ROCKWALL, TX (Sept. 1, 2021) Rockwall County District Attorney Kenda Culpepper has been named the 2021 “Texas Prosecutor of the Year” by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association and the State Bar of Texas Criminal Justice Section. The award will be presented at the TDCAA Annual Conference later this month.
While the award recognizes Culpepper’s career-long accomplishments, she has also been praised for her state-wide efforts to improve the criminal justice system during the COVID pandemic. As co-chair of a State Bar of Texas’ Presidential Task Force, Culpepper led a group of state-wide judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers in their endeavors to keep judicial proceedings moving forward while many – especially urban – jurisdictions were locked down.
“My congratulations to Kenda Culpepper,” said Buck Files, former President of the State Bar of Texas. “For years, she has been a leader in State Bar programs, and she certainly deserves this recognition. The citizens of Rockwall County are fortunate to have a prosecutor of her stature as their DA.”
Culpepper, who was the first woman to take office as a District Attorney in the history of North Texas, has also been a past Chair of the State’s Criminal Justice Section and Professionalism Committee, President of TDCAA, and Co-Founder and President of the Rockwall County Children’s Advocacy Center. She is currently the Texas delegate to the National District Attorneys Association, a state board member of the Texas Bar College and the Texas Bar Foundation, and she sits on state-wide task forces combatting issues including Family Violence, Child Abuse, and Human Trafficking.
“I can’t think of a more deserving recipient of this award,” said Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Judge David Newell. “Kenda is such a passionate advocate for justice who always leads by example. I am honored to call her my friend.”
John Raley, a renowned Houston lawyer who successfully fought to get Michael Morton (a man who spent 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit) exonerated, stated, “Kenda Culpepper is not only tough on crime, she is smart on crime – using all available resources to try to make sure the right man or woman is charged. Her ethics and professionalism make her a role model for all law enforcement officers.”
Culpepper has been named by Texas Monthly as a “Texas Super Lawyer”; by D Magazine as one of the “Best Lawyers in Dallas”; and by Forbes SkyRadio as one of “America’s Most Influential Women.” She is married to former Rockwall Mayor Jim Pruitt, and they have one daughter in Rockwall schools.
“I am so honored – and quite frankly overwhelmed – to be recognized by my peers in this way,” said Culpepper. “I love being a Texas prosecutor and am proud of the way my colleagues have worked together to further the pursuit of justice. I continue to be inspired by the courageous service of such passionate and hardworking individuals.”
“I’ve known Kenda for over twenty years, and she’s a very tough but fair prosecutor,” said Rockwall County District Judge Brett Hall. “She and her talented staff stay hard at work on behalf of Rockwall County residents, and I congratulate her on this well-deserved honor.”
Submitted press release, edited for publication in Blue Ribbon News.
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