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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Fox, Shockley face off in Republican race for prosecutor

  • Brendon Fox, of Rolla, and Brant Shockley, of St. James, are both seeking the Republican nomination for the Phelps County prosecutor in the Tuesday, Aug. 5, primary election.The candidate who wins the August election will technically be the next county prosecutor since there are no Democrats running for the office. The wi...
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  • Brendon Fox, of Rolla, and Brant Shockley, of St. James, are both seeking the Republican nomination for the Phelps County prosecutor in the Tuesday, Aug. 5, primary election.
    The candidate who wins the August election will technically be the next county prosecutor since there are no Democrats running for the office. The winner of the August primary will run unopposed in the November general electon.
    Incumbent County Prosecutor John Beger is not running again for thecounty prosecutor office. Instead, he is the only candidate who has filed for the office of circuit judge in the 25th Circuit, Division 2.
    The Rolla Daily News submitted questionnaires to the two Republican candidates for county prosecutor and their responses are below:
    Name: Brendon Fox
    Age: 33
    Current and previous employment: From January 2011 to present I have been an assistant prosecutor at the Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and form April 2013 to present I have been city prosecutor for City of Rolla.
    Previously, from September 2007 to December 2010, I was an associate attorney at Beger & Bushie, LLC.
    Family: I met my wife, Katie, in law school at University of Missouri. We have a son, Jack, who is 3 and 1/2 years old, and a daughter named Georgia who is 5 months. Huck is our Basset Hound.
    Community service/voluntarism: I am a member of the Rolla Lions Club and Phelps County Bar Association, previously serving as president. Each year I present at Phelps County Bar Association’s continuing legal education seminar, giving local attorneys an update on criminal case law that has been handed down during the year. This year I had the pleasure of hosting a lemonade stand for Phelps County Bank’s annual Take-A-Stand against child abuse.
    Previous elected offices (if any): I am currently the Rolla city prosecutor. I was originally appointed to serve a vacant unexpired term by former Rolla Mayor Bill Jenks III but was then elected in 2014 to remain in the office.
    Why are you running for the office of county prosecutor? As a father, I appreciate how important it is to have a safe community to raise our families. I believe my experience, both as a private attorney and an assistant Phelps County prosecutor, make me uniquely qualified. My experience and current job as an assistant Phelps County prosecutor allows for a seamless transfer of responsibilities as well as maintaining the excellent relationship we have with law enforcement. Further, the prosecutor needs to be a trial lawyer and I am the only candidate with jury trial experience.
    What are your qualifications for the office of county prosecutor? I graduated from Stanford University and University of Missouri School of Law. I have conducted more than 20 jury trials, over 100 bench trials and argued before the courts of appeals and Missouri Supreme Court. While serving as an assistant Phelps County prosecutor, I have prosecuted thousands of cases. I have also provided legal opinions to many elected county officials.
    Page 2 of 4 - Why are you a better choice than your opponent for this office? I have the expertise and proven experience to lead this office. Experience matters. The Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office requires an experienced trial attorney. I understand how to prosecute a case, how to fight for justice for the victims of crime, how to know when justice should be tempered with mercy and how to conduct an efficient and responsive administration. Further, I understand all the responsibilities of the Phelps County Prosecutor's Office. The prosecuting attorney is also chief legal counsel for the county, providing legal advice to all county public offices.
    What changes, if any, will you make to this office and why? The Phelps County Prosecutor’s Office has recently implemented technology to "go paperless." I led this conversion and it saved the county money, made the office more efficient and freed up staff for more important tasks. The best part — the entire project was funded by money seized from drug dealers, at no cost to the taxpayers. This resulted in the Phelps County Prosecutor’s Office coming in under budget for 2013. I will continue Saturday office hours implemented by our current Phelps County Prosecutor John Beger. For the last couple of years we have utilized a grand jury in prosecuting felonies. This has shortened the time it takes to complete a case. I would like to increase community outreach. For example, I recently created a public service presentation on elder abuse and elderly financial exploitation. The victim’s advocate and I have discussed how to implement this and other programs for the victims of crime. Its purpose is to educate victims on what to expect during the court process and answer questions.
    Do you believe that prosecutors should be more proactive in targeting crime or more reactive by simply acting on evidence placed before them by law enforcement? By definition, we can only prosecute cases that are presented to us. We are not investigators. That being said, we are proactive in our dealings with law enforcement. For example, the Phelps County Prosecutor’s Office is currently discussing with law enforcement how to implement an innovative approach to investigating driving while intoxicated (DWI) cases.
    What effect do you think the criminal code overhaul that the Missouri Legislature passed, Gov. Jay Nixon signed earlier this year and will take effect in January 2017 will have on the office of county prosecutor? I don’t think it will have a major impact. We will have two years to iron out any wrinkles that we come across.
    What types of criminal activities do you believe pose the greatest threat to Phelps County? Heroin and meth are huge problems. The overwhelming majority of property crime is a direct result of drug use. Addicts end up doing anything and everything to get their next “fix” including burglary, stealing and robbery. So as we combat the drug problem, we are also combatting those other crimes. We also have a high number of drunk drivers on the road. I will work with law enforcement to streamline the DWI investigation process. We need to make arrests safer and faster for law enforcement.
    Page 3 of 4 - What question did we not ask that you would like to ask and answer? An answer was not provided.
     
    Name: Brant Shockley
    Age: 28
    Current and previous employment: Current owner of my personal private law practice, In the past I worked with Carrie Gerischer, Attorney at Law. I worked my way through college for Central Security and Electric, Shockley Construction and Shockley Quarter Horses farm.
    Family: Son of Dennis and Susan Shockley.
    Community service/voluntarism: Volunteer for 4-H, Mount Zion Baptist Church and pro-bono work for indigent clients.
    Previous elected offices (if any): None.
    Why are you running for the office of county prosecutor? I am running for Phelps County prosecuting attorney because I am a lifelong resident of Phelps County and want to give back to the county that I was raised in. Phelps County has been my been my home and I have seen issues that have been in the county for many years. I want to make Phelps County a better place for our citizens to live and raise families safely. I want to give victims a voice in the courtroom and make sure that they have an understanding of the process because the victims and community are who the prosecutor works for and the prosecutor has to be reachable all times for their needs.
    What are your qualifications for the office of county prosecutor? I have been a lifelong resident of Phelps County and I have an understanding of the victims and community. Through my private practice I have had thousands of clients in all areas of the law and this vast knowledge of the law allows me to have a better understanding of the criminal cases I would be trying as prosecutor. Currently I am a business owner and know how to run a business and keep budgets low which is what the prosecutor’s office in Phelps County needs.
    Why are you a better choice than your opponent for this office? A prosecutor should be in touch with the community they are representing. Being a resident of Phelps County and having my family being from Phelps County gives me that touch. I have practiced a wide variety of law giving me a vast knowledge of the law which I can incorporate to help victims get justice. While owning my own practice I have the knowledge of running a business. The prosecutor’s office is a business and needs to not only prosecute criminals but also save taxpayers money at all times. Because I have owned a business and worked close to many small businesses I could better serve the office.
    What changes, if any, will you make to the office and why? I will make sure that victims are informed fully of the court process and have a chance to come to court and have their voices heard. Victims do not have the opportunity to be heard currently in the courtroom and have an opportunity to speak to prosecutors. I will work to bring back preliminary hearings to Phelps County. Grand jury indictments place a burden on the jurors that sit on them by taking them away from their jobs. These individuals cannot afford to take the days off of work without pay because many individuals of the community live paycheck to paycheck in this economy. Defendants need to also have a chance to defend themselves which grand juries do not allow them to do. There are times when innocent people are accused of crimes and the preliminary hearings give the defendant a chance to show their innocence. I will also prosecute all bad checks regardless of the amount they are written for because small businesses cannot afford to take the loss of funds from a bad check.
    Page 4 of 4 - Do you believe that prosecutors should be more proactive in targeting crime or more reactive by simply acting on evidence placed before them by law enforcement? I believe that the prosecutors should be proactive in the way of pushing any crime programs to the public such as the D.A.R.E. program. The prosecutor should also work with law enforcement to inform them of changes to the law and how to handle cases in ways that make the prosecution of the crime more secure. I also believe that the prosecutor’s office should be reactive because we have some of the finest law enforcement officers working in our police departments. They are extensively qualified in their fields and the prosecutor’s office can use their reports and investigations to prosecute crimes and take repeat offenders off the street.
    What effect do you think the criminal code overhaul that the Missouri Legislature passed, Gov. Jay Nixon signed earlier this year and will take effect in January 2017 will have on the office of county prosecutor? I believe that the criminal code overhaul will make the prosecutor’s office better. It clarifies parts of the law that are ambiguous and not precise. The language that is not clear is taken out of the statutes and corrects all statutes to work together, which gives a better understanding of the law to everyone. This will give the prosecutors an opportunity to focus more on the case facts and not spend extra time decoding the law.
    What types of criminal activities do you believe pose the greatest threat to Phelps County? I believe that all crimes pose a threat to Phelps County. The greatest threat posed are crimes that have victims in them. These crimes involving victims pose a greater threat because not only is the defendant committing a crime, they also are violating the rights of an innocent individual in the community.
    What question did we not ask that you would like to ask and answer? What would you do to better protect victims’ rights? I would make sure that all victims are able to access the prosecutor’s office and a prosecutor can sit down with the victim and explain the court process and what court dates mean. I would allow the victims to speak at bond reduction hearings and guilty pleas should they want to and have victims be informed if there are issues with their cases, what the issues are and what the office or the victim needs to do to better the strength of the case. I would make it an easier office to communicate with by allowing any victim that has questions to come in the office and talk to not only the victim advocate but the prosecutor prosecuting the case. The victims will know that the office is there for them and we will do everything we can to protect them in the case they are involved in if I am elected as Phelps County prosecutor.

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