From the Desk of Attorney Caleb Henson

I have been in office now a little over a year as County Attorney for Leon County. With the flu season having struck my family and the courthouse harshly, this release is a bit delayed. However, I want to take a little time to give an update on some of the things accomplished in my first year in office.

As the County Attorney, I am responsible for misdemeanor prosecution as well as advising the Commissioner?s Court and the county?s other elected officials regarding legal questions when called upon to do so. This means there are a wide range of issues I work on daily involving every aspect of local government.

Since I last submitted a report to the papers, we have successfully been able to continue the progress we started in the County Court. We have held court twice a month and the dockets are nearly clear of the back log I started my term in office with.

It has been a few months short of a year since we started holding court, and we have been able to accomplish a lot. Criminal defendants have received sentences totaling 1,423 days in jail, 638 months of probation, 2,425 hours of community service to the county, $52,157 in fines to be paid to Leon County, and $20,169.90 in court costs to be collected by the Leon County Clerk.

The Hot Check program, headed by my legal assistant Victoria Downie, has also gotten into full swing over the last year. We have been able to collect $21,453.51 and return that money to Leon County businesses. We are continuing to work for these businesses and I hope any business owners experiencing issues with hot checks will contact us.

The Pre-Trial Intervention program for first time offenders has continued with 26 cases being resolved with this program. Of those cases, only 3 have failed to complete the program so far. I have been happy with the success we have seen for these mostly young defendants. While I do my best to go after crime, I try to give a second chance to those who deserve it.

In addition to doing the misdemeanor prosecution that is part of my role as County Attorney, I have been handling some felony cases in District Court. When the District Attorney is unable to prosecute a case, I am asked to step in as a Special Prosecutor. This saves Leon County money by not forcing the county to hire someone else to step into this role to prosecute these felony cases.

I have been surprised at how long it has taken for this to happen, but we had our first jury trial this week on Wednesday. It was DWI 2nd trial. The jury came back with a guilty verdict and Judge Byron Ryder sentenced the defendant to 100 days in the Leon County Jail. I want to thank the members of our community who served on the jury for their service and I hope they found it rewarding.

I have worked hard this last year for the Leon County. I hope to continue to serve our community and look forward to doing so.


James Caleb Henson