There are nearly 7,000 people on probation in Nueces County, each being supervised at different levels depending on their offense.
They all have to abide by certain rules. One common rule forbids them from possessing firearms and illegal drugs, but is that rule always being followed? Especially for those accused of domestic violence?
One local district judge wants to find out.
In Judge Inna Klein's 214th district courtroom, it was domestic violence offender day -- a time when probationers check in with the judge.
For probationer Javier Vargas, it wasn't a good meeting. He appeared for a legal procedure called an MTR, or Motion to Revoke Probation. The reason -- firearms were allegedly found at his appointed address.
Judge Klein said the mass shooting in Sutherland Springs last year struck a nerve.
"It definitely brought it home and made me question what do we do in terms of following through on the probationer's condition of not having the guns," Klein said.
The judge asked the County how often weapons checks are made on probationers charged with domestic violence.
"My understanding was that it's been a very long time since it has been checked, so I've asked them to follow through on it," Klein said.
"We've been going out on searches since Nov. 26, if I'm not mistaken, and we have found some weapons, firearms, with some of the defendants," said Rick Morales, supervisor of the Nueces County Probation Department.
Since November, probation officers have found seven of the 100 people on the domestic violence caseload in possession of firearms, but the searches also turned up other violations.
"Curfews, drinking alcohol, paraphernalia," Morales said. "There were two cases that we did find drugs and they were taken into custody at that time."
"I don't take probation lightly and I don't take the conditions lightly," Klein said.
In cases such as probationers having firearms, it could mean jail time and revocation. Judge Klein said there will not be another lapse in condition checks, especially including searches for firearms.
The goal is to send probations a clear message.
"Negative behavior will have negative consequences and positive behavior will have positive consequences," Klein said.
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