On December 31, 2014, I shall retire as Criminal District Attorney of Tarrant County. That day will bring to a close over 21 years as a Tarrant County prosecutor.
I am honored to have been appointed by the Governor and then elected by the citizens of this county to serve as District Attorney. It has been a wonderful experience to lead the 320 men and women of the District Attorney’s Office. These dedicated folks do the work daily which helps keep our county safe. I have told many groups and meetings that the greatest blessing I received when appointed was to have inherited a great staff. Its membership has changed through the years but the caliber of attorneys and support staff has remained high. This office has the statewide reputation for being the best. This degree of excellence has been achieved through many years of hard work, honesty and integrity.
Many of the staff will continue into the next administration and will continue to perform at a high professional level. Many lawyers are retiring with me after years of service. Some others have been offered opportunities elsewhere due in part to their performance in this office. The total prosecutorial service in this office of those departing lawyers exceeds 425 years. Hopefully, they will be replaced by lawyers of equal quality. In any event, this office will continue to vigorously prosecute the guilty and do justice to the victims.
Having practiced law for over 51 years, I have come to realize that “doing justice” is not just reading the law and applying it robotically. It entails having an understanding of human nature and shortcomings as well as empathy for other human beings. Some are in difficulty through ignorance, poor judgment or circumstance. Most of these will not commit future crimes. Others lack a moral compass and some are just plain mean. The difficult task of the prosecutor is to determine the difference. We have all tried to do this—hopefully we are right more than we are wrong.
In any event, I extend my sincerest thanks to the citizens of Tarrant County for the opportunity to serve as Criminal District Attorney. I thank my staff for their continued support and assistance. I wish each of you who view this message the best and Godspeed.
Joe Shannon Jr.
Criminal District Attorney