Smith County DA candidate Barkley holds presser to respond to allegations

Smith County DA candidate Barkley holds presser to respond to allegations
Alicia Barkley (Source: KLTV Staff)

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - Smith County District Attorney candidate Alicia Barkley is speaking out today in response to a presser held by her opponent, Jacob Putman, on Monday.

Smith County Assistant District Attorney Jacob Putman broke his silence Monday morning after an audit found that he, along with eight other prosecutors, violated internal policy numerous times.

Barkley said today she is not proud of what she saw on Monday saying "citizens deserve better than name-calling."  She vowed "level-headed mature leadership and uncompromised accountability," if put in office.

Putman and the district attorney's office have been under public scrutiny since a December 2017 shooting of Texas Department of Public Trooper Damon Allen. The man charged in that case, Dabrett Black, had previous cases in East Texas where he allegedly assaulted law enforcement officers.

A Smith County District Attorney's Office internal audit of dismissals and reductions signed by prosecutors against department policy shows 173 were not compliant.

Putnam vowed Monday to make his personnel file available for review to show he was never reprimanded or disciplined in the 9 years he has been in office and says attacks on his record are "dirty politics at their worst." Putman also called the audit's results "lies and half-truths," and an "attempt to smear his reputation."

Read more here.

Last week Barkley spoke out saying "I'm angry and I'm sad for our community. These are not just file numbers or case numbers, these are people, and people whose lives are being affected, and they need to have a voice. So again, my goal is to create a system of accountability that we can enforce so that every case gets the attention that it needs."

Read more here.

Barkley discussed her experience saying she was the only candidate who has prosecuted a death penalty case. She added the decision to run for D.A. was not made lightly.

Barkley says she's already working with law enforcement on a solution to avoid policy discrepancies, if she is put in office. "It would be a system of accountability," says Barkley. "Where when a case is filed with the DA's office there is a filing sheet that follows it throughout the entirety of the case."

Barkley added that once a case is disposed of the file would go to the DA's office, so if there is a "pattern or concern" that court could receive more attention.

Barkley said she wants residents to know that this race shouldn't focus on who violated policy, but on judgment saying, "It is about who you have turned loose and they have committed another terrible crime."

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