Monday, August 4, 2008

Ted Wilson Retires

Bureau Chief Ted Wilson is retiring from the Harris County District Attorney's Office. The Chronicle did a nice job of writing up an article on his career in today's edition, but unless you've worked with/for Ted, I don't know that they can do him justice.

On top of being an intellectual genius, who literally wrote the book on Search Warrants (and was always willing to patiently answer the hundreds of frantic calls from intake about them), Ted is a helluva a good trial lawyer. During my career at the Office, I watched him try three separate cases and in my opinion, Ted Wilson was the best male prosecutor that we had in the Office.

Since they say that to mimic someone is the most sincere form of flattery, Ted should feel extremely flattered by me, because I stole his material at every chance I got. He was not the dynamic and bombastic prosecutor. He was the common sense lecturer who spoke in an authoritative voice that everyone could trust.

My favorite line that I stole from Ted came during the C. Tom Zaratti case that he tried along with Denise Nassar (now Bradley). Zaratti was a defense attorney who frequented the Harris County Criminal Justice Center for years and years. Hollywood probably couldn't have written a more stereotypical sleazy lawyer with zero talent and zero morals. He was a hallway hustler who gladly accepted "couch fees", never went to trial, and thought of himself as the heir to the throne of Racehorse Haynes.

It was no real shock to anyone when Old Tom picked up a couple of child pornography charges.

Ted and Denise tried Tom and he was convicted. On punishment, Ted gave the line that I always loved to use on closing ever since hearing it from him.

"Look, if you give Tom Zaratti ten years and a $10,000 fine (the Maximum), you won't stop child pornography. I know that. But you will be able to go home knowing that you did everything that you can."

It's a simple line, but I think it says a lot about the job of being a prosecutor, in general. You get up every morning and you go in. You won't stop crime, but you'll have done everything you can.

For the past 34 years, Ted Wilson has been doing everything he can.

Job well done. Enjoy your retirement, Ted. You will be missed.


Anonymous said...

As the old guard leaves, they take so much with them. Ted is responsible for not only training Harris County prosecutors but prosecutors all over the state in the fine art of Search and Seizure.

Anyone who knows Ted could wax for days about his influence on the office and on several generations of prosecutors.

Is he going to work for the TDCAA? The anti-death penalty newspaper was not clear about that.

This is a tremendous loss for the Harris County DA's office and I cannot think of anyone (or several anyones) who could replace him anytime soon.


Seer said...

Ted is a heck of a guy and his wife is a class act, too. I hope they'll continue teaching and working with prosecutors for years to come.

Anonymous said...

Ted personifies class and he will be greatly missed by all. I can't begin to guess how many times I went in his office to ask search and siezure questions. He has the ability to cite caselaw (sometime even to the citation itself) off the top of his head. Unfortunately, no one will be able to replace him.

Anonymous said...

Ted was awesome. I learned more about search and seizure from him in one summer as an intern than I did in law school and barbri. I am saddened that he won't be around to teach me more when I start at the office in a few weeks.