WACO, Texas -
Baylor Law School warmly congratulates Brit Featherston, JD '92, who was appointed Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Texas on September 30th, 2016.
Brit Featherston started his career in law enforcement in 1981, at the Port Arthur police department. After serving the people of Port Arthur on the police force for many years, enrolling in Baylor Law School was an obvious choice for Featherston, whose brother, Tom Featherston, had already graduated with his JD from Baylor Law School in 1972. (Tom currently teaches Trusts and Estates and other probate matters at the Law School.)
After graduating law school, Brit Featherston did a brief stint in a private law practice, doing insurance defense, before returning to his true passion, law enforcement. Since then Featherston has built a career that is as fascinating as it is impressive.
While working for the U.S. Attorney's Office, Featherston and two other federal prosecutors were assigned to prosecute the famous James Byrd Jr. case. The case revolved around three white supremacists who dragged Byrd, an African-American, behind a pick-up truck for several miles before Byrd died a gruesome death. The tragic case was covered by the national media, and the whole nation watched in shock and horror as the details of the case emerged in trial. Of the three charged, two were given the death penalty and the third a life sentence. As a result of the Byrd case, Texas passed hate crime legislation that expanded upon the 1969 federal hate crime law. The resulting legislation has been widely adopted and is still in effect today.
On a special detail for the U.S. Department of Justice, Featherston moved his family to the 13th floor of a high rise directly across from the Pentagon in Washington D.C. just two months before the tragic events of 9/11. While he was downtown, Featherston's wife, Amy was driving next to the Pentagon when it was struck by American Airlines Flight 77. Thinking a bomb had detonated, she sped away as a hail of debris rained down. For four days, Featherston, his wife, and their two-year old Anna, watched the Pentagon burn from across the street as they went about their daily lives. Without power for several days, carrying groceries and Anna up and down 13 flights of stairs became routine.
9/11 is not the only major U.S. tragedy Featherston has witnessed. After completing his work in Washington, D.C., Featherston moved his family back to Lufkin, Texas. Not long after returning to Texas, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated upon re-entry above Lufkin. Featherston coordinated the initial command post with the FBI to manage the recovery of the shuttle structure and its precious cargo, and assisted in what turned out to be the largest search operation ever conducted in the U.S.
As his career advanced, Featherston was promoted to a supervisory position and in 2009 began working for U.S. Attorney Malcolm Bales in the Eastern District of Texas. Bales passed on his vision to Featherston for the office: that the only effective strategy for stemming the flow of drugs into the United States was to go after the sources, and that only the U.S. government has the sufficient resources and power to do so by prosecuting organized drug crimes. In 2010 he returned to the D.C. area to become the National Crisis Management Coordinator for all U.S. Attorney's Offices before returning to the Beaumont, TX area as the Executive Assistant U.S. Attorney under U.S, Attorney Bales.
Today, Featherston's office works closely with the Colombian National Police and special prosecutors who work directly for the president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos. In coordination with the Colombian police and special prosecutors, and working with the DEA, key drug smugglers who move drugs from Colombia into the United States are identified. After satisfying the evidentiary and procedural requirements, Featherston's office extradites incarcerated criminals from Colombia to the United States for indictment and trial. Featherston's office currently handles many so called "959" cases, the majority of which involve individuals who have arranged to move large amounts of cocaine from Colombia to the U.S. His office is one of approximately four U.S. Attorney's offices that focuses on this type of prosecution of drug cases.
Baylor Law School is proud of Brit Featherston for the many ways he has used his law degree–from the U.S. Attorney's office to the Department of Justice and the Eastern District of Texas, Featherston is an exemplar of leadership and service.
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ABOUT BAYLOR LAW SCHOOL
Established in 1857, Baylor Law School was one of the first law schools in Texas and one of the first west of the Mississippi River. Today, the school has more than 7,400 living alumni. It is accredited by the American Bar Association and is a member of the Association of American Law Schools. Baylor Law School has a record of producing outstanding lawyers, many of whom decide upon a career in public service. The Law School boasts two governors, members or former members of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, two former directors of the FBI, U.S. ambassadors, federal judges, justices of the Texas Supreme Court and members of the Texas Legislature, among its notable alumni. In its law specialties rankings, U.S. News & World Report ranked Baylor Law's trial advocacy program as #4 in the nation. Baylor Law School is also ranked #55 in the magazine's 2017 edition of "America's Best Graduate Schools." The National Jurist ranks Baylor Law as one of the "Best School for Practical Training," and #4 in the nation in its most recent "Best Law School Facilities" listing. The Business Insider places Baylor Law among the top 50 law schools in the nation. Baylor Law School received the 2015 American Bar Association Pro Bono Publico Award, making it only the third law school in the nation to be honored with the award since the award's inception in 1984.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 D1 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big XII Conference. Learn more at baylor.edu