Last updated: January 24. 2014 6:19PM - 1909 Views
Dennis Rich drich@civitasmedia.com

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Long-time Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser told a sizable crowd of supporters that he hopes his professional experience will propel him to the open Division 6 Associate Circuit Court judgeship as he announced his candidacy for the job Friday morning.

Speaking to supporters at the Fox Theater, Mittelhauser promised “an honest and vigorous campaign” to replace retiring Division 6 Associate Judge Robert Liston. In what is sure to be a county race to watch in the August Republican primary, Mittelhauser will face District 52 State Rep. Stan Cox, who announced his intention to seek the office earlier this month. As of yet, no Democrat has publicly announced their intention to seek the position.

“If you will help us reach this goal, I promise with every case I hear to do everything I can to make you proud you were here today when we began,” Mittelhauser said.

During his remarks, he noted a range of accomplishments his office has achieved in his 28 years as prosecuting attorney and said he believes the “position is perfectly suited for someone with my background.”

Among those accomplishments are the creation of the Victim Assistance Program, the first such program established in Missouri outside of the metropolitan areas; the establishment of the Drug Task Force; increased prosecution of driving while intoxicated cases; an accelerated docket for domestic violence cases; and a drug court to help steer first time offenders away from incarceration.

“These successes are certainly not mine alone,” Mittelhauser said, crediting his office staff and city and county law enforcement officials with helping him focus resources on crime victims’ rights and going after drug dealers and drunken drivers.

Noting that Division 6 is where all criminal cases are initiated and where all misdemeanor cases are handled, Mittelhauser said his past experience would help him move easily from prosecutor to judge.

“Over 85 percent of the cases for the job I am seeking are exactly the kinds of cases I am handling now,” he said.

Filing for the office opens Feb. 25. Candidates for associate circuit judge must be at least 25 years old, a qualified voter, a resident of the county and licensed to practice law in Missouri.

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