Interim Update: December 2019

December 19, 2019

With most courthouses closing up shop for the holidays, we are sending this, our final missive of year, ahead of the holiday break and closing the books on 2019 as well. It’s been a wild year in Austin! Happy holidays and happy new year to all of you, and here’s to Santa leaving something boring and uneventful in our collective stocking for the new year.

New leadership for 2020

Please congratulate the following members on being promoted or selected to new board positions at TDCAA’s annual business meeting earlier this month:

Chairman of the Board: Jarvis Parsons, DA for Brazos County
President: Kenda Culpepper, CDA for Rockwall County
President-Elect: John Dodson, CA for Uvalde County
Secretary/Treasurer: Jack Roady, CDA for Galveston County

District Attorney-at-Large: Julie Renken, DA for Washington County
Assistant Prosecutor-at-Large: Tiana Sanford, ADA for Montgomery County
Region 3 Director: Ricky Thompson, DA for Nolan, Fisher, and Mitchell Counties
Region 5 Director: Bob Wortham, CDA for Jefferson County
Region 6 Director: Greg Willis, CDA for Collin County
Region 8 Director: Natalie Cobb Koehler, CA for Bosque County

Thank you to all who ran for an association office, win or lose! TDCAA is a member-driven association and we cannot fulfill our service mission without your active involvement and support.

Start your engines

Now that the election filing deadline has passed, we have started compiling prosecutor election information for 2020. Of roughly 170 potential contested elections at the felony prosecutor level, we have found 25 primary contests and just three contested general elections. That means most of the uncertainty at the felony level will be over by March* (*offer not valid for run-offs). In the new year, we’ll start compiling information on local county attorney elections and let you know how that looks too.

Statewide sexual assault audit

Those of you who attended our Elected Prosecutor Conference earlier this month heard staff from the State Auditor’s Office describe their plans for a legislatively-mandated audit of recent sexual assault cases. As promised, the agency has now released its planned methodology for that audit, which can be accessed at Read that short memo for an overview of this process and look for more information in our next update on the impending survey that all felony-level prosecutor offices will be asked to complete.

Prosecutor Trial Skills Course coming up

TDCAA’s next Prosecutor Trial Skills Course is open for registration! Join us in Austin from January 12–17, 2020, for this weeklong event—it is the perfect training for both new prosecutors and more seasoned prosecutors looking for a refresher. We have already received more than 100 registrations but we have room for plenty more people, so click here for more information and to register yourself or your new attorneys online.

Quotes of the Month

“In my school, a lot of kids don’t like being sober. They have to have a buzz. They have to be high.”
            —Anonymous 16-year-old student at La Porte High School who was disciplined for skipping class with other students suspected of vaping THC, an increasingly common problem for Texas schools and one that has been complicated by the state’s new hemp law.

“If I don’t do it, who will? If not me, who will find these children?”
            —Investigator with the Child Exploitation Investigations lab housed in ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations section, in an article about the difficult child pornography cases cracked by that unit.