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Jasper County prosecutor announces run for circuit court judge p - KOAM TV 7

Jasper County prosecutor announces run for circuit court judge position

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Judge David Dally Judge David Dally
Joplin, MO -

The prosecutor of Jasper County prepares to possibly switch roles from attorney to circuit court judge.  Dean Dankelson announces he will have his name on ballots in August for a circuit court judge election.  The announcement comes ahead of when candidates can file on Tuesday of next week to run for the position.  

"One of my friends had the analogy that you go from being one of the players on the field to the referee," says Dankelson.

Dankelson has been in the game as Jasper County prosecutor for the past 18 years, the longest term of any Jasper County prosecutor.  He took office the same time David Dally became circuit court judge.  Dally is retiring, and Dankelson says it's time to put to use all his years of training to become a judge.  Attorneys and judges deal with facts and the law.

"Then they make a decision based upon the facts and the law.  We do that here, we do that in the advocacy form, whereas a judge is neutral.  But I think it's the same principles, just applies a little differently," says Dankelson.

 Dankelson has handled cases involving murder.  But he says child advocacy and rehabilitation are two things in particular he intends to hold close to his heart, no matter how much closer he gets to the gavel.

"The next challenge is not only listening to cases and making sound decisions, but also working with the other members of the justice system to make the system work better," says Dankelson.

Dankelson doesn't want to make changes to current court programs, like drug rehabilitation.  Instead, he wants to improve behind-the-scenes efficiency, if possible.

"I think there are always ways to improve the system.  You're either getting better, or you're getting worse," says Dankelson.

Dankelson was the first prosecutor in the State of Missouri to have a paperless document system.  He wants to see how more technology can help judges.

Outgoing Judge David Dally, whose position expires at the end of this calendar year, says there is a mandatory retirement age of 70 for circuit court judges.  Dally is 67 right now.  Each circuit court judge position lasts six years before the position is up for another election.

Should Dankelson win the election for circuit court judge, Governor Jay Nixon would appoint a new county prosecutor, since the next county prosecutor election is in 2018.

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Media release

Dean G. Dankelson is pleased to announce his candidacy for Circuit Judge of Jasper County, Division 2. He will be running in the Republican primary set on August 2, 2016.
Dean is the longest serving prosecuting attorney in Jasper County. He was first elected in 1998 and is now in his fifth term. During that time, he has worked to improve the criminal justice system at the local, state and national levels.
Jasper County was the first prosecuting attorney’s office in the State of Missouri to utilize a paperless system. With offices in both the Carthage Courthouse and the Joplin Courts Building, this allowed the employees access to information no matter which office they were located. The prosecutor’s office initiated the establishment of a drug court. That model has been utilized to implement Mental Health and DWI Courts. Plans are also being made to begin Domestic Violence and Veterans Courts.
Dean is also a leader at the national and state level. He serves on the board of directors of the National District Attorneys Association. He is on the board of the Missouri Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, serving as President in 2010 and 2011. His service did not stop there as he was then selected to be co-chair of the legislative committee. Dean authored the criminal restitution bill passed by the legislature and he worked on the criminal code revision which will take effect in January, 2017.
Service to the community is also important and Dean has certainly done so. He is on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Center, serving as president from 2009-10. He currently serves on the Carl Junction Education Foundation and is the chairman of the board of the Joplin Sports Authority. Dean has played an active role in many other organizations within the community.
Dankelson has been the leader of 3 bond issues in Carl Junction, in which the citizens approved the building of the junior high, building storm shelters for every student and a levy increase to provide for school employees and teachers. In 2007, he was awarded as Friend of Education by the Missouri State Teacher’s Association.
Dean Dankelson’s goal as Jasper County Prosecutor has been to handle each case fairly but firmly. It has also been to improve the criminal justice system. He has been recognized as a leader in that system and is a frequent lecturer for the Missouri Southern State University Police Academy, Missouri State Highway Patrol and Missouri Office of Prosecution Services. Dean will bring that same sense of justice and same passion for the system to the judiciary as Circuit Judge of Jasper County, Division 2.
Dean and his wife, Debbie, live in Carl Junction with their 3 children, Joseph, Katie and Jeffery.

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