Adopted after her mother was raped, 'Mean Mary' seeks out her own justice
AN Irish-born lawyer whose zero-tolerance approach has earned her the moniker "Mean Mary" has been named the "Prosecutor of the Year" by officials in Texas.
Assistant district attorney Mary Green (56), who was born in Co Sligo after her teenage birth mother was raped, and later adopted, won the rare designation by the Texas District and County Attorneys Association (TDCAA).
The honour is normally reserved for elected officials.
But it was Ms Green's tough reputation over the past 25 years that earned her the title of the state's top prosecutor for 2011.
Her courtroom victories included securing the death penalty and life sentences for some of the most notorious members of the criminal gang known as the 'Texas Mexican Mafia'.
Her tough-as-nails reputation helped contribute to Ms Green's designation by the TDCAAas the state's top prosecutor of 2011.
Ms Green, who uses the handle "Mean Mary" in her email and online communications, beat close to 3,000 prosecutors working in the state when she was named its top prosecutor at the TDCAA's annual conference last year.
Ms Green secured more than 100 guilty verdicts from juries for serious felony cases and boasts a 95pc conviction rate at the Bexar County District Attorney's office in San Antonio.
"Mary is a prosecutor's prosecutor," wrote first assistant district attorney Cliff Herberg, who nominated her for the title.
"She is considered in San Antonio to be a prominent expert, if not the pre-eminent expert, on the investigation and prosecution of major gang crime," he said.
"As you can imagine, she has received threats and intimidation tactics by some of the most dangerous criminals in the community," according to the 'San Antonio Express' newspaper.
But the feisty lawyer says she refuses to be intimidated.
"I'm always very conscious of my surroundings, but I refuse to live in fear. That sort of defeats the purpose," she said.
She grew up in Corpus Christi Texas and vowed to become a lawyer after reading the classic novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird' at the age of 10.
She began prosecuting crime gangs in 1997 and was responsible for securing a death sentence for one of the leaders of the Texas Mexican Mafia Robert "Beaver" Perez, who was linked to 15 gang-related shootings. He was executed in 2007.
District attorney Susan Reid said: "It takes a certain amount of strength to do gang prosecution. You have to be fearless, and she certainly is."