For those who have been rumbling that the disconnect between the police agencies of Harris County and Pat Lykos' District Attorney's Office is strictly political, perhaps this story being aired by Channel 11 and other news agencies might give you an alternative perspective.
It seems that every summer we hear of at least one tragic case of a child dying because he or she was left alone in a hot car. For every one of those cases, there are numerous other ones where fortunately the child wasn't permanently harmed.
Some of those cases should most definitely NOT be filed. Although leaving a child in the car unattended for any amount of time is never a good idea, a five minute lapse in judgment while Mom runs into the cleaners doesn't necessarily warrant a felony charge of Abandoning a Child. Somewhere along the slippery slope that runs between that scenario and a man who leaves two infants in a car while shopping for a firearm, one could argue that charges should be filed.
At the scene of the crime, the responding officer is usually a fairly decent set of eyes and ears in helping the Assistant District Attorney at Intake decide whether or not charges should be filed. What seems pretty clear in the news piece from Channel 11 is that the Precinct Five Deputy Constable who responded did his part by calling the case into Intake.
What isn't as clear is why the charges were rejected.
There could be a host of reasons. Perhaps since the children did not appear to be in physical danger, the Assistant D.A. decided to take more time in investigating before filing it. Maybe there was some other intervening factor. I don't know. I wasn't there.
But this case does illustrate what the police unions were talking about when they issued their vote of No Confidence in Pat Lykos. The communication has apparently broken down between the police and the Office and that can't be good for anybody.
[UPDATE: I heard from several friends at the District Attorney's Office who gave me a little more background into this case and the information provided to the D.A.'s Office at intake. The prosecutor who took the call is a highly respected, knowledgable and fair Assistant District Attorney. According to my sources (who, just FYI was not the prosecutor in question), the case was discussed at length with the Deputy Constable at the scene. They went over the Code and the elements needed to be proved and the Deputy apparently expressed that he did not feel the children were harmed or placed in danger, thus charges were not accepted at that time. Furthermore, it is my understanding that the case was referred for further investigation.]