A capital murder suspect was rearrested Thursday just days after he was released from jail by a Dallas judge.
Court records said the man cut off the ankle monitor he was ordered to wear and went on the run.
Police leaders and neighbors were upset that he was released from jail.
A former prosecutor said COVD-19 is partly to blame.
The robbery and murder case began in September 2019 at Café Delicious on Botham Jean Boulevard.
“You have the community, that wants to be part of the enforcement. Law enforcement wants to do their job. But the judicial branch has to do theirs,” said Todd Atkins, pastor of nearby Salem Institutional Baptist Church.
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James William Moore, 31, was jailed for the 2019 capital murder on $500,000 bond.
On June 13, 2022, State District Judge Ernest White ordered Moore to be placed in home confinement instead. He was released from jail the following Friday.
But court records said Moore cut off the electronic monitor on Saturday.
“This falls on the prosecutor. This falls on the DA. Even more, this falls on that judge,” said Mike Mata, president of the Dallas Police Association. “What more does a violent criminal need to show Dallas County for Dallas County to do the right thing.”
A document filed in court records on June 8 shows that, prior to the capital murder case, Moore had eight criminal cases in Louisiana and nine more in Texas since 2007. There were 37 accusations of jail misconduct against Moore during his most recent two-year stay in the Dallas County Jail.
Judge White had access to all of that information. But he also had been waiting more than two years for a trial on the capital murder charges, along with the defendant.
“Whoever this defendant is, is presumed innocent. He still has a presumption of innocence and the judge can't hold that against him as he's sitting here waiting for trial on these allegations,” said Heath Harris, a former chief assistant district attorney and currently a criminal defense attorney.
Furthermore, Harris said the COVID-19 pandemic still plays a role in the delay of trials. He said prosecutors and courts are working through the backlog of cases, trying to catch up on evidence, witnesses and trial preparations.
In this case, court records show DNA test results have not been received and the lead detective is on leave, unavailable to testify.
“If the state is not ready, the court typically is going to lower that bond,” Harris said.
Mata said the detective was available and ready for trial last year. He said police were responsible for catching Moore again.
“We have the best fugitive unit, I believe, in the country,” Mata said. “That’s a message to all those criminals out there. If you’re a violent criminal in the state of Texas and you commit a crime in Dallas County, we will come and get you.”
That is exactly what happened Thursday. A Dallas Police Department tweet said Moore was arrested by the US Marshals fugitive unit in Northeast Dallas near Walnut Street and Audelia Road.
Atkins said churches work to help rehabilitate individuals who are willing to accept help, but this defendant’s record indicates he has repeatedly chosen a different path.
Atkins said the practice of releasing defendants due to trial delays is not appropriate in all cases.
“Cut monitors off? That's common practice. You expect them to come home and just sit and wait for the trial? It seems like a comedy of errors almost,” Atkins said.
A spokesperson said the Dallas County District Attorney’s office does not comment on pending cases.
A message for Judge White was not returned Thursday.