‘It was an incredible honor’: Central Texas prosecutor recognized for her work in the community

Published: Oct. 18, 2023 at 5:37 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A local prosecutor with 34 years of experience serving Central Texas has been given an award for being the best in the state of Texas for advancing justice in the community.

Limestone County’s Assistant County Attorney, Beth Toben, was presented the prestigious Lone Star Prosecutor Award by the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association during its annual meeting in Round Rock.

The Lone Star Prosecutor Award recognizes the efforts of prosecutors who demonstrate excellence through trial, advocacy, appellate advocacy, or other innovative work that may go unnoticed around the state.

“First and foremost, it’s just the personal aspect being nominated by my boss Roy DeFriend and my trial partner Jeff Janes,” Toben said, “It just meant the world to me to know they know me so well and worked so closely with me and thought enough of me to nominate me really touched my heart.”

Limestone County District Attorney Roy DeFriend along with Janes nominated Toben for the award which was then supported by emails and letters from former co-workers, former interns and prosecutors she worked alongside at Baylor Law School and the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association.

Toben was chosen as the sole prosecutor for the entire state of Texas.

“It was an incredible honor,” Toben said. “A complete surprise. To have their nominations supported by people that I admire, have been trained by, have worked alongside and a lot of interns that I’ve mentored, that just meant the world to me, too. It’s hard to explain.”

In Toben’s three-plus decades of prosecuting she has tried over 225 jury trials.

She started her work as a prosecutor in 1989 at the McLennan County DA’s office as a felony prosecutor. She was Deputy First Assistant there from 1991-2011 where she developed an expertise in child and adult sexual assault and abuse cases.

She was instrumental in establishing the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children in Waco.

In 2011, Toben moved to the Limestone County Attorney’s Office where she’s worked as an Assistant County/District Attorney and felony prosecutor.

To date, she continues to try child abuses cases and has prosecuted an assortment of other felony cases including domestic violence.

Toben has made her mark not only courtrooms around Central Texas but in the classroom where she works with lawyers-in-training at Baylor Law School, where her husband Brad, recently stepped down as the school’s dean.

She’s served as an intern supervisor for law students and regularly teaches in the Baylor Law School Criminal Law Boot Camp.

Toben says she’s constantly working to recruit lawyers to serve in an area underserved.

“Part of the reason this award means so much to me is for the last 12 years while I’ve been working in Limestone County, been working with the people here and the people at Baylor Law School and in the Texas District and County Attorney’s Association, I’ve tried to educate and recruit young prosecutors because there are not enough prosecutors to fill all the slots available in our state,” Toben said. “I think this is an incredibly noble profession.”

DeFriend said Toben exemplifies what the award is all about as she continues to live out a life of service.

“Often the public is unaware of the dedication it takes to continue to represent the community in criminal court over decades and to do it well without fanfare,” DeFriend said. “That is exactly what this award is about and what Beth Toben has done.”