Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

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April 17, 2013

Former DA, state rep., defense attorney dies at age 92

JACKSONVILLE — A former district attorney and state representative from Jacksonville – who as a defense attorney served his clients avidly and faithfully – died Monday. He was 92.

Hulon Brasier Brown held a law degree for over 60 years. During the latter part of his career he railed against what he perceived as systemic corruption by drug task forces.

Elmer Beck worth, former Cherokee County district attorney and current Angelina County assistant district attorney, said Brown was famous in Cherokee County. He remembers being taken to see Brown prosecute a case when he was just a child,

“There was this case he tried when I was 5 or 6 years old and my dad was on the jury panel,” Beck worth said. “My mother brought me to the courtroom and I couldn't understand a lot of what was going on but it was packed. That case is still talked about today in Alto among the older folks.”

Brown was many things: A husband of 66 years, a father, grandfather, great-grandfather, lawyer and  cattle farmer. He passed away peaceful on Monday, according to the obituary from Autry Funeral Home.

He was born in nearby Griffin to George and Sallie Brown on July 8, 1920. He graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1937, attended Lon Morris College for two years and ultimately obtained a degree in Business Administration from the University of Texas.

Entering Midshipman’s school during the outbreak of World War II, Brown served as gunnery officer aboard a destroyer escort in both the Pacific and Atlantic.  

When he returned from the war, he married Elizabeth “Betty” Sames of Laredo in 1947, completed law school and was admitted to the Bar in 1951.  While at the University of Texas he was a member of the national championship debate team and the Delta Theta Phi law fraternity.

After getting his law degree, he served with distinction in the Texas Legislature as State Repre-sentative in 1953.

He also served as County Attorney for Midland County.

He returned to Jackson-ville in 1957. In 1961, Brown served eight years as District Attorney for the Second Judicial District comprised of Cherokee, Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties.  

Afterward, Brown became an untiring advocate for “countless souls who found their way to his law office,” according to the obituary.

“He was a friend of both great and small but always seemed most at home with those of humble estate,” the obituary stated.

In 2005, Brown testified to the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee hearing yesterday regarding the state's  drug task force system.

Brown cited several scandalous cases involving the Dogwood Trails drug task force, which arrested over 70 African Americans in an undercover drug sting in the early 2000s, according to the “Grits For Breakfast” political blog.

Brown took particular exception as a defense attorney to certain drug possession cases based on positive field tests performed by a task force officer that later turned out to be false.

Beckworth said he knew of Brown as a younger man but didn't really know him until he started practicing law.

“I've known Halon as long as I've practiced law, and that goes back 33 years,” Beck worth said.

Beck worth said Brown was very active, especially in the church, until his health started to fail him.

According to his obituary, Brown's gift of storytelling and sense of humor made him welcome at many a café table and as a public speaker.  

His love of acting led to being named State’s Best Male Actor in 1939 while at Lon Morris College studying under the legendary Zula Pearson. He later played roles in productions at the Cherokee Civic Theater.

He played softball well past the age at which most men have retired to the bleachers, and he enjoyed watching his great-grandchildren play baseball in his later years.  He was a member of Central Baptist Church.

 

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