Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Collin Co. District Attorney Candidate De La Garza Files For Democratic Primary

Updated December 22, 2009 @ 7:05 P.M.

This morning former Assistant Dallas County District Attorney and former Special Assistant U.S. Attorney John Eric Reed, announced that due to family considerations he would not seek the Collin County District Attorney's office.

In a significant development in the District Attorney's race, Rafael de la Garza announced on Tuesday morning that he had withdrawn his name from the Republican ballot for the March 2, 2010 primary election, and switched his primary filing, to have his name placed on the Democratic primary ballot for Collin County District Attorney, with the encouragement and full support of Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin County Chair.   (Photo Right - John Eric Reed (D) Congratulates Rafael de la Garza (R/D) - free use photo)

Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin County Chair, immediately announced his endorsement of, and full support for, Rafael de la Garza II for Collin County's next District Attorney.  Rafael de la Garza is a former Assistant Dallas County District Attorney and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for Texas. 

Rafael de la Garza had been one of several Republicans to file for the office of Collin County District Attorney, while no candidate had yet filed for that office on the Democratic Primary Ballot. Stevens actively recruited Rafael de la Garza for the Democratic primary ballot.   De La Garza has previously endorsed, contributed to, and supported Republican Party candidates for public office.   (Photo Left - De La Garza and Stevens - free use photo)

During comments to the press at the Democratic Party of Collin County office on Tuesday morning De La Garza said, "Citizens of Collin County deserve a choice between good quality candidates in our two party system. Instead of just a single Republican candidate for District Attorney at the end of the March 2010 primary election, Collin County will now be guaranteed a choice between a Democratic and Republican ballot candidate for the November 2010 general election."

When asked why he decided to run in the Democratic Party primary De La Garza answered, "Chairman Stevens and the party has welcomed me and I am confident that the Democratic Party of Collin County will strongly support my candidacy." 

Mr. De La Garza are the five men who have expressed interest in running for the soon to be vacated Collin County District Attorney's office. Last September long time Collin County District Attorney John Roach (R) announced he will not seek re-election in 2010. According to Mr. Roach's old campaign website, his last day on the job as Collin County's District Attorney will be December 31, 2009.

(Photo Right - John Eric Reed, Shawn Stevens and Rafael de la Garza - free use photo)

Mr. Reed had filed earlier in December to run in the Collin County Democratic Primary, but filed papers to withdraw from the race this morning. Reed said that he did not want to leave the race without a qualified candidate to represent the Democratic Party in his place. Reed also said he was very happy that his good friend Ralf (Rafael) that the Democratic party could best represent the strong community and law enforcement values they both share.

Shawn Stevens, Democratic Party of Collin Co. said, "We welcome all who want to build a stronger community in Collin County to the Democratic party. Democrats have been making great progress in Collin County and we continue to build for the future." Stevens further commented, "Comparing 2008 to 2004, there were 20,000 more straight ticket Democratic voters in 2008, while the Republicans’ straight ticket votes were virtually unchanged. Also, the raw Democratic vote in Collin County went up by 40,000 votes, while the raw Republican vote went up by only 10,000, a 30,000 net gain for the Democrats, reducing the vote gap between the Democratic and Republican vote by around 17.5 points. There are huge numbers of Democrats in Collin County, and we have a real opportunity to re-engage our local Democrats to effect change."

Rafael De La Garza II, an eighth generation Texan, says his interest in criminal justice was sparked by his grandfather, Rafael De La Garza Sr. who was elected Sheriff of Jim Hogg County Texas in the early 1950's. Mr. De La Garza Sr. was a rancher all of his life and ran the family's South Texas Randado Ranch, which was established in the year 1767. The De La Garza Randado Ranch has been the subject of published books, articles, and documentaries on South Texas history and it continues as a working De La Garza family cattle ranch to this day. The chapel on the ranch property was awarded the Texas Historical Medallion in 1958.

De La Garza established his own Plano-based private law practice in 2001 and has been single out as one of the top "Texas Superlawyers" in 2007, 2008 and 2009 -- an honor granted to only the top five percent of Texas lawyers.

Mr. De La Garza, age 45, graduated from Temple High School in 1982, received his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 1986 and graduated from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law in 1993. De La Garza is married and has two sons age 11 and 9. [De La Garza campaign website]

Republican Party Primary candidates running for the District Attorney's office include:
  1. Former County Court Six Judge Greg Willis.
  2. Senior Legal Adviser for the Plano Police Department Jefferson (Jeff) Bray.
  3. Former Dallas Police Officer James (Jimmy) Angelino.
Also see DMN "GOP candidate De La Garza to run as Democrat in Collin County DA race" by Ed Housewright - Wednesday, December 23, 2009

--- Press Releases from the Reed and De La Garza Campaigns ---
After The Jump


Good Morning my name is John Eric Reed.

For the past 15 years, I have devoted myself to the practice of Criminal Law in North Texas. Throughout the course of that practice I have continually strived to use my education and abilities to stand up for the weak and protect those less fortunate from oppression and abuse. My desire to help the ordinary citizen stems from the moral values that I learned many years ago from my parents and from my years of service in Boy Scouts. In filing to run as a candidate for Collin County District Attorney, I sought to continue my representation of the common citizen and hoped to stimulate all of the citizens of Collin County to get involved in their local community. After analyzing the political landscape of the county, I decided that my campaign would r se above simple partisan politics and seek to involve every voter in choosing the best course for the District Attorney's office. Last week, I filed to run for Collin County District Attorney as a fiscally conservative Democrat. My goal was to bring to the District Attorney's office an aggressive and efficient approach to administering criminal justice for all of the citizens of Collin County. Shortly after launching my campaign, my wife and I learned that our son has developed a condition which will require ongoing medical treatment. Due to my commitment as a father and husband, I must withdraw my name from the ballot as a Democratic Party candidate for the office of Collin County District Attorney. Withdrawing my candidacy was an extremely difficult decision, but one that was made without regret as my first responsibility is that which I have for my family.

When I determined that I would be unable to run for the office of District Attorney, another great candidate, Raphael de la Garza, transcended partisan politics and will now represent the Democratic Party in this election. I have known Mr. de la Garzas since he and I both served as Assistant District Attorneys for Dallas County. Mr. de la Garza is an 8th generation Texas native who is board certified in criminal law. In addition to his experience as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County, Mr. de la Garzas served many distinguished years as an Assistant United States Attorney in Texas. Please join me in welcoming M r. de la Garza as the Democratic candidate for Collin County District Attorney.

John Eric Reed Biography:

I am a lifelong Richardson, Texas Native. I am an enrolled member of the Choctaw nation. My family is 5 generation Texans of Reeds. I graduated Richardson High School in 1984. My father owned a business for the last 50 years in Dallas. My mother was a school teacher and home maker. I graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BS in Economics Finance, BA in Anthropology/Archeology and minor in Business Administration. I was awarded a work study fellowship scholarship to Iowa Law School at the University of Iowa. I worked as a clinical prosecutor in the Bernalillo County District Attorney in Albuquerque, NM. I was a special prosecutor to the Isleta and Laguna Pueblo Tribes in New Mexico. I served as the tribal prosecutor for the Cheyenne River Sioux Indian Nation over a jurisdiction 1/4 over the state of South Dakota. I was also the Special Assistant United States Attorney in South Dakota assigned to the Cheyenne River regarding non-Indian Criminal Activity on the Reservation. I have published articles on Criminal Law. I am a charter member of the Native American Law Enforcement Association. I have edited and published works in the field of Law and Terrorism with Dr. H. H. A. Cooper. I prosecuted the first murder case on the reservation by asserting concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal government since the case of Crow Dog and passage of the Federal Major Crimes Act in 1885. I then moved to Dallas and served as an Assistant Dallas County District Attorney. I then went into private practice of law specializing in criminal trial and appellate law since fall of 1996. I teach as a part time lecturer at UTD with Dr. Anthony Cooper in the topics of Terrorism, Negotiations, Organized Crime, Law & Ethics and Law and Psychiatry in the Inter-Disciplinary Studies Department. I have handled international, federal, military court martial cases and was selected as a Texas Super Lawyer Rising Star in 2003 and 2004. I live and practice criminal trial law and appellate law in Collin County since going into private practice.

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Contact: Rafael De La Garza
December 22, 2009

Former Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant Dallas County District Attorney Rafael De La Garza announces today that he has switched parties and filed for the Democratic nomination for Criminal District Attorney of Collin County. Earlier this morning, Mr. De La Garza submitted to the Collin County Republican Party a certificate of withdrawal of his previously submitted candidate filing for the Republican nomination for Collin County District Attorney.

Encouraged by his family, including his wife of 17 years, Marina, and their two sons, Rafael and Cristian, and a broad cross section of Collin County citizens, Mr. De La Garza is ready to work hard to seek justice for our rapidly growing county as Collin County Criminal District Attorney. “My family and I have felt welcomed and appreciated by the leadership of the Democratic Party of Collin County and I have decided to run as a law and order conservative Democratic candidate, who believes that justice is not a partisan matter.” Mr. De La Garza also said, “In my position as a Collin County elected official, I will make it clear that all of Collin County’s law-abiding citizens should have confidence that justice is being served.”

An Eighth-Generation Texan, De La Garza has strong and deep family roots in Texas going back to 1767, when his family established the Randado Ranch in South Texas. De La Garza’s interest in public service was sparked by his grandfather, also named Rafael De La Garza, who served as Sheriff for Jim Hogg County in the 1950’s. “Hearing my grandfather’s stories about law enforcement brought a sense of pride for me and my family,” he notes. “I believe he is the reason that I became attracted to public service at a young age.” After receiving his law degree, De La Garza worked as an Assistant District Attorney for Dallas County under Judge John Vance for more than three years. He was selected to attend the coveted “Top Gun” Prosecutorial School in Huntsville, Texas and successfully prosecuted hundreds of state criminal cases as well as over 250 criminal jury trials.

After his tenure at the Dallas District Attorney's office, De La Garza was named Assistant United States Attorney for the Western District where he was recognized for handling tough drug and gang prosecutions and for his leadership and keen ability in coordinating multi-agency federal investigations, serving in that capacity for three and a half years. De La Garza handled over 25 federal jury trials while a federal prosecutor.

In order to round out his experience, De La Garza decided to enter private practice in 2001. Having gained the experience of a prosecutor and the ability to see both sides of cases, De La Garza recognizes the right to legal counsel guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution for those that stand accused, and has defended hundreds of criminal cases. Mr. De La Garza considers the patriotic work of John Adams, one of our founding fathers and the second President of the United States, as a criminal defense lawyer in colonial America to be an example of how the criminal justice system can only function properly when all parties are adequately represented. “However, I look forward to being a prosecutor once again,” said De La Garza.

“It’s not an easy decision to eventually forego my successful law practice, which I will have to do upon the conclusion of this campaign,” De La Garza said, “but I strongly believe in public service, following my grandfather’s example, and serving as District Attorney is a good fit with my professional background.”

“I plan to use my experience as both a federal and a state prosecutor to uphold high standards in the office of District Attorney and seek justice as job number one,” said De La Garza.

As a conservative, Mr. De La Garza knows that government’s first responsibility is the protection of its citizens. When citizens do not feel safe in their homes and their neighborhoods little else matters. “As a Collin County resident, I care deeply about the issues facing our community and our citizens. As a father and husband, I also care deeply about protecting our families,” said Mr. De La Garza.
Additionally, Mr. De La Garza and his family seek to help safeguard the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, and he and his family actively support various charities in the community.

De La Garza acknowledges that campaigning for District Attorney and keeping up with the demands of his law practice will be a challenge. He added, however, that he is doing so with the full support of his family, and his track record running a successful private practice shows that the community has confidence in his abilities as a lawyer. “I will judiciously maintain my professional obligations to my current clients as I seek to represent Collin County citizens in prosecuting criminals.”

De La Garza is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and serves on the School Advisory Board for St. Mark Catholic School.

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--- End Press Releases from the Reed and De La Garza Campaigns ---

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