Will Dixon sworn-in as District Attorney to serve Thompson’s unexpired term

February 22, 2019

By Michael Kormos — Corsicana Daily Sun

Navarro County District Attorney Will Dixon sworn-in by Judge Lagomarsino

The Texas Senate confirmed Wednesday February 20 Navarro County’s new Criminal District Attorney Will Dixon.  He was sworn in by 13th District Court Judge James Lagomarsino in front of his family, elected and appointed officials, the bar association and law enforcement officers.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed Will Dixon on January 28 as the Navarro County Criminal District Attorney to fill the unexpired seat left vacant following the passing of R. Lowell Thompson.

Dixon released the following statement Wednesday prior to the ceremony:

“Dear Esteemed Citizens of Navarro County, my appointment arises from tragic circumstances.  R. Lowell Thompson, the former Criminal District Attorney, died suddenly and tragically on October 24, 2018.  He died much too early; he was in the prime of his life with a loving wife of 20 years and two children he adored.  The Thompson family has suffered tremendously.  They are pillars in our community.  R. Lowell Thompson epitomized quiet dignity.  He meted out justice fairly without regard to wealth, race, or religion.

Attempting to fill the shoes of R. Lowell Thompson will be no easy task.  I am humbled by the Governor’s faith in me.  Likewise, I am grateful for the Thompson family for embracing my appointment.  It means a lot to me.

Qualifications:

Graduated from Baylor Law School where I was a research assistant of the former president of Baylor University, Bill Underwood.  I also interned for Judge Allan Mayfield, who presided over the 74th Judicial District of Texas.

I have been a practicing attorney since 2005, and I am licensed in three states.  For the first six years of my career, I practiced principally in commercial litigation, focusing on real estate and construction.  I conducted and defended approximately one hundred depositions and argued motions in both federal and state courts.  I was the lead counsel in a breach of contract trial where my clients prevailed, and they received all their attorney fees.

In 2008, I was one of three finalists for two positions to be an Assistant United States Attorney in Alpine, Texas.  Although I yearned to accept the position, the timing was not right to move my young family to remote Texas.  Three years later, I convinced my loving wife to let me follow my dream of working as a prosecutor.  We moved to Del Rio, Texas where I tried 15 cases as a first chair trial attorney, including three sexual assault cases, (one forcible rape by a juvenile against a juvenile), an indecency with a child case, and two aggravated assaults.  I also tried several other cases as a second chair trial attorney.  I presented hundreds of cases to the grand juries for the 63rd and 83rd districts of Texas.

Since my sojourn in Del Rio, Texas, my family and I relocated to beautiful Navarro County.  In Navarro County, I served as a felony prosecutor and as the misdemeanor chief.  I supervised the misdemeanor prosecutors, providing them guidance as they began their careers.  I have tried approximately 50 jury trials in Navarro County.  While the majority of these have been felony cases, I have also tried a few misdemeanor cases wherein I supervised the newer misdemeanor attorneys.  Additionally, I have worked on appeals and helped supervise the county commissioners in their executive sessions.

I know all the heads of law enforcement in Navarro County, and I have their respect.  Several of them have formally recommended me for this position, and I appreciate their confidence in me.

Goals: 

My first aim as the newly-appointed District Attorney will be getting the office back to a new normal.  Dealing with the death of a great boss and friend has been stressful for all of us.  Wondering whether we’ll have jobs in the near future, and who the new boss will be, has only added to the stress.

R. Lowell Thompson implemented sound policies to help administer justice fairly.  I do not intend to stray far from the principles he set.  I plan to honor his vision.

Nevertheless, I also would like to emphasize civility and professionalism in the office.  The District Attorney’s office needs to be beyond reproach.  We should wear white hats.  We seek justice.  We can vigorously seek justice and disagree with opposing counsel without being disagreeable or condescending.  Civility and professionalism breed confidence in the judicial system.

Opinion Concerning the Role of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office:

I’m not fond of the old legal maxim ‘ignorance of the law is no excuse.’  I would prefer the maxim be ‘willful ignorance of the law is no excuse.’  Criminal laws should be clear and easily understandable.  When life and liberty are on the line, citizens should inherently know when they are violating the law.

Navarro County District Attorney Will Dixon was sworn-in February 20, 2019

Accordingly, it is the duty of the legislative branch to write clear laws, and prosecutors should enforce the laws as written.  Prosecutors should not torture a statute’s interpretation to obtain the result they want.  Sometimes the facts of a case might not meet the elements of any statute (or only meet the elements of a misdemeanor statute).  This can leave some prosecutors feeling as if a criminal defendant will escape the punishment he or she deserves, but prosecutors already possess great discretion.  Prosecutors should not be constructively making new laws with creative interpretation of statutes and case law.  Justice should be their foremost concern.  Lawmaking should be left to the legislature.

At times there is a place for mercy in our judicial system.  I will expect prosecutors who work for me to display wisdom, knowing when to be merciful and when to exact harsh justice.”

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