Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive


Tuesday, February 5, 2002

ATTORNEY GENERAL CORNYN ANNOUNCES NEW TEXAS EXILE PROSECUTORS

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn today announced funding for new Texas Exile prosecutors to help fight gun crimes in Lubbock and the Killeen-Waco areas.

"The Texas Exile program is making a difference in Texas communities," Cornyn said at news conferences in Lubbock and Killeen. "The message that 'Gun Crime Means Hard Time' is being heard and it is working against armed career criminals."

Created in December 1999, Texas Exile has resulted in 1,280 indictments, 853 convictions and the confiscation of 1,391 guns (through January 15, 2002). The program utilizes existing state and federal gun laws designed to crack down on criminals who illegally use and carry weapons, without infringing on the rights of law-abiding citizens.

"As a result of Texas Exile, Texas leads the nation in the prosecution of federal gun crimes," Cornyn noted. "In fact, we indict twice as many defendants for violating federal gun laws than any other state."

New prosecutors based in Lubbock and Killeen will concentrate solely on prosecuting criminals who illegally carry guns. The prosecutors use federal gun statutes to seek the longest possible sentence, not only keeping them off the streets, but in jail longer. Texas Exile prosecutors will work closely with U.S. Attorneys, district attorneys and local law enforcement. The prosecutors will be funded through a $480,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice and will join Exile prosecutors in Austin, El Paso, Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, San Antonio, Beaumont and Tyler.

"Local prosecutors in Lubbock, Killeen, Waco and other communities throughout Texas are making great strides in fighting violent crime," Cornyn said. "These new Texas Exile prosecutors will provide additional help to local authorities in keeping criminal gun users off the streets and behind bars."

The Texas program has been so successful, that it has served a model for the federal government's Project Safe Neighborhoods. Announced last May by President Bush and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, it represents a comprehensive national strategy to create local partnerships to effectively enforce existing gun laws and give prosecutors more options to ensure that criminals who commit gun crime face tough sentences.

"Texas citizens and Texas prosecutors can be proud of the great example they have set for the nation," Cornyn said. "Thanks to the work we are doing here, communities all across the country will benefit from tougher enforcement of the law and fewer criminals on the streets."

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