Born in Dallas, Texas, Bill Johnston is the son of a career prosecutor. Bill’s father, Wilson Johnston, worked for the District Attorney in Dallas for almost 30 years and handled many significant cases, including the appellate work on the case of The State of Texas v. Jack Ruby. Bill became a prosecutor directly out of law school, and tried his first murder case when he was 23 years old.
At age 28, Bill was named the first federal prosecutor designated to serve the Central Texas area. He served in that capacity for more than 13 years. Bill supervised all of the counter-drug efforts for the United States Attorney along the 500 mile Texas-Mexico border. During his career as an Assistant United States Attorney, Johnston prosecuted more than 1,500 federal defendants, including three “Top 15” fugitives.
One of those fugitives was Texas serial killer Kenneth McDuff. During the McDuff investigation, Johnston proposed to Texas Governor Ann Richards that a group of investigators be formed into a fugitive squad to track fugitive parolees like McDuff. In response, Ann Richards formed the “Governor’s Fugitive Squad.” Johnston also prosecuted the Chairman of the Texas Parole Board who had improperly released McDuff from prison. In 1993, the Branch Davidian incident took place near Waco, Texas and Johnston was one of five federal prosecutors chosen to handle the case. After a two month long trial, nine of twelve defendants were convicted of conduct related to the murder of four federal agents during the ill-fated raid.
In 1995, Johnston was named by the Jaycee‘s (U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce) as one of the five “Outstanding Young Texans.” Also in 1995, he was named one of the top five prosecutors in the United States by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association. In 2001, Texas Monthly magazine selected Bill as one of the 20 most influential and interesting Texans.
Other legal experience:
1984-1987 – Associate, Haley & Davis – primary area of practice in medical malpractice defense and government defense
1991-2002 – Judge Advocate General Corps, United States Army Reserve, HHC III Corps and Ft. Hood
2001- 2013 – Partner, Johnston & Johnston – practice in federal and state court
2006 – Lecturer, Naval Justice School, United States Navy, Newport, Rhode Island
2014 – present – Principal, The Law Office of William W. Johnston