Saturday, May 27, 2023

Why I changed hats: prosecutor to defense lawyer

I could never remember which side supposedly had the black hat or the white hat. 

I suspect, whichever side you are on you purport to be white-hatted. I'm good with that, except it means I swapped a white hat for a... white hat?!

Enough about hats.

Just over a year ago, two mates took me out for dinner. Rick Cofer and Geoffrey Puryear, former prosecutors with me. Good people who I knew and who I liked, and who asked me to join their criminal defense firm and have a little fun trying cases and helping people.

Could I say no to all that?!

This is Rick, he puts the Cofer in Cofer & Connelly. Some have said he looks like a giant man-baby, or an inflated infant, or a super-sized toddler, or a... anyway, I'd never say those things, I just report stuff.

And this is Geoffrey - we tried a case together many years ago and stacked the jury with women, on the theory that with his looks and my accent we couldn't lose. We didn't lose.

On a hot day you could fry an egg on that chin, after he shaved it, of course. Magnificent. 

Here I am now:

Anyway, the why of it.

As you may or may not know about me, I have always been somewhat defense-oriented. In those moments when ADAs are high-fiving each other after getting a 70-year prison sentence I used to cringe. I'm sure I've written before about how I hated sending people to prison, almost regardless of what they did, because.... well, it's prison. I got satisfaction for getting a verdict yes, but not so much from a prison sentence.

Anyway, over martinis and a delicious steak these lads made me an attractive offer. At the time I was in the juvenile division at the DA's office, my second stint there and was feeling like I might be there a while. And guess what never happens in juvie? Jury trials. It felt like an endless loop of unchallenging hearings, low-level crime (mostly, although I did have five... yes FIVE murder cases on my plate). 

Bottom line: I needed a change. A challenge. And these boys were offering me one.

I started May 1, 2022, and now I handle cases in Travis County and a fair few in Williamson County, everything from low-level drugs cases to murder. We take a team approach at C&C, especially on the bigger cases, and I think we have five or six clients charged with homicide, and several more with manslaughter. 

One of those cases is quite famous, actually, but I can't talk about it here... 

I plan to write a whole post about how jurisdictions, and prosecutors, are different depending on where they are. It's kind of crazy, to be honest, what's considered an easy dismissal one place is prosecuted to the max somewhere else. Anyway, more on that later.

For now, I'll tell you that I'm working harder than ever before, getting to know some very interesting people, and loving the folks I work with.

I've even become an occasional guest legal analyst on CourtTV!

And hey, if you need a lawyer from the best criminal defense firm in Austin (facts, see below), let me know. We got you.


  1. I’ve said it before and will say it again, it’s good to see you working for the good guys and not the evil empire anymore.

  2. That's kind of you to say, thank you.


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