Spence spent 10 years as an Assistant District Attorney at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. Spence first came to Houston to attend law school after graduating from The University of Texas at Austin in 1999. In 2001, Spence began working in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Family Criminal Law Division, where he assisted severely abused women in obtaining long-term protective orders. Spence then graduated from The University of Houston Law Center in 2002. In January 2003, Spence started in the Misdemeanor Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office as an Assistant District Attorney. Over the next several years, Spence worked long hours as a public servant. Along the way, Spence earned a reputation as a fierce and dynamic trial lawyer, as well as a wise and knowledgeable mentor to young prosecutors.
Spence handled several high-profile media cases during his career as an Assistant District Attorney, including the prosecution of Keith Hill, nicknamed “The Baytown Rapist”, and Anthony Bell, a man that robbed, shot and nearly killed a medical doctor resident of the Baylor College of Medicine in a Kroger parking lot in the Medical Center. Through Spence’s efforts in trial, both men received the maximum sentences allowed by Texas law.
While five different District Attorneys served in office during the last ten years, Spence continually received promotions, honors and awards for his dedication to the citizens of Harris County. Most notably, in February 2009 the Harris County District Attorney promoted Spence to the prestigious position of District Court Felony Chief Prosecutor, an honor equivalent to making partner in a civilian law firm.
Spence was assigned as the Chief Prosecutor of the Intake Division, the division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office that accepts and processes all criminal charges above a class C misdemeanor. All law enforcement personnel are required to consult with the prosecutors of the Intake Division before filing charges, search warrants, arrest warrants, or grand jury subpoenas. In the Intake Division, Spence worked closely with the Houston Police Department and Harris County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Divisions, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and the United States Department of Homeland Security. Spence gained knowledge and experience in the types of evidence that law enforcement needs to gather in order to support a criminal charge or a warrant. This knowledge and experience provides Spence a unique ability to immediately detect deficiencies in an investigation, search warrant, or arrest warrant.
After serving as the Chief Prosecutor of the Intake Division, Spence took over as the Chief Felony Prosecutor of the 315th Juvenile District Court. In the Juvenile Division, Spence was in charge of supervising three other prosecutors, as well as determining whether the State would seek to certify a charged juvenile to be tried as an adult. During his time in the Juvenile Division, Spence gained expertise in several complex areas of juvenile law, such as, in examining whether law enforcement has gone through the proper procedures to obtain a juvenile’s confession, in determining whether a juvenile’s criminal history can be sealed and prevented from being used against them in the future, and in evaluating whether a juvenile can be detained in the Juvenile Detention Center while their criminal charge is pending trial.
Spence spent the next three years as the Chief Felony Prosecutor of the 179th District Criminal Court, during which time he tried several jury trials as lead counsel for criminal charges of Capital Murder, Murder and Injury to a Child. Spence handled multiple complex hearings to determine whether evidence would be admitted in front of a jury at trial, including evidence of DNA, computer forensic analysis, fingerprint analysis, ballistics and firearms testing, blood spatter analysis, outcry witness testimony and medical testimony regarding shaken baby syndrome. Spence trained and supervised ten prosecutors as Chief Felony Prosecutor of the 179th District Court. Spence served as supervising co-counsel in over 30 jury trials as the Chief Felony Prosecutor, assisting these prosecutors in effectively investigating, preparing, and presenting their cases for jury trial.
Spence spent the last year of his career at the Harris County District Attorney’s Office in the Public Integrity Division, in charge of investigating several high-ranking Harris County public officials and police officers. Spence worked alongside numerous detectives from several different law enforcement agencies in investigating alleged corruption perpetrated by individuals ranging from personnel of local school districts, local law enforcement patrol officers, to an elected Constable in Harris County. Spence gained unique insights and skills in the investigation and prosecution of highly complex white collar fraud and theft cases.
The Harris County District Attorney selected Spence to assist in conducting mock trials for cadets of the Houston Police Department Academy in 2010. Spence was also selected by the Harris County District Attorney in 2011 to teach on the subjects of Abuse of Official Capacity, Official Oppression, Violation of Civil Rights, as well as Resisting and Evading Arrest to the Houston Police Department Academy cadets.
Spence received numerous letters of commendation and certificates of achievement during his career as a prosecutor from organizations such as the World Affairs Council, the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, the National District Attorneys Association, John E. Reid & Associates, and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. In 2008, the Harris County District Attorney selected Spence to the position of Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Misdemeanor Division. The duties of this position included conducting training sessions for the entire Misdemeanor Division of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, reviewing the pre-trial diversion requests filed in the fifteen Harris County misdemeanor courts, and running the Harris County District Attorney’s hiring program.
After a distinguished decade of public service to the citizens of Harris County as a trial prosecutor, Spence became an expert in the process of how a criminal case gets prosecuted in a courtroom. Spence knows the steps the prosecutors will take, as he trained many of them. Spence has the knowledge and experience to immediately detect any problems or deficiencies in the State’s charges. Only a handful of lawyers in the State of Texas have the qualifications and background that Spence possesses.
Let Spence and the other lawyers of Vinas, Graham & Sample use that tremendous knowledge and experience to assist you on your case. Call 713-229-9992 today for a free consultation!