Grayson County District Attorney Joe Brown wanted to become a lawyer for a variety of reasons, he said. But the greatest influence on his career choice may have been the trial of the man who shot his father, Judge David Brown.
In 1988, Brown’s father had retired from his position as 59th Court judge and was working as a private practice lawyer. One day a client shot him over a dispute, Brown said. David Brown lived as a paraplegic for two-and-a-half years before dying as a result of his injuries.
“I watched the prosecutor in that case, and that kind of directed me,” Brown said. “I wanted to have the kind of effect that that prosecutor did on my family and make things right.”
Brown grew up in Sherman. He obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas and later earned a law degree at Southern Methodist University. He then worked at law firms in Dallas and McKinney, but always had the goal of returning to Grayson County.
Brown returned to Sherman in the late 1990s, set up a private law practice and began his campaign for Grayson County Attorney (as it was then known — in 2005 the name of the office changed to “Grayson County District Attorney”) in the 2000 election.
Although Brown was only 30 years old, had never prosecuted before and was running against a 12-year incumbent, he won the race. Brown has now been in the office for 13 years, and said he has grown into the job.
The District Attorney’s Office consists of 40 employees, which include 13 assistant prosecutors. After police investigations, the District Attorney’s Office reviews a case to determine whether a law has been violated. These cases could be “anything from a traffic ticket appeal, up to a death-penalty, capital-murder case,” Brown said.
If they determine that a law was violated, then the office may choose to take the case to court. The DA’s Office represents the county in court.
“Prosecution is the greatest job in the world, because I am always on the right side of any case I’m involved with,” Brown said. “If I don’t believe in a case, I don’t file.”
Aside from prosecuting cases, Brown said an accomplishment he takes pride in is helping to start the Grayson County Children’s Advocacy Center. At the Advocacy Center, children who were victims of crimes can be interviewed by specially-trained police and psychiatrists in a non-threatening, child-friendly environment.
Brown is also a member of the Texas Juvenile Justice Board, the state oversight board for the juvenile prison system.
Brown said he enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He also likes to go hunting, as is evidenced by a deer trophy hanging on his office wall.
“I am very happy as the Grayson County District Attorney and will be happy to do this the rest of my life,” Brown said. “I know God has a plan for me and for all of us, what that is, I don’t know. I intend to be here in Grayson County helping people.”