Having made his reputation prosecuting public corruption cases, it's ironic that it was one of those cases that wound up bringing him down:
Ray Sumrow was a self-made success, a man who, despite holding elected office, didn't mind getting his hands dirty and enjoyed shooting the breeze with friends at the old Dairy Queen.
He worked his way through law school and won election as Rockwall County district attorney six times.
He earned a reputation for prosecuting public officials, handling at least half a dozen cases. The State Bar named him Prosecutor of the Year in 2001 – the same year he beat kidney cancer.
So how did the county's chief law enforcer – a man with a reputation for integrity and friends among Rockwall's elite – fall so far?
Mr. Sumrow, who sent hundreds to prison during his 22 years in office, now resides there himself, serving 15 years for stealing public money.
He resigned last month, and the State Bar has suspended his law license and probably will disbar him. At 58, he faces financial ruin and could lose his home, which he lovingly renovated with his own hands, to foreclosure.
A judge plans to decide Friday whether to declare him indigent and order the state to pay expenses related to his appeals.
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The catalyst of Mr. Sumrow's demise was his prosecution of longtime county Treasurer Shereé Jones, who resigned and pleaded guilty to misusing $2,100 from the county. Mr. Sumrow called her crime "a blight on all elected officials."
Then she told investigators that he had done the same thing on a much larger scale.