“I love the job,” Treese said. “It is a roller coaster of all sorts of different things at any given moment, but I do absolutely love taking the big swing.”
Treese hails from Selma in Dallas County, and he completed his undergraduate studies in sociology at Auburn. He later attended the Jones School of Law at Faulkner University.
Treese said he’s always had an interest in justice.
“Since I was in the fifth grade I wanted to be a lawyer,” Treese said.
Treese was elected Lee County’s district attorney in November 2010, and he was immediately thrown into major cases, including the capital murder trial of Courtney Lockhart and the more recent Harvey Updike case.
For Treese, the unpredictability of the courtroom is something he is used to.
“One minute you’re cooking with gas and the next minute … you’re in flames.”
While giving their best is important for Treese and his team of prosectors, he said he has to make sure to stay human.
“The minute I am not nervous before I go into a jury trial … and the minute I see stuff—the kinds of things that prosecutors see at crime scenes and the photographs of those scenes and some of the horrors that we see way too often—the second it doesn’t affect me, I am gone,” Treese said.
Treese said his efforts as district attorney are fueled by his love for the community and recognition of the responsibility he holds. He said it’s his job to make sure Auburn-Opelika residents are able to keep the community they currently have.
“People have the right to be completely living their lives blissfully with not having to worry about something ugly and evil walking around and winding up in their backyard,” Treese said. “I hope it doesn’t happen, but that’s what I’m here for—that’s what everybody in law enforcement’s here for.”
Sheriff Jay Jones works regularly with Treese in the law enforcement process, detecting, investigating and apprehending criminal activity and then presenting it to Treese.
Jones said he and Treese have a great relationship, and he appreciates the way Treese works hard to communicate things clearly.
“He is very thorough in regard to circumstances and situations and … very keen on getting all the facts,” Jones said.
Jones commented particularly on Treese’s love for people and his high standards for upholding the law equally and consistently across cases.
“He, like most of us here, really loves the area and wants to make sure … that these functions, if they’re gonna be done, they’re gonna be done right and they’re gonna be done to the benefit of the public who are being served,” Jones said.
Kisha Abercrombie, senior assistant district attorney, also said Treese’s high standards are something he is particularly known for.
“His heart is in what we do,” Abercrombie said, “and he always does the right thing regardless of who the individuals involved are.”
Treese said he works to make decisions on an unbiased basis, focusing on the facts and the law, and while the job forces experience with tragedies and tough trials, both Abercrombie and Treese said justice is worth it.
“It’s that feeling, that moment, when they come back and say ‘guilty,’ and just the sense of relief that overcomes that person, that victim,” Abercrombie said. “When they hear that, they feel vindicated. They feel that justice has been done.”
Treese agreed, saying for him it’s about the opportunity to make lasting and significant changes in people’s lives and inspire hope for a better tomorrow.
“You can make a dent in your little world,” he said. “That’s what humanity’s about is hope—even in the darkest times.”