Over the last few months, I have had several individuals ask me whether or not it was true that I was retiring. Recently, this number has greatly increased. On Thursday, May 10th, during office hours, I received two calls from citizens wanting to know if it was true I was retiring and had two citizens ask me in person. Later that night, I was asked the same question by a friend while attending a ball game.
I have no idea why this rumor is being circulated. I do not know if someone is confused by Judge Landrith announcing that he will not seek another term or if it is someone who wants to run for district attorney and is seeking support by spreading misinformation. It is fairly common knowledge among the legal profession in the district that if I retired, my retirement benefits would be the same as my salary.
In other words, I could make the same amount of money staying home as I would by continuing to serve as district attorney. Perhaps it is this fact that made someone assume I am going to retire.
However, serving as a prosecutor is not about money. I went to law school to become a prosecutor. Upon graduating, I was offered two jobs- one as a prosecutor for $16,000 a year, and one in private practice for $25,000 a year. Obviously, I chose to become a prosecutor. Many times over the years, I have been offered the opportunity to go into private practice for more money than I was making as a prosecutor, but I have always declined those offers.
I consider being a prosecutor one of the highest callings in public service. On a regular basis, we handle matters which involve what happened on the worst day of someone’s life. I have been a prosecutor for over thirty-one years. When I consider the issue of retirement, I view it as a question of ‘Is there more I can do?’ In my early years as a prosecutor, I received training from some of the best prosecutors in the country. I now use that training, and the skills and knowledge I have developed over those thirty-one years, to counsel and advice my assistant district attorneys on a daily basis, and I continue to help prosecutors from across the state in their cases.
I have been asked to accept the nomination to serve as Chairman of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council for a one year term, beginning in August, 2014. This position is elected by the twenty-seven District Attorneys in the state. I agreed to accept that nomination. Obviously I would not agree to serve in that position if I planned on retiring.