TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County District Attorney Jacob Putman officially announced Thursday morning that he would be seeking reelection next year.
While we have enjoyed successes in these areas and many others, there is a lot of work left to be done. As your Smith County District Attorney, I will continue to work with law enforcement to keep our community safe, ensure that justice is applied equally to everyone, and uphold the rule of law.Smith County DA Jacob Putman
In a release sent Thursday morning, Putman, 38, touted recent success in pushing the State Legislature in adding a fifth district court to the county. Putman traveled to Austin to testify about the drastic need for the court due to a surge in population in Smith County over the past several decades and how COVID-19 brought the system to a halt, which had overloaded the current three felony courts with cases.
He also added a prosecutor to the East Texas Anti-Gang Center and said he had implemented a new digital system that increases efficiency when processing evidence needed for court.
Before the election, he will likely have the biggest trial currently facing East Texas: William Davis, the former CHRISTUS Nurse who is accused of murdering four patients. Jury selection is scheduled to begin at the end of the month.
As of this writing, no one else has publicly challenged Putman as he goes for his second term. The Republican primary, which will almost certainly decide the race, is scheduled for March 1, 2022.
Putman was elected at just 35 years old after a heated campaign in 2018 against former assistant district attorney Alicia Barkley.
Barkley entered the race on the final day to file after it appeared Putman would cruise to victory. She entered after Putman’s handling of a case where a Lindale man, Dabrett Black, was out on bond after two altercations with law enforcement.
Black was then charged for the Thanksgiving Day murder of DPS Trooper Damon Allen in Fairfield. Allen’s widow campaigned for Barkley as did Putman’s former boss then-District Attorney Matt Bingham. The case is still pending in Freestone County.
Both sides garnered support from notable East Texas leaders with Texas State Sen. Bryan Hughes and State Rep. Matt Schaeffer backing Putman while former Tyler Mayor Barbara Bass and former 114th District Judge Cynthia Kent going for Barkley.
Putman won the race by nearly 2,700 votes, which propelled him to a 56-44 point win.