March-April 2011

What is the State Prosecuting Attorney’s Office?

Why, we’re glad you asked! The State Prosecuting Attorney represents the State before the Court of Criminal Appeals, either individually or with the assistance of the district or county attorney. SPA attorneys are happy to help local prosecutors with PDRs, briefs, and oral argument in the CCA, and answer your questions about trial or appellate issues. Following Jeff  Van Horn’s retirement in December, the CCA appointed Lisa McMinn, formerly Mr. Van Horn’s first assistant, to be the next State Prosecuting Attorney. Two new assistant SPAs have since joined the office: John Messinger, from the McLennan County DA’s Office, best known for Brooks v. State, where he convinced the CCA to do away with the Clewis factual sufficiency standard, and Michael Mark, from the Liberty County DA’s Office, who has been a prosecutor for over 15 years, with both trial and appellate experience. He has also served as a city council member and an associate municipal judge. To learn more about the office, visit