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story.lead_photo.caption Julie Smith/News Tribune Cole County Presecutor Mark Richardson

Mark Richardson said his years of experience with a variety of legal matters makes him worthy of re-election to the Cole County prosecutor's office.

Richardson, who is opposed by Locke Thompson in the Aug. 7 Republican primary, has served the past 12 years as Cole County prosecutor. Before that, he was an assistant prosecutor and municipal judge, as well as a staff member in the Missouri Attorney General's Office.

"My broad base of experiences are all important and help me in making decisions," Richardson said. "I have tried over 120 criminal jury trials which include death penalty murder cases, crimes against children, arson and illegal drug pushers. It is this experience that gives the public the assurance that criminals will be held accountable for their crimes."

Two years ago, Richardson was chosen by other elected prosecutors in the state to the office of president-elect for the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys and will become president of the association in October.

"Victims and their families have seen my experience at work in our courtrooms and know with confidence that I make good decisions on which charges are put forward in the criminal court," he said. "Most recently, I have added two full-time victim advocates to help serve victims. Several murder cases are presently pending where the victims and their families deserve to have a person with experience working to obtain justice for them and our community."

On the matter of considering defendants eligible for treatment courts of probation, Richardson said he will continue to work to keep the safety of residents as the most important factor in that decision.

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"Those defendants with violent and dangerous pasts must continue to be incarcerated," he said. "Punishments to dangerous criminals serve to both protect the public and provide deterrence to other would-be criminals. Crime rates must remain low to afford the quality of life law-abiding citizens deserve. Our courts should never be expected or forced by politicians to engage in 'revolving-door, soft-on-crime' measures that might threaten our right to live and prosper in a safe community just to keep our jail costs low."

Richardson said he wants to keep himself and his office free of special interests and partisan politics.

"I have an ongoing professional relationship with the many law enforcement and state agencies which submit cases for review and prosecution to our office, and we are on call every hour of every day to help serve law enforcement officers who keep our community safe," he said. "I will continue to keep the Office of Prosecuting Attorney of Cole County as it must be not clouded by politics or beholden to any individuals."

As of May 1, Richardson had filed his statement of committee organization, Richardson For Prosecutor, with the Missouri Ethics Commission. To date, no reports or financial summaries had been filed with the commission regarding campaign finance matters, and according to commission officials, the deadline to file a report is July 16.

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