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Christian to step down as DA

Longtime prosecutor returning to private practice
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

After 21 years in the District Attorney’s office – 17 of them as DA – Rob Christian is stepping down to defend instead of prosecute those accused of crimes.

He is returning to private practice. His last day in the district attorney’s office will be Friday, March 1, Christian told the HCN on Tuesday.

The governor will appoint a replacement to fulfill the remainder of his term, Christian said.

The DA position will again be on the ballot in 2020. If the person appointed by the governor wants to continue on as district attorney, they will have to be elected to the post. Other candidates will be able to compete as well.

Christian said that he is “really proud of the work that I’ve done” but said he is ready for a change.

He said he has purchased a lot at Ables and Pearl streets near the Hood County Justice Center and will build a new office there.

The wooden building that currently is located at the site will serve as Christian’s temporary office while the new building is being built behind it. Once construction is completed, he said, the older building will be razed.

Christian said that his 78-year-old father David Christian, who until recently was the county court-at-law judge in Bosque County, will drive to Granbury from his home in Meridian a couple of days a week to help him out.

“I grew up in his law office, and I always thought that I would practice (law) there,” Christian said.

Instead, though, the Baylor Law School graduate ended up in Hood County where, in 1997, he started working as an assistant district attorney.

In February of 2002 Christian was appointed district attorney by then-Gov. Rick Perry following the resignation of Richard Hattox. At that time he was the youngest DA in Texas.

It is not unusual for attorneys who spend years as prosecutors to become defense attorneys. Christian said he feels confident he will be able to make the transition and defend clients with the same aggressiveness that he used as a prosecutor.

“I always viewed myself as a lawyer,” Christian said, adding that for years his client has been “the state of Texas.”

Christian said that, even though it will be the governor who appoints his replacement, the governor’s office may seek his opinion. If so, he will recommend one of his assistants, 31-year-old Ryan Sinclair.

Sinclair is the only one among the four assistants in that office who has expressed an interest in becoming district attorney, Christian said.

The other ADAs are: Megan Chalifoux, a trial prosecutor who also handles appeals; Tiffany Van Slyke, who prosecutes Child Protective Services (CPS) cases; and David Tucker, who has an office at the Law Enforcement Center and handles intake, helping to process the cases of jail inmates.

Christian said he feels that Sinclair can be trusted to always do what he feels is right. He also stated that he has confidence that Sinclair can handle authority.

PUBLIC SERVANT

During his time as district attorney, Christian served as the primary trial prosecutor of the county’s most serious felony cases. He personally prosecuted all local crimes committed against children.

By his count, he has prosecuted more than 500 felony cases.

Christian was instrumental in starting the Paluxy River Children’s Advocacy Center. He and his lead investigator, Robert Young, started the Hood County Crimes Against Children Task Force, which investigated all sex crimes and many physical crimes committed against children in Hood County.

PRIVATE CITIZEN

After his own appointment by the governor, Christian went on to run unopposed for election to a full term and then ran unopposed for reelection four times.

Although he has spent years as an elected official, he said that has no plans to seek elected office again, including as district judge.

Longtime District Judge Ralph Walton earlier this month began what he said will be his final term.

Christian said that he is committed to a new chapter as a lawyer in private practice. He is grateful, though, for the time he has spent as Hood County’s chief prosecutor.

“It’s been a great opportunity for me,” he said.

cruz@hcnews.com | 817-573-7066, ext. 258

 

 

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