Politics for the People: Interviews with District Attorney Candidates
JACKSON, Tenn. — Continuing our political coverage, we sat down with the candidates running for District Attorney for Tennessee’s 24th Judicial District, which includes Benton, Carroll, Decatur, Hardin and Henry counties.
*Note: These interviews are listed in alphabetical order.
Incumbent District Attorney General Matthew Stowe, who represents the 24th Judicial District, says he has many years of criminal law experience.
“I’ve got eight years of experience prosecuting now. We’ve got a great team in place. We have a lot of important trials coming up. We’ve got three times the violent felony convictions of the last administration,” Stowe said. “The team is really working great right now. I want to keep leading this team as we continue to work our way through the back log of cases that come up during COVID.”
Stowe says if re-elected, he would also tackle several issues.
“We got that 100% conviction rate in homicides. We want to keep that. The second thing we’re going to focus on is continuing to protect elderly and vulnerable adults. That is my area. That is my passion. I’m considered one of the state’s experts in it. Of course, we always protect children. We have almost a 100% conviction rate. They’re tough cases to try, often times ‘he said, she said.’ But we stick at it, and we’ve got to because, especially during COVID, a lot of children were abused and we had no access to them. So there are a lot of child molesters out there awaiting trial, and we want to make sure we get to them. Covering all of those and always domestic violence. Fifty percent of all violence in the state of Tennessee is family abuse related, and it’s usually all occurring in the same home. We see a lot of bad animal abuse cases here, and my office fights hard in those cases because if we can take them out when they’re abusing the animals, we might get to them before they get to the grown ups,” Stowe said.
Republican candidate Neil Thompson says he also has various years of experience in criminal law.
“I’ve been in criminal law ever since I graduated high school. I majored in criminal justice when I went to college. After I graduated college, I went to law school. I worked with the Board of Probation Parole. While I was in law school, I got my temporary law license and worked for the DA’s office in the 21st, which is Williamson County and that area prosecuting cases. And as soon as I graduated law school, I moved back here, opened a private practice, and I’ve been predominantly doing criminal law since then,” Thompson said.
Thompson says he will work on several issues if elected District Attorney.
“One priority is the child sex offenses in our district. I believe that’s one thing that needs to be addressed. I consider those most heinous crimes that there can be because these children are victimized, and it’s something that affects them for the rest of their lives. So I believe those are the people that we have to concentrate on and put them behind bars. Right under the child sex abuse would be the child abuse cases, then as we start looking through, obviously we’ve got the serious crimes we need to fix. If we have murders, things like that, those cases need to go to trial and get actual punishment. We don’t need to be giving them these plea deals where they’re getting out in their 40s and 50s, and they’re back on the streets. We’ve got to cut down on the actual drug dealers. There’s a difference between a kid out here with a little bit of marijuana for instance. That kid, his first time offense deserves a break so we don’t ruin his life. But the guys that are coming here bringing these pounds of poison into the community, those are the people that we need to be taking out, giving serious sentences, and putting them behind bars so they quit spreading it. We have a lot of theft cases and I’ve got a couple of plans that I believe after speaking to some circuit court clerks, speaking to the judges, I think we can do some things to at least get some restitution to these victims,” Thompson said.
Election Day is May 3.