Former Travis County D.A. Ronnie Earle Dies

“District Eternity” Earle, 78, passes on

Ronnie Earle with his wife, Twila, 1989
Ronnie Earle with his wife, Twila, 1989 (Photo by Alan Pogue)

After a long illness, legendary former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle died Sunday. Earle had been a fixture in local political life for decades, D.A. for more than 30 years, and liked to joke that someone once asked if he was “District Eternity.”

Earle reflected on his long career, for the Chronicle, at the time of his retirement in 2008: “District Eternity: Ronnie Earle on Ronnie Earle,” April 11, 2008.

Incumbent D.A. Margaret Moore released the following statement on her predecessor:

“I met Ronnie in 1973, when he was a member of the Texas House of Representatives. I worked for him in 1974 as counsel to a special House subcommittee that he chaired. When he ran for DA in 1976, I supported him. When he won, I asked him for a job. I worked for him his first term, until I was sworn in as Travis County Attorney in 1981. I was inspired by his vision of prosecution for Travis County.

“Ronnie went on to serve eight terms as District Attorney, a legacy that will probably not ever be matched. He was an early proponent of criminal justice reforms. His leadership in a non-traditional view of prosecution that embraced innovations like community justice and victim advocacy won him national recognition. He set the standard for Travis County prosecutors that endures today: Above all else, see that justice is done.

“I am very glad that I was able to be with him in September of 2018 at the dedication of the building we work in that bears his name. Under his picture on a plaque in our building, is this quote from Ronnie, which we pass by every day:

“‘This building is where justice is to be done. That makes it a sacred place. Justice is the highest expression of the human spirit. It calls us to be better than we are. We may all hope that we honor that call.’

“My heart goes out to his wife Twila, and to his children. We in the DA family will be mourning his passing with them.”

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Ronnie Earle, Margaret Moore, Travis County District Attorney

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