Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Michelle Snodgrass: Why I'm Running for Commonwealth Attorney


By Michelle Snodgrass 

I am running because this is my home. I look at the people of Campbell County I see my former teachers, the people I grew up with, my neighbors. You, the people of this community, are the reason I chose to continue my work as Commonwealth Attorney.

When I began as a prosecutor in Campbell County 18 years ago, I felt a responsibility to protect the community that had always protected me. Yet 18 years later, that sense of responsibility has not faded. It’s only grown stronger, and that is exactly why I am seeking re-election.

As your Commonwealth Attorney, I have established an office that true criminals fear, one that puts the safety of our community first, and one where victims can come to seek justice. The felony cases that come before me are the most serious crimes in Kentucky, so we work to ensure that these crimes are punished with an equally serious penalty. I have a message to the drug dealers of the region: not here – not in our county. If you sell drugs in Campbell County, where our citizens drive and our children play, there is only one sentence coming from my office: prison time. My office secured the first jury verdict in Kentucky finding an individual guilty of the new crime of Importing Heroin (bringing heroin from Ohio to sell in Campbell County). My reputation for being tough on drug traffickers is no secret in criminal circles, as countless defendants have remarked that they “shouldn’t have crossed the river.”

The heroin epidemic facing our region is unprecedented, and its effects have rippled into our every-day lives. We must fight this, and we must win. It has never been more vital to our community to have an experienced prosecutor in office to meet this challenge head-on, and my two decades battling drug crimes have prepared me for it. I have been a board member with the Northern Kentucky Drug Strike Force, I founded the Campbell County Drug Task Force, and I have put countless drug dealers in prison. This success is a result of working together with the many talented police officers in our county. They know that it is imperative to have an experienced prosecutor as your Commonwealth Attorney. I am honored to be the only candidate for Commonwealth Attorney to have received the endorsement of the Campbell County FOP Lodge 10.

In 2015, I successfully petitioned the state for increased funding to address the heroin issue that was plaguing our community. I created and instituted a “Rocket Docket” program that’s main focus is to efficiently review every drug possession case and get those individuals into drug treatment. As a result of my program, hundreds of individuals have been placed into treatment facilities, reducing incarceration costs and saving taxpayers money. My program was identified as one of the most successful of its kind in Kentucky, and the savings to the taxpayers of Campbell County have been calculated to be over $2.7 million.

The Commonwealth Attorney is also responsible for being the voice of crime victims in the courtroom.  One is never truly the same after being a victim of crime. They say that time heals all wounds; after two decades, I have found this to be untrue. You cannot erase memories. Whether it was a physical or sexual assault or a home invasion, crime victims do not recover from their trauma; they become survivors of it. As the Commonwealth Attorney, I cannot give them their old life back, but I can give them one thing: justice. When a criminal victimizes one of our fellow citizens, it is personal for me. In recent months, my office has obtained life sentences for both a serial burglar and a murderer after hard-fought jury trials.

To some, this is just a political position. To me, it’s much more than that; it’s a calling. Simply put, there’s too much at stake; for our county, for our children, for all of us. Being Commonwealth Attorney is not something you can learn overnight and with what we’re facing as a community, experience has never mattered more.

Crime is not going away. I have fought it in this county for the last 18 years, and I’m asking for your vote so that I can fight it for 6 more.

If you are ever the victim of a crime, I guarantee that you will want the most experienced prosecutor on your side. Take the word of someone who has experienced it first-hand.

The following is written on behalf of Michelle Snodgrass by Jay Poston:

I am the father of a murdered son – Ryan Carter Poston. Ryan was my only child.  He was my everything.  It is a parent’s worst fear realized when your child takes their last breath before you take yours.  The death of your child, even more so the murder of your child, casts a shadow that never leaves you.  It invades your sleep and haunts your will to live.

Within days of Ryan’s murder, I had my first of what would become six years of meetings with Campbell County Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass.   I tried to approach that initial meeting as though it were a job interview for Michelle.   Prosecuting murder is serious business, and those of us who love Ryan had already been violated once. Think of the added violation it would be to have a young, inexperienced prosecutor seeking justice for your murdered child.   Commonwealth Attorney is the last place the citizens of Campbell County would want on the job training.

While my grief over the murder of my son was consuming, my burning passion and new focus was seeking and attaining justice for my beautiful and kind-hearted child.  As with many in Campbell County who had never been touched by violent crime, I knew little of Michelle.  I was aware of her father, Jack Snodgrass, an admired public servant to the people of Campbell County and a good man.  I was hoping that apple had not fallen far from the tree.  It hadn’t.

To me, justice is not a partisan issue.  Michelle’s party affiliation meant nothing to me.  Why waste time talking about or campaigning on that which has no bearing in the prosecution of a criminal.  I did not.  It would have served my purpose just as well if I had asked Michelle her favorite color. Politics is an irrelevant issue with Michelle Snodgrass.  She is without question the least political person I have ever met.  A word to the wise – one calls Michelle a ‘politician” at their peril.  She will quickly correct you that she is not a politician; she is, like her father, a public servant.

My very first question to Michelle was about her prosecutorial experience.  I learned she earned her position of Commonwealth Attorney the old-fashioned way – she worked her way from Assistant Commonwealth Attorney to Chief Assistant to Commonwealth Attorney.  It took years of training, hard work and sacrifice. It is dangerous and foolish to think simply by being elected Commonwealth Attorney you are prepared for the responsibilities of the job.

In that first meeting with Michelle, a fighter was at the top of my list of qualities I was looking for in the person who would prosecute the murderer of my son. Michelle is and was that fighter.  Make no mistake, that courtroom is a battlefield.  The stakes are literally life and death, justice and travesty.  Everyone should demand a prosecutor who is tough, experienced, competent and passionate about justice for you, your loved ones and your neighbors.

Over six years, two trials and nine defense lawyers, Michelle Snodgrass battled these highly paid and experienced adversaries. In each trial, our homegrown prosecutor carried the day for justice for my family and all the citizens of our county.

In that courtroom, Michelle is Ryan’s voice.  In that courtroom, she protects and defends Ryan’s good name and honor.  And in a beautiful way, in that courtroom, Michelle Snodgrass is not only a prosecutor doing her job; she is also a loving, protective parent watching over my child.   I am the childless father of a murdered son.  Michelle Snodgrass and her experienced team vindicated the good name and honor of my child when twelve good citizens of Campbell County found the murderer of my son guilty of murder and recommended a sentence of life in prison.

The birth of my son Ryan was the greatest gift given to me.  My son’s soul being able to rest in peace is the second greatest gift given to me in my life.  We who love Ryan are eternally grateful for the hard work, dedication and commitment Michelle Snodgrass brings to her job, her calling, every day of her life.  I thank God for Michelle’s belief in my son’s right to life.

To my friends, to my neighbors and to the citizens of Campbell County – this election is not about electing a politician.  It is about re-electing a prosecutor, and as my father would say, a damn good one – Commonwealth Attorney Michelle Snodgrass.

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