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Tom Moore, Jr. – Of Counsel

Tom Moore, Jr.
Primary Practice Areas:
Criminal Defense
Felonies and Misdemeanors

Estate Law
Planning, Probate, and Wills

Education:

Doctorate of Jurisprudence (1943)
Baylor University School of Law – Waco, Texas

Bar Admissions:
State Bar of Texas (1943)
United States Western District of Texas (1948)
United States Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit (1964)

Falling Into the Law

As an undergraduate student at Baylor University during the depression of the 1930s, I did not have the luxury of being able to select my classes based on my personal interests alone. Rather, my class schedule was limited to whatever early morning and/or evening classes were available in order to accommodate my work schedule. After the first few semesters of this school-work-school schedule, my advisor informed me that I would not have enough credits to major in anything other than the pre-law program. And so, this was how I initially decided to pursue a career in law: “absolutely accidentally”. Although my initial entry into the field was not originally part of my lifelong plan, practicing law on local, district, and state levels has evolved through the years into my personal and professional mission.

Tom Moore, Jr. – Lawyer

As of 2012, I have provided—and continue to provide—what has been described by my (longtime) assistant as “fair and genuine” legal counsel to hundreds of clients for over half a century. From my earliest days as Assistant District Attorney for McLennan County in the 1940s, I have had experience working with all types of criminal cases, ranging from DWI cases to capital murder cases.

My public service career in the McLennan County District Attorney. In 1952, I was elected to the office of District Attorney for McLennan County in 1952 continued in that office until 1958. During my tenure as District Attorney, one of my cases (The Harry Washburn Murder Trial) was broadcast live across the nation in 1955. It was the first live televised trial in the United States. While this case is perhaps my most well-known/famous case, I am most proud of the fact that of the many clients that I have defended throughout my private law practice career, I have kept each and every one, including the most difficult cases, from the death penalty.

I have been told that my clients refer to me as “a darling” and suggest that I am much loved. However, my success in the courtroom speaks to my firm commitment to aggressive and tenacious defense of the rights of those clients.

Televised Trial

While I was District Attorney for McLennan County, I was part of the first televised trial in American history. Beginning December 6, 1955, KWTX televised the murder trial of Harry L. Washburn. Mr. Washburn was on trial for the murder that took place in San Angelo. Because of the publicity that surrounded the murder in San Angelo, the trial for the murder of Mr. Washburn’s mother-in-law was moved to Waco.

Dirty Thirty

In an effort to address legal issues on a more global scale in further defense of the rights of all citizens of the state of Texas, I served as a member of the Texas House of Representatives from 1967 – 1973. During my tenure as Representative for the Central Texas area, I was a member of the “Dirty Thirty.” The “Dirty Thirty” was the name given to thirty of us who were in the 1971 Texas House of Representatives who grouped against Speaker of the House Gus Mutscher and other Texas officials charged in a bribery-conspiracy investigation by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. We called for a resolution to make Mutscher and his associates resign from leadership positions while the SEC investigation continued, but Mutscher was still favored by a majority in the House, and the measure failed. Another resolution, for the House to make itself a committee of the whole to study the SEC allegation, also failed. Our criticism of Mutscher’s system of controlling legislation eventually caused him to agree to an investigation led by five of his closest House allies, all chairmen of other committees he had appointed, to do the job.

This blatant use of appointive power to clear himself actually helped our cause. On the next-to-last day of the session, Mutscher attacked us group, accusing us of irresponsible, partisan politics and we called him a dictator of state politics, more concerned with private than public interests. This began the electoral battle, which he lost. Mutscher was indicted by a Travis County grand jury in September 1971 for conspiracy to accept a bribe and accepting a bribe and was later tried and convicted.

Boston Strangler Prank

On April 1, 1971 I introduced legislation to commend Albert de Salvo with the following:

This compassionate gentleman’s dedication and devotion to his work has enabled the weak and the lonely throughout the nation to achieve and maintain a new degree of concern for their future. He has been officially recognized by the state of Massachusetts for his noted activities and unconventional techniques involving population control and applied psychology.

It was passed unanimously by the House, after which I withdrew it and explained that I had only offered it to prove that my fellow legislators didn’t read the legislation they were approving.