worked, investigated, witnesses talked to. And then once the case is kind of put together, then at that point the district attorney can present it to the grand jury. And so long as the statute of limitations, as I've said before, haven't run, then let the grand jury decide whether or not there's -- there's truth to the allegations.
I think people get frustrated -- and not specific to this example -- but just frustrated in general where there doesn't seem to be consistency. So if it seems like, well, these group of people can kind of get away with doing whatever it is that they want to do, but this group of people cannot, there again, there's the large latitude the a DA has, but choosing it wisely and being objective on how you handle cases and how you treat cases should really matter.
Unilaterally deciding, maybe, that you're not going to take stolen vehicle cases just because you think they're hard to prove, or arson cases just because you think they're hard to prove, things of that nature, just for an example, doesn't give the public a lot of faith in that office, faith in the process. And then it becomes the blame game as far as, well, it's law enforcement's office -- you know, law enforcement fault. No, it's the DA's fault, and vice versa.
Q. One of the points that you've kind of made in your campaign is running the office efficiently and effectively financially, and just the general operation of the district attorney's office.
Q. How do you feel like you can run that better and more efficient?
A. I think I need to answer that question by outlining the three points that I've -- that I've made during my campaign. Number one, mending the law enforcement relationship, as we've discussed, instilling trust again, that they can call and contact that office and ask questions and seek guidance, and at least have somebody that's going to review the case fairly and objectively and make a decision. So that's -- that's one point.
The second point is to actually prosecute cases. So not just give a bunch of excuses as to why it can't work, it won't happen, just declining them outright, but actually -- if there's something there, then something needs to be done. You're not going to win every case, but at least push back, stand up against the crime that's happening. At least be an advocate for this community. So that's been my second point.
And that kind of goes in with my third point, which is it needs to be efficiently run. So not only are cases backlogged, sometimes cases are lost, but then there's -- there's an inefficiency with that office. So making sure that cases are maintained and looked at in a timely manner.
If you -- one of the discretions that a district attorney has is -- as far as representing the State in bond hearings. So I would say that there's probably three types of criminals that, generally, you are going to deal with. And I learned this on the defense side. One is the person that's in trouble for the first time, and this is going to be it for them, and they're scared, and we can help them and get them back on the right track, and it -- great.
The second person is kind of maybe the longer term drug user, somebody that's going down the wrong path, doesn't want to be going down that path, and really does want to seek some help.
The third person is this is going to be their life, going to jail, going to prison. It just the cost of doing business. And no matter how many rehabs you send them to, how long you put them on probation, they're never going to change because they don't want to change.
So knowing these first two groups of people, we have -- just in Moore County, the County Commissioners recently, I think, budgeted for about $190,000 just on out-of-county jail holds, meaning that our jail is full on the people that we're housing here, and so they've had to pay other counties to house some of our defendants.
Some people may think, well, what's the problem, you know. They're in jail and they're off the streets. Well, you have to present somebody's case within 90 days to a grand jury. Otherwise, they're released on what's called a PR bond, where they don't have to post any money, and there's no bondsman monitoring them. They'll show back up to court maybe, maybe not, if their case is ever indicted.
So if you know that you're not going to be able to indict somebody within 90 days, and those people are methamphetamine, heroine, cocaine, possession charges -- the reason why is because the lab testing those drugs is so back-logged that you're not going to get your lab results back on the drug testing within the 90 day period. If you know that you're not going to be able to indict those people in time, but those people are either willing to plead guilty or have a family that will take them in, you release them or put them on probation, or do whatever it is that you're going to do with them. Don't house them in the jail at the 90 days, and then release on a PR bond, where nobody is monitoring them. I think that that's a problem, and we're feeding and housing them for three months times however many defendants that you have.
Another problem is if your goal is to rehabilitate people, having them in jail for maybe the 90 days, or if it's a different kind of offense, they're just sitting there nine months, a year, and they're not violent, now you've taken them out of the job market, out of the real world for an extended period of time. And then getting them back on track becomes increasingly difficult.
So that's, I think, the source of frustration where some of the public is concerned, as far as the people that are monitoring how much money we're spending on housing people in the jail. That's a problem.
Violent offenders, sex offenders, you know, things like that, I'm not talking about those kinds of people. I'm talking about the people that you know you're going to, by law -- a lot of the first time drug users -- you're going to have to put them on probation. Being efficient in that regard.
Also, running the office in a manner that makes sense. So being clear on who is responsible for doing what, making sure that cases are maintained, not lost, the proper people are reviewing the cases, making sure that everybody knows what they're supposed to be doing, that's important, instead of having to hire or bring in extra people. And then it doesn't seem to be any benefit to adding more personnel to the office. So I think that that's important, also, as far as efficiently running the office.
But reviewing the cases in a timely manner, either do something with it or don't. As I said before, the longer it sits, the worse off it becomes, in a lot of cases.
A. So those kind of things to help move things along and not waste people's -- you know, taxpayer money.
What is a district attorney?
A district attorney represents the state in felony criminal cases. Specifically, a district attorney prosecutes felonies in the district in which he or she has been elected.
The 69th Judicial District covers Moore, Sherman, Hartley and Dallam counties (Dumas, Sunray, Cactus, parts of Fritch, Texhoma, Stratford, Dalhart, Channing, Hartley, Texline, etc.). Therefore, residents of these counties are represented by their elected 69th Judicial District Attorney in felony crimes occurring in these areas.
What is a felony?
Typical felonies in this district include:
How a case moves through the system
A district attorney has significant power over how a case progresses through the system.
A case starts with law enforcement. Law enforcement may seek assistance with a warrant from the district attorney or may make an “on view” arrest where they witness a crime in progress (i.e. Driving While Intoxicated, location of drugs in a vehicle on a traffic stop). District attorney availability to answer law enforcement questions is vital during a time-sensitive matter.
After a case has been investigated and an offense report has been written, law enforcement submits the case to the district attorney’s office. Once the case is submitted, a district attorney reviews the case to determine whether or not there is enough evidence to submit the case to a grand jury. A grand jury decides whether or not to indict a defendant in a secret proceeding . There, 9 out of 12 jurors must vote to indict a defendant if they believe there is enough evidence that a crime probably occurred and that this defendant is the one that probably did it.
A district attorney determines how quickly he or she reviews a case and when, if at all, a case will be presented to a grand jury.
Once a case is indicted, a defendant is arrested on the indictment warrant if they were not previously arrested or if their bail is raised by the judge. A district attorney will typically make a plea bargain offer to a defendant that is willing to plead guilty to the crime as indicted. The district attorney has wide discretion in making a plea bargain offer, including: reducing the charge, offering probation versus prison time, or the timing in making the offer.
If a defendant does not wish to plead guilty, a district attorney represents the district in the jury trial.
Importance of the district attorney
A district attorney has a lot of options on how to move a case through the felony process. Additionally, the effectiveness of a district attorney will often depend on their advocacy and negotiation skills, availability to law enforcement, and their effectiveness in arguing cases to a jury.
I'm excited to announce my candidacy for the 69th Judicial District Attorney's Office. The 69th Judicial District Attorney's Office serves Moore, Hartley, Dallam, and Sherman counties of the Texas Panhandle.