Judge John R. Roach, Criminal District Attorney in Collin County, received the 2008 Lone Star Prosecutor Award at the Annual Criminal & Civil Law Update.
Judge Roach was honored for his courage and discretion in prosecuting—or choosing not to prosecute—several cases over the past year. For example, he steadfastly refused to take on cases contaminated by the “To Catch a Predator” television show. The cases were mired in controversy because the investigations were conducted under the supervision of television producers, not law enforcement, and would not have held up in court.
“John Roach showed the true backbone of a Texas prosecutor in standing up to a national television network and this show by refusing to prosecute cases tainted by an entertainment-driven ‘investigation,’” Macha says.
Roach also agreed to prosecute another elected prosecutor, Ray Sumrow, for abuse of office, resulting in a 15-year prison term, and he dismissed charges against the man convicted of murdering young Ashlee Estelle after doubt was cast on the evidence used to convict him. “The public may not have liked that decision,” Macha notes, “but Roach followed the law in this case. That is his job as the elected prosecutor, to be sure that justice is done. It is this type of work that exemplifies the best in Texas prosecution.”
“Recognition by my fellow Texas prosecutors as Lone Star Prosecutor of the Year is a great honor—and doubly so because of our shared dedication to truth, justice, and the rule of law,” Judge Roach says.
Each year the Board of Directors of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association names a Lone Star Prosecutor who demonstrates professionalism and dedication to the highest standards of prosecution. The award is traditionally presented at the prosecutors’ annual conference every September.