Ellis County DA moving up the ladder of success

By Patty Hullett
For the Daily Light

Newly-elected Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery wasn’t born and raised here in Waxahachie, but since her arrival in the spring of 2016 she’s made her mark on the city and has been heavily involved in the local government process ever since.

Montgomery was sworn into her new position on Jan. 1, 2021.

Born and raised near Cleburne in Johnson County, Montgomery is the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Billy Gene Montgomery. She says, “The last few years have been hard for me, as I lost my mother in 2018 and then my father passed away in 2019. Both lived in Cleburne at the time of their deaths.”

Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery

She has two older siblings, a brother and sister. And she is very proud to be called “Aunt Ann” to her extended family of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

Because the family lived just outside the city limits in Johnson County, growing up, the

Montgomery children had the choice to attend Cleburne or Grandview schools. It was the youngest child’s (Ann’s) wishes to attend Cleburne schools in the Cleburne I.S.D., until she made the decision to transfer to school in Grandview from 8th grade through her high school years.

Montgomery explains, “I always knew that I liked the law. In high school, I was a participant in the Lincoln-Douglas debates and went to state my senior year representing Grandview. When I was older, my dad would brag and say that he knew I would be a great attorney someday because I was extremely good at arguing!”

Her road map to success

Montgomery shares her long journey to achieving her goal of becoming a bona fide attorney: “While I was attending Tarrant County Junior College, I worked part-time for a local criminal defense and family law attorney. I graduated from University of Texas at Arlington in December of 1989 – with a B.A. in Political Science and a minor in History. From there, I went to work for a personal injury attorney. While there, I became a Board Certified Legal Assistant in Personal Injury Trial Law and a Certified Legal Assistant through the National Association of Legal Assistants.”

When she had progressed as much as she could as a legal assistant, she applied and was accepted to Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, where she continued to work a law-related job during the day while attending school at night. Montgomery worked for the Chief Disciplinary Counsel’s Office of the State Bar of Texas.

"My duties included investigating and then prosecuting attorneys for misconduct," she added. "The transition from prosecuting attorneys to prosecuting persons accused of crimes was not a difficult one. At long last, I graduated in December in 2001 with a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree.”

Working her way up in Ellis County

She came to work in Ellis County on Feb. 3, 2003, as a misdemeanor prosecutor. "Later, I began to work primarily in the civil division of the office," relays Montgomery. "While in the civil division, I continued to work on criminal cases, but my main responsibilities changed to advising elected officials and litigating civil asset forfeitures and bond forfeitures.”

In December 2018, she was appointed First Assistant by Patrick Wilson, the elected County and District Attorney. "In that position, I became involved in the management of the office," Montgomery continues. "When Mr. Wilson decided to retire at the end of his term, I decided the time was right for me to run for the position. I had worked in every facet of the office and was familiar with all of the functions that we perform, both criminal and civil, as well as with the management and budget of the office. I felt that I was uniquely qualified to continue to serve the citizens of the county in this position.”

Montgomery says, “What I really enjoy most about my job is that I love working with all of the different people and police agencies. To me, every day is a new challenge. It is hard to find a greater goal than seeking justice for the citizens of Ellis County. My goals involve working on my own skills and leading an office that works every day to do the best possible job for those citizens.”

On the downside, however, she says "one of the hardest parts of my job is meeting with the families of victims. Unfortunately, that has happened multiple times since I took office, and it is always very difficult to get through.”

Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery poses at Waxahachie's new amphitheater. Since her arrival in 2016, she has been very involved in the community.

Enjoying her new city and favorite pastimes

Montgomery has loved living in Waxahachie since she arrived five years ago. She admits, “I have been active in many organizations and have made great friends here. I recently worked with others to bring the new amphitheater to downtown and I look forward to the events, concerts, and plays at that facility in the years to come.”

Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery is shown with her dog, Jagger.

She relays, “I am a true dog-lover. In November, my 16 year old Cocker Spaniel mix, Chloe, passed away. In December, I adopted a 3-year-old German Shepard mix, Jagger. Most of my free time is spent with him and training him. I play seven different musical instruments but mostly play my tenor saxophone at church (First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie), and I’m also in the Waxahachie Area Concert Band (although I took this semester off). I also enjoy spending time with my friends and reading.”

Montgomery is licensed to practice in Texas, United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. Some of the many clubs and organizations Montgomery is an actively involved in include:

-Ellis County Children’s Advocacy Center, position director

-Rotary Club of Waxahachie, Board Member, Paul Harris Fellow

-Tri County Auto Theft and Burglary Task Force, Board of Director and current Vice-Chair

-North Central Texas Council of Governments, Criminal Justice Policy Committee

-Texas District and County Attorneys Association, member

-College of the State Bar of Texas

-American Legion Auxiliary, Sergeant at Arms

-Waxahachie Project Ally

-Leadership Waxahachie Class of XXII

-Ellis County Republican Women, Parliamentarian

-WISD Lighthouse for Learning Advisory Committee member

-WISD District Education Improvement Committee member

-Waxahachie Symphony Association, Board Member

-Ellis County Women in Business

-Women’s Building Board Member

As the new Ellis County attorney, Montgomery will be primarily responsible for felony prosecution, misdemeanor prosecution and domestic battery prosecution. The office is also responsible for providing protective orders, mental health commitments, victim assistance, legal advice, counsel for county officials and the commissioner’s court and representation for the Texas Department 6 of Family and Protective Services.

Ellis County District Attorney Ann Montgomery