Gambril named ‘DA of Year’

Published 11:59 pm Monday, July 6, 2009

Covington County District Attorney Greg Gambril was honored last week with the Brad Morris Memorial DA of the Year Award.

The award was presented during a meeting of the Alabama District Attorney’s Association and the Alabama District Attorney Investigators Association held in Destin. A committee of the two associations made the selection.

“I was overwhelmed when they called my name,” Gambril said Monday. “I had no idea I was going to win.”

But Gambril’s wife, Julie, did know, and she pulled off quite a coup. In addition to having their two sons, Joseph and Charlie, on hand for the presentation, she managed to get her in-laws, her parents and her sister to the presentation without her husband catching on.

“They even tricked me into dressing up for the award,” Gambril said. “The president of the association concocted an elaborate story about having to leave early and asked me to introduce the speakers. I went to the outlets and bought a nice shirt and a tie, but I drew the line at new shoes, so I was wearing flip-flops.”

The chief investigator for the DA’s office, Gary Hutcheson, and investigator Paul Adams nominated Gambril.

“One of the primary reasons the associations cited was my work in the area of chemical endangerment,” Gambril said.

Gambril was the first DA in Alabama to apply Alabama’s relatively new chemical endangerment of a child law to pregnant women who use illegal drugs and whose children test positive for illegal drugs at birth.

“The practice has spread throughout the state and most of the DAs pursue these cases now,” Gambril said.

Gambril said it was humbling and flattering to receive the award from his peers.

“They truly understand what I do for a living,” he said. “They understand about long hours and time away from your family.”

Gambril said for him, working as a prosecutor is more than a job.

“People who have been doing this as long as I have — it’s a calling,” he said. “You can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.”

Gambril was elected DA in 2004 when he ran unopposed. Since that time, he has successfully prosecuted four capital murder cases.

He joined the DA’s office in 1992 and was named chief assistant district attorney in 1994. He is serving a second term on the Alabama District Attorney’s Association executive committee, and is a member of First United Methodist Church of Andalusia.

The District Attorney of the Year Award was established in 1986 in memory of Brad Morris, who was an investigator for former Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber and was a founding member of the Alabama District Attorney Investigators Association.