Don Smyth Retires from HCDA

Career prosecutor Don Smyth retired from the Harris County District Attorney's Office today, putting the end to a 33 year career as a prosecutor.

Now, as we all know from articles here and here, that this is by no means the last we've heard of our friend, Don. He's still actively campaigning as the Republican candidate for County Court at Law # 13.

And although I hope we are about to see the beginning of Don's "new career" come January 1st, I wanted to tell him congratulations on 33 years at his old job.

Don is a man of the highest character. Although he was more than eligible to retire when the Gang Who Couldn't Shoot Straight rode into town, he didn't leave. Even when they demoted him from Bureau Chief to Division Chief, he remained loyal to the people who had served under him and stayed to act as a buffer between them and the folks who knew what they were doing.

Unlike some of the other prosecutors (who in Don's position who would sell out their prosecutors to be "team players" with the New Administration), Don was known to always have his prosecutors' backs. He was a leader where being a leader wasn't exactly deemed a good quality after January 1st, 2009.

And the loyalty he showed his fellow prosecutors was returned, when in late December of last year, he decided to take on a campaign for Judge that pitted him against Lykos' Office Darling, who had been prepping her campaign for two years priors. The real prosecutors of the Office rallied around Don's campaign was able to pull off an amazing upset.

Quite frankly, it restored my faith in the idea that sometimes (just sometimes) character still matters in politics. It also showed that Don had extreme courage.

They don't make leaders like Don Smyth anymore. The District Attorney's Office was lucky to have him for nearly a third of a century.

Here's to hoping we'll have him on the Bench for many years to come.

In the meantime, Happy Retirement, Don!


Anonymous said…
Well crap! I didn't know that or I would have gone over and said goodbye!!!
Anonymous said…
Congratulations, Don. Thank you for a job well done and for your continued service to what is left of the justice system in Harris County.

It is sad to see the mass exodus continue both from the DA's office and the bench. However, things do happen for a reason and I trust that Harris County is ready to make things right again come November. There is a great crop of candidates for judge on several ballots and that is, by far, more important in the long run than the postion of DA which will be be drastically changed with the next big election.

Don, Murray was correct!! They dont make 'em like you anymore. You, like so many others who have recently left, were an asset to the DA office and the county. Thank you and enjoy your new found freedom from "The Gang Who Can't Shoot Straight". Good luck in your quest for the CCT #13 and rest assured, you DO HAVE THE SUPPORT of many here at the office.

You are a good man who will be missed, but we look forward to working with you on another level come January.

If I could put my name here, you know I would, but I have a mortgage to pay and a family.

-Misd. Prosecutor
Anonymous said…

First, I'm sorry you left so quietly. In the past when someone with your years of service would leave, there would be at least a party on the 6th floor.

Second, I don't believe you are actually leaving for good as I feel strongly that you will be elected judge.

Thank you for all your years of dedicated service. You will be missed at the DA's Office.
Anonymous said…
I was privileged to work with Don in a number of different assignments. He is a class act, a straight shooter, and he always looked out for the people who worked under him.

It is indeed a disgrace that a man who served the citizens of Harris County for so many years, who put so many dangerous men behind bars and on death row, would be allowed to leave without so much as an obligatory plaque ceremony. But that is the way it is now with the current regime.

Don will make a great judge and I look forward to seeing him on the bench as he enters another phase of a distinguished career. Hook'em Horns, Don!

Mike Trent
Anonymous said…
Don has demonstrated his character and integrity by not compromising his morals while working under the new administration. I am very proud of the way he has handled difficult situations and yet has not lost his sense of humor.

Don was given a going away breakfast by the administration complete with a plaque presentation by Lykos. While it wasn't a party like those of yesteryear, at least some attempt was made to send him off with some fanfare.

Don, you will be a judge come January, and I will look forward to calling you "Your Honor". It is well deserved.
Thank you Don for your courage, integrity and passion for doing what is right BECAUSE it the right thing to do.

The Lykos/Chow regime might not appreciate Don's work ethic and class but Harris County certainly was the better for it.

Don Smyth will be an honorable judge because he is an honorable man NOT because someone is forced to address him with judicial deference.

Good luck and God's speed my old friend.
Anonymous said…
Smyth vs. Leitner: A Tale of Two Lives

Don Smyth spent his life doing what he believed was right. His decisions on high profile cases were hard to make but he stood by what he believed was right. He reluctantly entered the political arena because he knew it was the right thing to do.

Don Smyth won because he is a winner.

JIm Leitner is the exact opposite of Don Smyth.
Anonymous said…
The buy in for the small joint judicial campaign is 7500. It would sure be nice if those extolling Don's virtues would put their money where their mouths are? You are going to give him a complex that others don't want him part of the campaign. All this Rosenthal stuff is just a bunch of hooey.
Anonymous said…
Where do we sent a contribution check for Don's campaign?
Anonymous said…
I dont know if his opponent could have done any better but I can ASSURE you, this man has neglected justice in his courtroom. And I will forever hold you responsible for the miscarriage of justice at CC13. You are a disgrace to the words "Honor" and "justice" and "itegrity", because in my opinion, this man has ZERO of all of the above. Even the smallest most insignificant case should be treated with OBJECTIVITY and FAIRNESS and JUSTICE. None of which you posses. None of which I witnessed in your court. And as the gatekeeper you are, you are responsible for the actions that led my life into the abyss. You had the power and ability to see the truth but instead you ARE blind and your name WILL be marred. You deserve no honor. You do not deserve what you have been given. In your courtroom you may have judged me guilty initially but you judged yourself guilty eternally.

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