Chat with Todd Thompson, Republican candidate for Leavenworth County Attorney
October 31, 2008
An online chat will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 31 with Todd Thompson, Republican candidate for Leavenworth County Attorney.
This chat has already taken place. Read the transcript below.
Welcome to today's online chat with Todd Thompson, who is the Republican candidate in the Leavenworth County attorney race.
I'm Shawn Linenberger, news editor at The Mirror newspaper of Tonganoxie, and I'll be your moderator for today's chat.
Todd should be with us shortly.
Thank you Shawn for having me today. I appreciate being back. Happy Halloween to everyone. Thank you advance for anyone taking the time to ask questions or read over this.
Todd, thank you for joining us today.
A reminder that we are taking questions from our readers, so be sure to submit those questions.
Let's get started with our first question:
I recently read on a blog posting that it took you three times to pass the bar exam. Is this true? Also there's a lot of confusion on your number of jury trials. How many jury trials have you tried as the lead attorney that went from jury selection to verdict?
Thanks justice4all. I am not sure where people get this information about me. During the last 5 months I have heard more things about me than I have ever heard. So as to the taking the bar question, I don't even know where that came from. As for the jury trials, I have had 5. I have co-chaired 2 that went to trial. I have second chaired 2 and did one without other counsel. As a juvenile attorney I have done over 200 trials.
I appreciate this question, because a lot of people have been wrapped up with the number of cases I have done in jury trials. As head of the juvenile division my priority was juveniles. Those cases went before a judge not a jury. There is no difference in those cases than that. The same evidence, same burden of proof, same witnesses. In fact, sometimes the witnesses are more difficult to work with because they are children, very young children which devote more time and energy. Also, being head of the juvenile division, i was not set to only do a certain type of case. I did civil and every type of criminal case. I know what it takes to be successful in the court room.
Thank you, Todd.
As we wait for more questions from our online audience, let's take a question from our staff.
Todd, in a response to a questionnaire sent to you from our newspapers, you stated that your top priority " is improving the communication between the County Attorney's office, the law enforcement, and the community."
After meeting with voters during this campaign, does that remain your top priority, or has that changed in any way?
Thanks for that question. That definitely remains my top priority. As I have continued to go door-to-door throughout the county that seems to be the same problem everyone has with the County Attorney's office. I have met victims that did not understand what had happened with their case and law enforcement officers confused if their cases were declined because they did not get all the fact necessary to go forward with a case or some other circumstance occurred. Without this communication the people will never feel satisfied and the law enforcement officers are not knowing if they are doing everything they could be doing to make a case. One law enforcement officer told me about a list of decline cases he had without an explanation. It frustrated him to no end. The County Attorney's office needs to work with the law enforcement as a team. They need to receive education from the office on what new laws are coming into place and need to know where there can be improvements when they take reports. Also, these officers deserve the praise they deserve when they do a good job and work a good case. The County Attorney's office is only as good as the law enforcement that works with them and the law enforcement in turn can only be as good with the cooperation from the County Attorney's office. We need to make this relationship better. This is why I am endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police Troop 19 and Former Chief of Police Lee Doehring.
Mr. Thompson, with all due respect, you did not answer the question about how many times it took you to pass the bar.
Thanks justice4all. I actually didn't pass the bar the first time. My grandmother passed away around that time, but I continued on with the test. I guess it may not have been the wisest decision, but I am not one to quit. I regrouped and took it again and I am a lawyer. That has been what I have been doing as of late too. I have recently lost both my parents, but saw the greater need for this county. As much as I loved them, I knew this is what they felt was needed and wanted as well as the community. I know the law and that position. I have been doing it for the last five years and an attorney for the past eight. I am the president of the Leavenworth County Bar Association. I don't think any person in the legal community or law enforcment as any doubt in their mind about my abilities as a lawyer, in fact as a good attorney.
Thank you, Todd.
In neighboring Johnson County, there is a question on the ballot Tuesday regarding how judges are seated. The vote is about electing judges as one would other offices. What are your thoughts on this issue?
Thanks, and that is a tough question. My biggest concern about electing judges is that it becomes political and while they are presiding as judge the decisions they make may be political and not based on just the facts and the law. I do not want to ever feel a judge may have some bias. I also believe that those that work with the attorneys on a regular basis sit in a better situation to know who is of the right caliber of morals and ethics to sit on the bench. That being said, I don't see why it couldn't be an election and let the people decide. In my own campaign, I have noticed attorneys and law enforcement reach out to support me and let the public know. I believe the public can base their decisions on those that they trust and the information they hear to pick the best judge. I don't think a judicial position should ever be political. It's the same as the sheriff's race and the county attorney's race. This isn't a Republican and Democrat race, it's a race for what is best and what needs to be done. I would hope if it would become an election, it would not be on popularity but on who can do the best job. I would hope any judge ever elected, would not ever base a decision on politics.
Todd, many thanks for answering all of our questions today.
This concludes our chat with Todd Thompson.
Remember that our next chat will be at 1 p.m. today with Leavenworth County Attorney Frank Kohl. Questions may be submitted ahead of the scheduled chat or during the chat. And, for a look at all of our online candidate chats, go to www.tonganoxiemirror.com/chats.