VIDEO: State's Attorney Candidates Share Plans, Spar on Experience Factor

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Published on October 5 2012 7:25 pm
Last Updated on July 14 2013 4:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

The candidates for Effingham County State's Attorney agreed on almost every issue during a forum Friday, but did spar over who had the most experience in criminal court.

The event featuring candidates Brian Kibler and Deborah Niebrugge Reimers was sponsored by the Effingham County Chamber of Commerce.  We featured live video streaming of the forum on www.979xfm.com and www.kjcountry.com and the forum will be aired at 9am Saturday on KJ Country 102.3.  You can also watch the forum in its entirety below.

The forum's only combative moments came when a question was asked as to the candidates' criminal court experience.  Kibler said he'd had more experience than Reimers, and said Reimers said their level of experience is about the same, but the candidates agreed that the trial workload of both had been relatively small.

As to other issues, both minimized the amount of time they would spend on administrative duties and said they plan to spend most of their time in the courtroom.  Both indicated they would follow retiring State's Attorney Ed Deters' practice of utilizing grand juries to consider several cases rather than schedule individual preliminary hearings.  Both support the use of cameras and tape recorders by the media in the courtroom.

A question was raised about a law that takes effect January 1 allowing parents or guardians who knowingly authorizes or permits underage drinking on their property to be charged with a Class A misdemeanor.  Reimers said she would prosecute the offenders as part of an effort to promote a healthy lifestyle, while Kibler said he would consider the matters on a case-by-case basis.

Both candidates said they enthusiastically support Drug Court, and Kibler raised the idea of starting a Veterans Court to consider the cases of those home from the war who might have been physically, mentally or psychologically damaged during their service.  Reimers agreed, saying she had a defense client who might have benefitted from Veterans Court who is instead serving a prison term.

When asked about juvenile cases, both candidates said they hope to utilize diversionary programs to keep those straying toward the edge away from major offenses, and both said they would aggressively prosecute truancy cases involving instances where parents have let their children skip school on a regular basis.

Both candidates said they plan to make themselves available to the public and the media, and Kibler said he plans to increase the electronic web presence of the offense to make more information available.

Kibler is the Republican candidate, Reimers is the Democrat candidate; current State's Attorney Ed Deters is not seeking re-election.