Familiar face takes over Angelina County DA office

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Joe Martin, the new Angelina County district attorney, is getting settled in to his new office. It is his first office space in the last two years.

"I enjoyed being retired," he said. "I enjoyed it right up to Dec. 31."

Martin will be a familiar name to many in the county. He has served as an assistant county attorney, county court-at-law judge, and a defense attorney before moving to Polk County in 2007.

He's stepping into an office with high-profile cases still pending like murder charges against Bobby Woods and Warren Lewis and the case of Billie Jean Cuttler, which remains in limbo.

"I did talk to some law enforcement people but as far as in-depth knowledge, I know what you guys know," he said.

While the office staff is staying the same, Martin is bringing in new prosecutors, including John Peralta. Peralta was in the office for a short stint before spending the last year in private practice. He has a past that includes federal and state work on drug cases at the border: experience he plans on bringing to the office.

"The users need to be treated to get them out of that life and vicious circle, and obviously, the dealers need to be treated harshly," Peralta said.

Also joining Martin is Scott Greenbaum and his wife, Amy. Sandra Martin is the lone prosecutor left from the old staff.

The focus right now is on improving the office.

"I think there are ways we can tighten the process where we are accepting cases that should be prosecuted," Peralta said.

"Art Bauereiss was a good prosecutor, so it remains to be seen if I can improve on that," Martin said. "I think there will be more communication with law enforcement. That is going to be pretty big."

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