Judge Jim Crouch, who has been Judge of Denton County Criminal Court No. 1 for almost two decades made a very controversial ruling last week. Twenty-year-old Andrada Dajicu is the victim of a domestic violence charge. She has been subpoenaed by the prosecutors to testify in the trial. However, four months ago, she told Denton County prosecutors she would be unavailable to serve as a witness for trial because she purchased tickets to see her 82 year old terminally ill grandmother in Romania.
Days before the trial, it was the defendant’s attorney who spoke up for the victim, asking that the trial be rescheduled until after the witness returned. In a very emotion and tear filled testimony, she told Judge Jim Grouch that she saved $3000.00 for these plane tickets and she would not be able to afford another flight before her grandmother would pass away.
Judge Crouch unexpectedly declared the victim a flight risk, and warned Ms. Dajicu that she would face jail time if she did not appear at trial on Monday. This is highly unusual because it is the duty of the prosecutors to protect the rights and interests of victims. Additionally, the term “flight risk” is typically used to describe defendants on bond who are likely to flee, rather than face trial; it is highly unusual to describe a defendant.
It remains to be seen whether the victim will appear in court and miss her remaining opportunity to visit her grandmother. Her options seem to be limited to visiting her grandmother one final time and serving jail time upon her return or never seeing her terminally ill grandmother again.