The Reluctant Prosecutor

Is Randy Reynolds the worst district attorney in Texas? Or is he just giving the people of Reeves, Ward, and Loving counties the kind of justice they want?
Randy Reynolds, photographed on August 21, 2008.
Photograph by Van Ditthavong

There are some men in this world,” Harper Lee wrote in To Kill a Mockingbird, “who were born to do our unpleasant jobs for us.” And there are some who were not. Among this latter group is Randy Reynolds, who for the past dozen years has held the unpleasant job of district attorney for the hardscrabble 143rd Judicial District, which covers the rural West Texas counties of Ward, Reeves, and Loving. During Reynolds’s tenure, peace officers in the 143rd have brought hundreds of cases of drug trafficking, theft, assault, robbery, and sundry other felonies to the district attorney’s office for prosecution, and Reynolds, exercising his discretion as the people’s representative, has declined to prosecute the vast majority of them. He has done this, depending on whom you ask, because he is stupid, or lazy, or trying to save the

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