Since graduating from law school in 2005, Franklin McDonough has dedicated himself to swinging the hammer of justice in every case he’s tried in his 18-year career as a prosecutor, 12 of those years being served here in Gray County as the District Attorney.
Hailing from Plainview, TX, McDonough moved to Pampa after graduating law school and served as the Assistant District Attorney for two and a half years on what was called a Third-Year Bar Card, meaning he was allowed to work under a licensed attorney while his bar exam results were pending.
He tried his first jury trial under the Third-Year Bar Card in June of 2005 and got licensed in November of the same year.
As DA in the 31st Judicial District, McDonough serves Gray, Wheeler, Lipscomb, Hemphill and Roberts counties.
While some attorneys may have general knowledge in different aspects of law, McDonough’s main focus and priority is criminal law which allows him to solely dedicate himself and apply his expertise to that one crucial area that effects the community as a whole.
“This is my passion and my focus,” he said. “Criminal law is what I know, it’s what I’m passionate about. It is my knowledge base and it is my skill set.”
The week after he got licensed, he tried his second jury trial in Lipscomb County for one of, if not the most, difficult case an attorney can face; sexual assault of a child.
As an attorney for nearly 20 years, McDonough has tried a staggering number of these horrific cases, and although some may believe that one can be desensitized to gruesome details over time, the heart-wrenching reality remains the same.
When inquired about the impact on his mental health during these types of cases, McDonough’s answer was honest and humbling.
“I can’t answer that question because that question takes some extreme vulnerability that is a battle for every single person in my position in law enforcement, in counseling children and in every member of my staff,” he said.
“It is something that I take very seriously and very passionately. I could tell you that you never get over it. As a man who is 6’3, telling a juvenile that they have to talk about things they should never know, you never get over that.”
Along with that passion, McDonough is a mountain that can’t be moved when it comes to the decisions he has made over the span of his career and will continue to stand by them.
“There’s a lot about the job that is way deeper than politics or budgets or signs or Facebook. I don’t have a Facebook page and never will. I don’t have Snapchat or Instragram because I’ve seen what adults can do to children and I’ve prosecuted multiple cases on it. I stand behind every decision I’ve made on every single case,” he said.
“I understand what it means to know that my decision doesn’t just effect a witness, a victim or just a defendant. I know what it means when it says that justice isn’t only about one party.”
“I will stand every single time on my decision; I won’t blame any other official and I won’t blame any other agency and I won’t blame any other officer or witness. I made the decision.”
McDonough was sworn in as District Attorney on January 1, 2013 for Gray County and on the same day was given a murder case that had taken place the night before on New Year’s Eve- a case that still sits with him and serves as a reminder of what the job means to him.
“It’s easy to ask me how many cases have you won? How many cases have you lost? And I’ll say I’ve never won any and I’ve never lost any. Because I can’t change a single thing that happened.”
“It’s hard to understand the passion I have in just wanting to do my job without having to have the accolades, without having to change the way I do my job to fit someone else’s agenda. I just want to take the facts of a case, work that case to the best of my ability and do the job,” McDonough reiterated.
“I didn’t come into this office as a stepping stone. I don’t want a pat on the back or the accolades. I don’t want to be on the page when the good times come. I’m big enough to take the statements when the bad times are here. But I don’t want the show. I just want to do my job.”
Voting will begin on February 20 through March 1 at the Gray County Courthouse, located at 205 N. Russell in Room 104. The last day to request a ballot by mail is Friday, February 23.