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Law

Courtroom Lessons From John Creuzot

The Dallas County district attorney says you should always jingle the dead woman's keys.
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Billy Surface

In October, before early voting started, we had Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot on our EarBurner podcast. We had a pretty good chat. Then, after we turned off the mics, we had a great chat. Politicians can be that way. Reticent and guarded when speaking on the record, then foul-mouthed and freewheeling when they’re just shooting the breeze.

After we’d put our recording gear away, Creuzot told us a story about how he’d personally helped prosecute the mass murderer Bill Chemirmir after his first trial had ended with a hung jury. In a big city like Dallas, that’s rare. District attorneys don’t actually ride second chair and argue in front of a jury like Creuzot did. One of the things he told us about his strategy was that he wanted the jury to hear and see an important piece of physical evidence. And he wanted to keep them awake.

So after Creuzot won reelection in November, I called him up and had him tell that story on the record. He explained why he had his prosecutor jingle the house keys that belonged to one of Chemirmir’s victims. And I got him to tell three more stories about important cases he’d worked on. Those four stories—lessons from the courtroom—ran in the January issue of D Magazine, and they went online today.

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Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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