Not that I would pimp my former boss for my current one, but my old colleague and pal John Council at Texas Lawyer brings word that ex-Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill has risen from the politically expired, changed spots and begun life anew as a criminal defense attorney with the premier Dallas criminal defense boutique of Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl. Well, maybe not in those exact words.
This is not the first role-reversal for Hill. He began his legal life as a cuff-'em-and-stuff-'em baby prosecutor under Henry Wade, then morphed into a high-dollar white-collar criminal defense attorney. Then came his two-term, sometimes controversial (fake drugs, fake drugs!) stint as Dallas County District Attorney, and now he's is back with many of his former prosecutorial buds as they seek truth and justice on behalf of the citizen accused.
I first noticed Hill's return last month when he, along with two other prominent prosecutorial types, penned a letter of endorsement for Jon Cole, a political unknown and Rick Perry staffer, who is running in the Republican primary for Texas State Representative in Plano's District 67 against incumbent Jerry Madden, the chair of the House Corrections Committee.
Even though Madden made Texas Monthly's Best Legislator list for his work in the 2007 session -- which included an agenda that helped enact drug court legislation, provided for diversion of more non-violent felons from prison and appropriated more than $200 million for drug and alcohol addiction programs for inmates -- Hill et al. brought out that those same shop-worn clichés that red-meat prosecutors have historically used to whip up the populace and the legislature into a law-and-order frenzy. He and his co-endorsers accused Madden of being "soft on crime" and of being a "spokesman for decriminalization and ACLU-supported criminal justice agendas."
Perhaps now that Hill has gone over to the defense side of the docket, he will see the benefit of these Madden-sponsored rehabilitative tools for his new criminal clientèle. And perhaps this will cause him to rethink his endorsement of Cole -- or, at least, tamp down his rant against Madden. --Mark Donald