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Local prosecutor receives elite certification

Montgomery County Assistant District Attorney Joel Daniels is now board certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS), which is “authorized by the Texas Supreme Court to certify attorneys as experts in a particular area of law,” according to a Monday statement released by the office of District Attorney Brett Ligon.

To become certified, an attorney must practice in the same area of law full-time for five years, complete an extensive peer evaluation process and pass a rigorous six-hour written examination.

Daniels is one of only 847 attorneys to achieve the distinction, out of more than 70,000 licensed attorneys statewide, Ligon said.

Daniels graduated summa cum laude from Southern Methodist University in 1993 with degrees in English and Philosophy and went on to complete a law degree from Harvard University in 1996 and joined the Montgomery County District Attorney’s office in 2001.

He is currently the District Court Chief in Judge Fred Edwards 9th District Court.  Daniels has been the prosecutor in over 60 jury trials and handled several complex cases including obtaining a recent life sentence in the David Earl Cooksey, Jr. case in December of last year.

Some other high profile cases Daniels prosecuted were:

  • Oct. 2009- Online Solicitation of Minor case of Jody James Malone, who received the maximum sentence of 20 years per count after pleading guilty to two charges of online solicitation regarding interaction with a pair of 11-year old boys he met at a skating rink where he worked.
  • April 2009 – Online Solicitation of a Minor case of Timothy Eugene Thompson, a registered sex offender who was convicted on two counts and sentenced to life in prison on both charges.
  • Feb. 2009- Intoxication manslaughter / intoxication assault trial of Amanda Lynn Doyle who struck a family’s vehicle head-on, killing the father and seriously injuring the mother and their three children. Doyle was convicted and received the maximum sentence on all five charges.
  • Nov. 2008- Capital Murder trial of Terry Don Wilkerson who was convicted and received life without parole for his part in the murder of his girlfriend’s elderly godparents during a burglary in their home.
  • Aug. 2007 – Aggravated Sexual Assault trial of registered sex offender James Milton Roberts, Jr. who received two life sentences for repeatedly sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

“Mr. Daniels has always represented the high degree of professionalism that we expect from our employees at the District Attorney’s Office,” he said. “We are very proud that he was able to achieve this prestigious distinction for his knowledge of and dedication to the field of criminal law.”

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