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Assistant County Attorney Stu Madison retires

Cleburne Times-Review - 5/3/2023

May 2—What do you get when you cross a Texas A&M Aggie with a Texas Tech University School of Law graduate? Apparently a lawyer bound and determined to serve Johnson County.

But, after 27 years and 10 months service, Johnson County Assistant Attorney Stu Madison now moves on to the next chapter of his life.

As a lawyer, the Fort Worth native, said prosecution was all he ever wanted to do, and all he ever did, and all of it in Johnson County.

"When I was at Texas A&M I took an American jurisprudence class," Madison said of his decision to pursue law. "The at that time county attorney of Brazos County, Jim Kuvobiak, taught the class. A giant bear of a man, a former San Antonio police officer, he preached every class about how prosecution was the light of truth. I bought into it and went to law school to become a prosecutor."

Being married and a father by the time he entered Texas Tech's law school made it easy to focus on studies and grades, Madison said.

"As soon as I got my law license, I shotgunned resumes to major Texas metropolitan areas and the surrounding counties," Madison said.

Tarrant County showed interest and Madison was on his third interview there when he heard from Johnson County Attorney Bill Moore.

"I met Bill at the old Johnson County Courthouse and he offered me a job on the spot," Madison said.

One hurdle remained.

"My wife wasn't 100 percent thrilled that I took a job without asking her first," Madison said with a laugh. "But I knew that a job in hand close to where I grew up was not something to turn down and, I guess it worked out."

Having tried 140 jury trials, Madison said he's thoroughly enjoyed the ride during which he's worked cases ranging from Child Protective Services issues to juvenile cases, mental commitments and protective orders. Primarily though he's focused on DWI and other cases.

"Got convictions on some people who needed convictions," Madison said. "Got rehabilitative programs for people who needed those. I'm still a huge believer in the programs that a DWI probation offers to prevent them from slipping onto recidivism. I think we were the first county to do mandatory blood draws in this state, and that was a good fight worth fighting."

Working with law enforcement officers, Madison said when asked his favorite part of the job.

"Really enjoyed that aspect," Madison said. "And I've always thought this was my path and enjoyed working to do some good for the community. I did not mind battling in the courtroom. I knew prosecution was going to be a trial job and embraced that."

Changing attitudes toward law enforcement, Madison answered when asked his least favorite part of the job.

"The lack of respect being afforded to law enforcement," Madison said. "There's been a real downturn in juries and how they feel law enforcement does their jobs."

Several reasons factor in, Madison said, including the so-called O.J. Simpson trial and "CSI" effects.

"Just watching juries talk about their bad experiences with law enforcement," Madison said. "Some of those are deserved. But overall just seeing the lack of support for law enforcement over the past several years. That's not as severe in Johnson County as in major cities, but we still see some of those effects down here."

Moving on

Madison said he'll miss the courtroom and his fellow attorneys but added that it's time for a change.

"I've been feeling for a while now a calling to do something different, but something where I can continue to work for the good guys," Madison said.

Other than to confirm that he plans to remain in Johnson County and active in the community, Madison remained mum on his new career plans but said he will reveal them soon.

Moore joined other courthouse and county officials as did family members and friends on Friday at the Guinn Justice Center to bid Madison adieu.

"This is a difficult day because Stu's been here a long time," Moore said. "He's prosecuted a lot of cases, built up a lot of experience and I certainly appreciate all he's done through the years and wish him well on his retirement."

Madison successfully prosecuted gaming machine establishments, which popped up in Johnson County in the early 2000s fighting to label them as gambling devices. The owners appealed, in one case all the way to the Texas Supreme Court, which ultimately upheld the ruling of Johnson County Court at Law No. 1.

"That case is still good law today," Moore said.

Madison joked that he promises not to open any gaming establishments in the county.

Johnson County Assistant Attorney Jim Simpson joined Moore in honoring Madison for his service.

"Stu's done a great job and a tremendous amount of work," Simpson said. "He's a great lawyer, a great friend and we will all miss him."


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