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108 E. San Antonio St. San Marcos, TX, 78666
I’ve worked as an attorney in Hays County since 2002. In defending the citizen accused and the Constitution over that time, I’ve seen the Hays County District Attorney’s Office, the prosecuting authority for all criminal cases, become more
and more cynical, more authoritarian, more political, more arrogant, and just plain meaner.
The District Attorney, Wes Mau, has had eight years in the office to make a difference in our county. The difference he’s made has led to a crisis in our courts. His failure to discipline rogue police agencies has brought discredit to our county. His abdication of his duties under the Constitution is an outrage. Every court in Hays County has a jury docket that reaches five and ten years into the future. This is due to the intransigence of the District Attorney. As a lawyer with a daily view of our courthouse, I know that our county needs to adjust and reform. Ask a judge. Any judge. Unless we re-prioritize our mission, unless we begin to allocate our resources wisely, our courts will continue to struggle.
Wes Mau has put us in this position. Eight years of refusing to move into the 21st Century. In every way, it is time to move on from the policies and ambitions of Mr. Mau.
Someone had to run against Mau. So I entered the race. I wanted to run against Mau and be able to talk about him the whole campaign. But Mr. Mau didn’t want that.
SO WES MAU HAS DECIDED NOT TO RUN FOR RE-ELECTION!
I feel this campaign has already accomplished something important for Hays County. We will have a new District Attorney next year. For that I am very grateful. And even though campaigning against Mr. Mau would have been simple (just talk about him and his eight years), I’m very happy not to have to talk about him any more. Happy enough to wish him luck in all his future endeavors.
So why am I still running for DA?
I am going tell the truth, as is my practice. Until December 2020, it had never occurred to me to run for public office. Until then, I had been content to play my role in the criminal justice system as a zealous advocate for the citizen accused and the eternal fight to keep our Constitutional rights alive. It’s not obvious to everyone, but criminal defense is the line between a free society and an authoritarian dystopia. So I’ve always felt good about protecting people from the grinding system we call criminal justice, especially when controlled by officious people without any real sense of justice.
So, back in December 2020, after a normal morning in court, the judge (please allow me to keep the name to myself) asked me to stay after the docket. This judge plainly told me that I need to run for DA. That I was the right person. And honestly, I laughed. Not only had it never occurred to me to do anything like that, the very idea seemed to be ridiculous. I’m devoted to all that Constitution stuff. Come on, Your Honor. Why me?
And in one phrase, this judge I’ve respected and admired for years told me why I was the right person: because I would do the right thing.
Listen, it was the best compliment I’ve ever received. I got a little emotional. And I knew it was true, and I was incredibly gratified and grateful to have someone I respected see me in this light. That feeling gave me the courage to believe that I would be the District Attorney Hays County needs. That’s not a boast, I swear. It’s a recognition of the present state of our criminal justice system and the simple truth that it will require someone who is willing to make the changes history is calling for. Someone willing to confront entrenched elements of that system, someone willing to act to oppose encroaching authoritarianism and dispense with outdated methods. Someone with a progressive vision for Hays County. It would take someone who isn’t afraid, who doesn’t want higher office, who wants to do the right thing for Hays County.
Looking around at the people who might run, I see many qualified lawyers. The bar in Hays County is deep and of a high quality. To my embarrassment, I know many of them to be better lawyers than I am. You have to be honest with yourself. There are some really good lawyers. I flatter myself that I’m one of them. I hope they think so. But I know they see me as unafraid, and I know they see me as having a vision of justice beyond the disputation of facts. And it looks like they are going to support me for that reason. And I’m very grateful for the support of those colleagues. That, too, gives me the courage to enter a political race for the first time in my life.
I’d like to talk a little about the most obvious objection to my candidacy: you’ve never been a prosecutor. So true. I’ve been proud of that. I’ve always been the guy who insists on the protection of the Constitution. But I have worked closely with many excellent prosecutors over the years and I know what makes a good one. As District Attorney, I do not propose to carry a case load and personally prosecute anyone. I will instead trust a staff of excellent prosecutors to do that work. I concede up front that I’m not the prosecuting type, although I intend to try some misdemeanor cases.
But that does not mean that I am soft. It means I see every case like a novel, a complex story in which every character has a motivation I can understand. It means that even people who commit terrible acts are people. It means that I understand that the prosecution of a criminal case is to be undertaken with humanity, not ambition, not arrogance, not wrath. The oath of a prosecutor is to pursue justice, and cases that end justly are always victories for our entire society. The old saying, that Justice is Blind, is supposed to mean that it doesn’t matter who you are, we’ll all be treated the same in the courts. Do you think that’s true today? Justice may be blind, but we must have a District Attorney whose eyes are wide open. We cannot close our eyes to what’s wrong in our society and expect things to improve.
So I submit that not having been a prosecutor is, in this county at this time, a blessing. I am not encumbered with “we’ve always done it this way.” I am open to new and more effective approaches, both to combat DWI and other dangerous offenses and to relieve our courts of the incredible backlog of cases strangling justice in Hays County.
Did you know that for the last eight years, it has taken nine months after an arrest for a charge to be filed? NINE MONTHS! And after that incredible delay, a case takes another year, or two, before being resolved? If the case requires a trial, under our present burden, the wait will be for four or five years. Is anyone willing to argue that being punished for something that happened five years ago is an effective way to change someone’s behavior? Anyone? And conversely, if a person waited all that time for trial only to be acquitted, is that a triumph of justice? No. That’s why the Rev. Dr. King had to instruct us: Justice delayed is justice denied.
I am running to bring a sea change to the District Attorney’s Office in Hays County. I am running to bring a progressive vision to our county, a vision of justice, proportion, and fair play. I’m running to revive the Constitution before it expires under the weight of political ambition. I’m running to confront and overcome the obstacles to justice that our District Attorney has fomented for eight long years.
I do not like to brag. But I am the person to do it.