New EDTX US Attorney – Brit Featherston

Congratulations! I like Brit because he makes the rest of us in the Baylor Law Class of ’92 look young.

He was appointed to the position by Attorney General Merrick Garland, and he took the oath of office from Chief US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap. “This is my home. Serving and protecting the great citizens of East Texas has been my priority for a long time and it will continue into the future,” he said in a news release that I copied from the Internet.

Featherston, who at 61 is much, much older than the rest of us in our class, is now the chief federal law enforcement official in the Eastern District of Texas. The district includes 43 counties stretching from the Oklahoma border to the Gulf of Mexico. The Eastern District of Texas includes six fully staffed law enforcement offices in Beaumont, Plano, Tyler, Sherman, Texarkana, and Lufkin with 120 employees, including 60 prosecutors.

Since joining the office in 1996, Featherston has served in the capacity of First Assistant U.S. Attorney, Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney, and supervisory U.S. Attorney. He was also appointed Acting United States Attorney in September 2016 and served in that capacity for 17 months. In January 2018, Featherston became the Justice Attaché for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. In addition to prosecuting high-profile cases such as the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr., in Jasper County, Featherston has been instrumental in crisis management operations during numerous Southeast Texas hurricanes, as well as assisting in the establishment of a command post and the investigation and prosecution of crimes related to the crash of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003 in Lufkin.

Present at Brit’s swearing-in was former United States Attorney Malcolm Bales and his brother, Tom Featherston, by his side as he took his oath of office from Judge Gilstrap. Wife, Amy, and son, Ben, joined the ceremony by video from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston where Ben has been in ICU since Sep. 30th recovering from a sudden illness. Ben is a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin and daughter, Anna, is a senior at Texas A&M University in College Station.

We were always suspicious of Brit in law school because his brother Tom was one of the professors, so I am happy to see has led a productive life after all.

Congratulations again, Brit. We are so happy for you, and wish all the best for you and your family.

2021 EDTX Bench Bar Begins – Dedication to Clyde M. Siebman

The 2021 bench/bar kicked off this afternoon with both a posthumous dedication to Clyde Siebman, who is remembered as the founder of both the EDTX bar association and the annual conference.

Chief Judge Gilstrap welcomed attendees and announced that registrations are up over 100 from the conference’s prior high, with over 500 attendees at this year’s conference.

We just started the first panel on remote hearings, and for my sins I have been ordered to comoderate the last panel of the day, a panel on lawyers talking to the media. It’s been said the last session before lunch is a terrible slot – actually the worst slot is the slot that is between a roomful of lawyers and the open bar at tonight’s reception.

Seriously, it’s going to be a lot of fun (the panel, not the bar) – Eric Findlay and I will be talking to Wes Hill, Tom Melsheimer and Morgan Chu about how to interact with the media about cases.