A few weeks ago, Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser made the announcement that he will be leaving the prosecuting attorney’s office to pursue an election bid for the position of Associate Judge of Division Six. The position will be open to due Judge Liston retiring at the end of his latest term.
The Weekly Observer met with Mittelhauser to discuss his upcoming bid for election, as well as some of his accomplishments while in office.
Mittelhauser has been with the Pettis County Prosecutor’s Office for the past 28 years as prosecutor and four years prior to that as an assistant. Mittelhauser was asked what he felt were just a few of the things that he and his office accomplished over his time there.
“Successfully handling the rare, serious cases; violent cases and at the same time taking care of all the other stuff that comes along every day and every week,” he said of one accomplishment.
He added, “We established a crime victim’s assistance program in the prosecutor’s office with the sheriff and police chief. We started the first multiagency drug task force. It was successful and it was funded by a grant. That grant dried up about 10 years ago.
“There was a time when we would get five or six drug search warrants a year. After it started, we would get five or six a month,” Mittelhauser explained.
Remnants of the multiagency drug task force are seen in Pettis County today in the form of the S.T.I.N.G Unit and the work the sheriff’s office does in regards to drugs in Pettis County.
Mittelhauser was asked when the decision was made to pursue the position of associate judge.
“It is something that I have thought about for a long time. It has been a goal of mine for a long time. Judge Liston’s retirement provides an opportunity now. I think any trial lawyer pictures himself or herself as a judge. It is a combination of opportunity and readiness to leave this office,” Mittelhauser explained.
Mittelhauser was asked if the decision to leave the prosecutor’s office was an easy one and he replied, “It wasn’t an easy decision to make, because I have enjoyed serving as prosecutor. I spoke with my family many, many times.
“I have had lots of support from people that promise to help financially, putting up signs and going door to door. All of those things are equally important. I have been very gratified by the wide range of help that I have been offered.”
Mittelhauser was asked if his time as prosecutor would serve him well in the Division Six court system.
“These particular positions, 85 percent of the cases assigned to Division Six are the same kinds of cases that we handle now; criminal cases. Half of the divorce cases are heard by Division Six and Division Six also hears juvenile cases. Every case we file begins in Division Six,” he explained.
Mittelhauser seems excited to begin the first step towards the upcoming election.
“I am excited to get the campaign started and put it behind me. With the help of family and friends, I am going to run a very energetic, honest campaign. My emphasis is my experience over the last 28 years. It fits the Division Six case load perfectly,” Mittelhauser said.