Justin Crocker brings experience into campaign for Commonwealth's Attorney


Posted on October 31, 2018 7:20 PM



 

Justin Crocker knows from hands-on experience what is involved in being a commonwealth’s attorney. He served as the assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Logan and Todd counties for seven years before being named Special Prosecutor for the 7th Judicial District in 2017 by Attorney General Andy Beshear when those counties began a full year without the elected commonwealth’s attorney being active.

“The job of Commonwealth’s Attorney is not easy.  It involves making very difficult decisions that affect victims, defendants, families, and the community, and these are not decisions that I take lightly,” he says. “I have taken an oath to make those decisions and I do not take that oath lightly either.”

Despite those difficulties, Justin David Crocker is seeking the position as the elected—not the acting—Logan/Todd Commonwealth’s Attorney. He is the Democratic nominee for the post, subject to next week’s General Election.

Crocker grew up on a dairy farm in the Auburn School District just west of the Simpson County line at Middleton. “I spent many mornings of my youth getting up at 4:30 to milk cows before school, many late nights nursing sick cows, or pulling baby calves, and many long hours in the field baling hay or chopping silage,” he recalls. During that time he was active in 4-H and showed Holstein dairy cattle at the Logan County Fair. He went on to be vice president of the very active Logan County High School FFA. He still is involved in the operation of that dairy farm today.

He attended Auburn Elementary and Middle School before attending LCHS, where he was a basketball player. He then attended the University of Kentucky, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Economics with minors in Business and Ag Communications.

He followed that by attending the Appalachian School of Law in Grundy, Va., a small mountain town just each of the Kentucky state line. While he was in law school, he completed an externship with the Fayette County Pro Bono Program in Lexington and completed a summer clerkship for Logan and Todd Circuit Judge Tyler Gill.

Now he is back in his home county. He has been married to Kristi Crocker for 11 years. She is employed at First Southern National Bank and is one of the most active members of the Logan Chamber of Commerce. They have three children—Landon (12), Grayson (8) and Lylah Jane (4), who all attend Auburn School.

Upon returning home, he took his first position with Barren River Area Safe Space or BRASS, a domestic violence shelter and prevention program. He began as victim advocate, in courtroom settings providing assistance to victims of domestic violence. He was promoted to Advocacy Services coordinator, overseeing other victim advocates. “I am proud to say I was the first male that they had hired to those positions at that time.”

In 2008 he took a position with the public defender’s office in Hopkinsville, providing criminal defense. He began in Christian District Court before being transferred to Logan and Todd counties, first practicing in front of Logan and Todd then-District Judge Sue Carol Browning by defending juveniles, misdemeanors, child support cases, or traffic offenses

Then he was promoted and began to practice in Logan and Todd Circuit Court in front of Judge Tyler Gill, defending indigent people charged with felonies, drug offenses, sex offenses, and homicides.

In 2010 Crocker accepted the position of Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for Logan and Todd counties. “It allowed me to spend more time with my family and in my local communities. It allowed me to sleep better, but not because of any potential guilt of the people I was representing people. I firmly believed then, as I do now, that every defendant in the criminal justice is entitled to competent legal representation,” he explains. “I struggled with the people I truly believed were innocent and not being able to help them. If there was someone in jail that I though was innocent and I didn’t get them out, I lost sleep or I would visit them at the jail at night or on the weekends.

“So when I was offered the position, I saw it as an opportunity to help people and protect our communities. First and foremost, I could be directly involved with helping the actual victims of crimes. But I could have more control over resolutions of defendants as well, including harsher penalties when necessary, but also treatment when appropriate.”

He lists a “few things we have accomplished since I have been appointed:”

o   Increased use of technology – Begun process toward e-filing and looked into electronic file management

o   Improved chain of custody for evidence within our office – Purchased new evidence locker, with logs, and a defined chain of custody

o   George Walker Murder & Tampering Conviction – 55 years, which was the highest number of years that could have been imposed by the jury

If he is elected to the office next week, he hopes to accomplish the following:

o   Increased presence in community and availability to community by Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office

§  Greater presence at community events in both Logan and Todd counties

§  Construction of a Facebook page to create social media presence, and perhaps starting an interactive website for convenience of the community

§  Intend to start a regular “office hours” in Todd County. I have always felt that victims of crimes should not have to travel to another county to see the prosecutor handling their case

§   “On-call” cell phone to be carried by an employee of the office at all times to be available to the community, dispatch, law enforcement, social services, and other agencies

o   Continue to strengthen working relationships with law enforcement

o   Increase the emphasis on victim’s rights and victim input in the prosecution of a case

o   Continue to battle the drug epidemic

o   Continue to take a firm stand on violent crimes, sex offenses, and offenses against juveniles

Justin Crocker says, “The past eight years have been the most rewarding years of my life. In that time I have personally prosecuted thousands of cases in Logan and Todd counties. I truly believe that I have had a positive effect on Logan and Todd counties, and it has been an honor to help keep our communities safe.

“I am running for Commonwealth’s Attorney because I am the most qualified candidate for this position. I have been in the trenches of it for years. I know the old cases that keep coming back up, I know the current cases that we are fighting right now, and I know the cases that will be upcoming through district court or ongoing investigations. I know how to do the job of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, but I also know how to improve the job of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in order to better serve the people of Logan and Todd counties.”

Political advertisement paid for by Justin Crocker

 




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