The following candidates are running for their respective political party bids for the post of McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney in the Aug. 3 election.


The following candidates are running for their respective political party bids for the post of McDonald County Prosecuting Attorney in the Aug. 3 election.

Bill Dobbs, Republican

Hometown: Goodman.

Education (High school and/or college/trade schools): Neosho High School, graduated 1972; Missouri State University, graduated 1976 (Sociology/Psychology); University of Tulsa, College of Law, graduated 1997 (Juris Doctorate)

Current Occupation: Senior Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Newton County; (2000-
present)

Other background of interest (such as volunteer work/board members, etc.): Elder, First Christian Church; Board Member, Choppers4Children Children’s Miracle Network Fundraiser; Past President, Neosho/Newton County Library Board; Past Master, Neosho AF&AM Lodge #247

What made you decide to run for public office? “I was raised in McDonald County (Goodman) and have worked within the County throughout my professional life.  
Karen and I returned to the area after college in 1979 because we wanted to raise our children close to their respective grandparents.  

“Initially, I worked as a counselor and facility manager with the Missouri Division of Youth Services.  In that capacity, I worked closely with court-adjudicated youth and their families in McDonald, Barry, Lawrence and Newton Counties.  During that time, I developed professional relationships with the various schools, service agencies, and law enforcement in the area. In 1987, I was appointed Chief Juvenile Officer of McDonald and Newton Counties, again working closely with families, resources and law enforcement in the two counties. In 1995, I chose to enter law school with the specific goal of becoming a Prosecuting Attorney.  After graduation and bar admission, I became a partner in the firm of Taylor, Taylor, Neff and Dobbs.  I left private practice when the opportunity of becoming the Prosecutor for Children and Families was offered in Newton County in October of 2000.

“Since that time, I have actively prosecuted felonies and misdemeanors in McDonald, Barry, Lawrence, Jasper, Vernon, Cedar, Barton and Newton Counties.  During that time, I have been responsible for the prosecution of sexual offenses, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, drugs and alcohol offenses, serious physical assaults and murders.  With over 80 jury trials, I have tried more cases to McDonald County juries than the last two prosecutors combined.

“Our county has never before been in a position to elect a Prosecuting Attorney with proven prosecution experience.  It is imperative that the citizens of McDonald County have access to skilled, efficient and effective prosecution.  I have personally spoken with multiple victims from McDonald County that have felt abandoned and re-victimized by ineffective prosecution.  It is critical that our citizens receive the best, most experienced, prosecution services available.

What are some of your goals if you are elected, not only right away but long term?

“Unfortunately, McDonald County has garnered a reputation of being “easy on criminals”.  I believe that reputation was molded primarily by the inexperience of prior prosecutors.  I know that reputation is false, because I have won many criminal verdicts in McDonald County, including State v. Kevin Todd, which resulted in a sentencing recommendation of life + 227 years!  This is the largest criminal verdict ever recorded in McDonald County. With effective prosecution, McDonald County will be recognized as a leader in criminal prosecution, and thereby curtail the number of expensive change-of-venue cases being assigned to our local Courts.

“I will also immediately improve the accessibility of the prosecutor’s office to the people of our county.  I will always make myself available to discuss concerns with the public, and my staff will do the same.  Furthermore, I will also seek to improve the relationship of this office with law enforcement throughout the county.  One problem frequently cited by officers is the inconsistent access they have to the prosecutor.  It is essential that the prosecutor’s office and law enforcement communicate openly and frequently. Not only will this improve relations between the two entities, it will greatly improve delivery of services to the public. I am serious about improving the collection and prosecution of bad checks.  Too often, a victim is left “holding the bag” and waiting on restitution.  This will be addressed by aggressively prosecuting bad checks, actively enforcing orders of probation, and seeking revocation when the defendant fails to satisfy his/her obligations.

“Prosecution of drunken driving offenses and offenses of driving while impaired needs to be more consistent, and more aggressive.  As a M.A.D.D. “Outstanding Prosecuting Attorney” award winner, I realize the importance of enthusiastic prosecution of these offenses. Another area of concern is budgetary. I believe that it is absolutely necessary to “live within the budget” allocated by the County Commission.”

Jonathan Pierce, Republican

Hometown: Anderson.

Education (High school and/or college/trade schools): McDonald County High School, 1998; Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, 2000; University of Arkansas-Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, 2003; University of Arkansas School of Law, cum laude, 2007
Current Occupation: Owner and operator of Pierce Law Firm, L.L.C.
Other background of interest (such as volunteer work/board members, etc.): McDonald County Farm Bureau Board Member; McDonald County Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Committee Chairman; McDonald County Fair Board Secretary; McDonald County Fair Dairy Superintendent; McDonald County Extension Council Member

What made you decide to run for public office? I want to be the McDonald County Prosecutor for one main reason, and that reason is to make a difference for my community and the community of my family and friends. I was born and raised in McDonald County, and I have a bond with this community. My wife and I also plan to raise our family in McDonald County, and I want to ensure that McDonald County is just as safe for my children and family as it was for me.

What are some of your goals if you are elected, not only right away but long term?
“I have several changes planned for the McDonald County Prosecutor’s Office that I would like to implement. First, I would like to decrease the backlog of cases that the prosecutor’s office is handling. I feel that infractions and minor misdemeanors can be dealt with quickly. In normal circumstances, infractions and minor misdemeanors will not carry any jail time as a punishment. So, in those instances, I feel a plea agreement should be reached relatively quickly with the defendant or the defendant’s attorney so that those cases can be closed. The quicker infractions and minor misdemeanors can be resolved, the more the McDonald County Prosecutor’s Office will save in time and expenses. This will also save the court time and money leading to judicial economy.

“Second, I would like to see more fitting punishments for serious misdemeanors and felonies. I think plea bargains are a powerful tool in case where the evidence may not be strong enough to meet the legal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”