I made the motion to appoint Ross Braden as the Lee County Attorney not because of a North v. South issue. I was there and listened to all the applicants when they were interviewed. One question I asked all three attorneys was how they felt on plea bargaining. You see, Mr. Boddicker has a history of plea bargaining a lot of cases. Some of these cases are felonies that have been plead down to a simple misdemeanor. I feel the only hope for victims of crime in Lee County is the county attorney to see that their rights are protected. If you are a victim of a crime in Lee County and the person accused of violating your rights gets off with a slap on the hand, how would you feel? When I asked Mr. Boddicker how he felt about this, he said that plea bargaining was a very important tool to which I agreed but, you don’t have to give away the farm. Where is the justice for the victim? The only person that can help Lee County citizens is the Lee County Attorney. Too often we hear about the person accused of a crime and not those who are the victims. So, if I were a victim of crime in Lee County, I would want Ross Braden protecting my rights and not someone who has a history of plea bargains. I don’t care if it takes long or if the County Attorney is busy, I would want justice for the victims.
I see the yard signs for Mr. Boddicker saying” Experience Matters” and I agree. However, Mr. Boddicker has never been the County Attorney where Mr. Braden has been for the past few months. He now has more experience as the County Attorney than Mr. Boddicker. It is easy to criticize from the outside looking in. In the time Mr. Braden has been County Attorney, things have been running very smoothly.
Ross Braden is a very good attorney. It looks to me when some people cannot find any legal reason he should not be county attorney, they resort to attacking in other ways. Such as bringing up Mr. Braden’s past mistakes when he was a nineteen to twenty-one year old kid. Mr. Braden has turned his life around and for the past twelve years has led a good life with his wife and two beautiful daughters.
I’m sure we all have made mistakes in our lives, and most of us have never been caught, because after two drinks, if you are stopped you could test legally drunk. There is a verse in the bible that says, “You without sin cast the first stone.” Also, when this tactic does not work then the North v. South issue is brought up. No one from the south part of Lee County complained for forty years when Mike Short was the county attorney and lived in the Keokuk area, but neither did anyone from north Lee. It seems it only becomes an issue because Mr. Braden does not live in the Keokuk area. We need to get over this.
In closing, I would like to say I took this job of appointing a county attorney to finish out Mike Short’s term very serious. I checked and the county sheriff endorsed Ross Braden, as did the West Point Police Chief, along with other officers in Lee County I talked to. I felt this was important because they have to work the most with the County Attorney. They fully supported Ross Braden.
Mr. Braden could have told us about the two OWIs but the state bar deemed him able and appropriate to practice law so there was no need. Also, we did not ask the other two attorneys about their past. I remember when George W. Bush ran for president. Just about three weeks before the election it came out that he had gotten an OWI when he was in college, but was still elected president. I feel the board did make the right decision appointing Ross Braden and he has proven himself these past few months as a great county attorney.
Member of the Lee County Board of Supervisors