THE COUNTY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
As the current County Attorney and long-time prosecutor, I have an extensive track record of advocacy and support for those most vulnerable in our community.
FAMILY JUSTICE DIVISION
What could make a Republican go “blue?” Child abuse prevention month – that is what. Each year the Children’s Advocacy Center of Williamson County promotes “blue” which is the color chosen for Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month. Each division of my office is important but the work we do in our Family Justice Division is something I am very proud of.
Each day we work to protect those that can’t protect themselves. I have been honored to receive the “Prosecutor of the Year” award from the Advocacy Center and I later sat on their board of directors. I have partnered with multiple agencies to host training for law enforcement, prosecutors and CPS investigators and will continue to work to ensure that every child is afforded the safety and security necessary to thrive.
Domestic violence is the silent killer. It takes lives, takes freedom, takes away identities, takes children out of their safe zones, takes so much from those caught up in the cycle of violence. It will take a community effort to combat domestic violence. I have put together an all-star team that have a passion for battling this age-old problem. I have been recognized two times and several of my staff have been recognized as well, for outstanding work against domestic violence during National Crime Victim Rights Week ceremonies here in Williamson County.
Domestic Violence knows no bounds: no socioeconomic boundaries, no race, no religion, no gender, no national origin boundaries. Domestic violence effects everyone but few in our community want to discuss it. Pretending it does not exist is often easier than looking the demon in the face and saying “not on my watch.” We take those caught in the cycle of violence and help them free themselves and become survivors. Whether it is through awareness programs, our protective order process, or prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence my office stands tall against this ever-growing threat.
|Founding Member of:|
|Williamson County DWI/Drug Court (est. 2006)|
Williamson County Veterans’ Court (est. 2015)
County Attorney’s Pre-Trial Intervention (Diversion) Program (est. 2006)
|The County Attorney’s Mental Health Diversion Program (est. 2010)|
All of these programs seem like commonsense today but back when I was trying to get them started in our County, they were new, untested, and people were fearful of what they did not understand.
These programs fly in the face of old school/traditional prosecution methods used for years. Now they have become expected by Texas Communities but they were a risk at the time ours were created – a risk I believed in and a risk our community has benefited from ever since.
Second chances are hard to come by in this “cancel” culture we seem to be caught up in these days.
I believe that grace is often a prosecutor’s strongest tool. We have several programs to aid those who need help and if given help they can be valued members of our community. I have helped create several ground-breaking programs in my time at the County Attorney’s Office.
These include: a mental health working group focused on quick identification of those suffering from mental health issues – getting them on a long-term trajectory for success – and removing them from the criminal justice system. I assisted in starting the DWI/Drug Court program targeted at those in our community battling addiction. This program has served as a model for other counties. I helped start the Veterans Court Program targeted at aiding the veterans in our community that have come into contact with the criminal justice system and that have diagnosed issues related to their service of this country. I also created a diversion program to help those who have made a mistake be able to have that case dismissed and sometimes expunged from their record. None of these programs are required – I believe in each and every one of these programs.
I took the County Attorney’s Office paperless in 2011. Long before most prosecutor offices even thought about paperless as a real possibility. We have led the way with technology in prosecution.
I also began working on telecommuting for several of my divisions before COVID-19 hit. I worked on telecommuting, not because I foresaw a pandemic, but because it would help with employee retention, be in place if the Justice Center had to be closed because of fire or water damage, it would lessen our physical “footprint” as the county grows. However, that preparation paid off when COVID-19 hit because the infrastructure was already in place to work remotely.
The County Attorney’s Office has great people working in the office (55 full-time employees & 5 part-time or seasonal employees). Please visit Williamson County Attorney’s Office on Facebook or Twitter to learn more about the office itself. I am very proud of what we, as a team, have accomplished. Offices from across Texas and even offices from out-of-state have come to see what the County Attorney’s Office is doing in Williamson County so they can implement it in their jurisdiction.
I have trained all across Texas. I have trained Judges, prosecutors, law enforcement, clerks, CPS workers, law students, commissioners, and the list goes on. I sat on Sheriff Wilson’s Training Advisory Board when he was Sheriff of Williamson County and I currently sit on Sheriff Chody’s Training Advisory Board. I sat on the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association (one of the largest state & local prosecutor association in the United States) – investigator board and long-range planning committee. I do not go around spouting off all the things I have accomplished because we should expect our elected officials to go “above & beyond” the bare minimum of their oaths. I consider it a great honor to be asked to train others and it reminds me that we are doing something right here in Williamson County.
The bare minimum is unacceptable in my eyes and I hope it is in yours. Training takes effort, time, expertise, and long hours (usually outside the workday). But only by sharing our knowledge, triumphs, and failures with one another will we make strides forward as a profession. A stagnant criminal justice system is a broken criminal justice system. I have led the way since day one and many advances in prosecution have come from my direction and my teams’ hard work
WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET
Most people are tired of politicians that simply tell them what they think a voter wants to hear. Swaying in the wind like a tall tree instead of speaking what is in their hearts. I will follow the law of this land no matter where it takes me. Trends come and go but the law is the foundation upon which a prosecutor must build their house, so to speak.
Some voters think they want a “puppet” – someone who will do or say exactly what that voter wants them to do or say. A “puppet” may be great – if you are the one pulling the strings, but there are too many puppets, in my opinion, in politics today. I have no strings to be manipulated by anyone. I am a free thinker who follows the law. You will not agree with everything I do or say, hopefully you will not disagree with everything I do or say. The best we can hope for in this democracy is that our elected officials will follow the oath they took for the office they hold. I promised (to God) to follow the law of this land. I will not violate that to appease one person or one special interest. Love me or hate me – what you see is what you get. There are no surprises. There are no strings attached.