Irish-born female lawyer named Texas 'Prosecutor of the Year'
Tackled Texas Mexican mafia despite numerous threats against her
Irish-born Mary Green, now an assistant district attorney in the U.S., was named Prosecutor of the Year by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association.(TDCAA)
Green, whose tough reputation, was earned in part by securing death sentences and life terms for some of the highest-ranking members of the Texas Mexican Mafia, rise to success began from humble beginnings.
Green was born in Sligo Ireland to a teenage mother who was raped and who gave her up for adoption.
Given the nickname "Mean Mary" for her tough-as-nails reputation, Green's recognition was a rare honor. The award is given to one attorney chosen out of nearly 2,900 prosecutors who work in state district courts and county courts-at-law in Texas. It's even rarer for a non-elected one to be chosen, W. Clay Abbott of the TDCAA told My San-Antonio.
"This was an exception," he said.
The award recognizes a prosecutor's body of work, and Green's 25 year career at the Bexar County District Attorney's Office, includes more than 100 serious felony jury verdicts and a conviction rate she estimates at about 95 percent.
“Mary is a prosecutor’s prosecutor,” wrote First Assistant District Attorney Cliff Herberg, who joined boss Susan Reed in nominating Green earlier this year. “She is considered in San Antonio to be a prominent expert, if not the pre-eminent expert, on the investigation and prosecution of major gang crime.
“As you can imagine,” Herberg continued, “she has received threats and intimidation tactics by some of the most dangerous criminals in the community.”
Green is quick to dismiss the dangers.
“I’m always very conscious of my surroundings, but I refuse to live in fear,” she said. “That sort of defeats the purpose.”
After reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" at age 10, she knew she wanted to be a lawyer, a dream she considered unobtainable since there were no lawyers in her family.
However, after earning two degrees in Austin and then working as a teacher -- and a waitress to make ends meet -- she decided she wasn't cut out for a career in education. She then moved to San Antonio to pursue a law degree at St. Mary's University.
Her stop in San Antonio was meant to be temporary, but then she interned at the district attorney's office.
“Being rather mouthy, I expressed my displeasure at spending my hard-earned tuition money on filing forms,” she remembered with a laugh, explaining that a veteran prosecutor working a murder trial decided to teach her a lesson. “He threw me into the courtroom and made me question a police officer on direct examination. I thought I was going to have a stroke, but I was hooked.”
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