One particular month in, the new Johnson County Prosecutor states he’s set the ball rolling to dwell up to his marketing campaign promise of earning the business office much better.
Prosecutor Lance Hamner was elected for a second stint as prosecutor previous calendar year, ousting incumbent Joe Villanueva in the Republican key. Working on a marketing campaign stating the prosecutor’s place of work missing an “unacceptably high” quantity of conditions at demo. Hamner gained with 58% of the vote.
The Everyday Journal sat down with Hamner very last week for an job interview about his programs for the office and what variations he’s by now built.
Phone calls for assistance
Hamner’s family members has been in Johnson County due to the fact 1822 — ahead of it even was a county. A Johnson County native, Hamner moved all-around for a although as a child and younger grownup right before returning to Indiana, he mentioned.
Back again home, he applied to get the job done at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, but was not decided on. So, he left again to turn out to be a police officer in Utah. He at some point returned to Indiana for a remaining time to go to legislation school. When he graduated, he labored for an Indianapolis regulation agency.
“I was contemplating, ‘I like this. This is excellent. It’s fascinating,’” Hamner reported.
Then he had a conversation with his aged legislation school classmate Sheila Carlisle that modified anything. Carlisle experienced informed him she was trying her 3rd murder case in Marion County, and Hamner was straight away jealous, he reported.
“I thought, ‘She’s dwelling my dream,’” Hamner mentioned. “That’s my desire and she’s living it.”
So he give up his private practice work and joined the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office environment to get demo practical experience. He ultimately resolved to return to Johnson County to run for prosecutor in 1990, Hamner mentioned.
Hamner received that election and his subsequent reelection bids, serving as the county’s best prosecutor for 18 a long time from 1990-2008. He resolved to run for Top-quality Court docket 3 judge in 2008, serving for 13 yrs until eventually early 2022.
By early 2022 though, Hamner experienced been mulling one more operate for prosecutor. On the other hand, he was at first hesitant for the reason that he did not want to have a contested campaign.
But as a judge, he saw concerning things that he considered confirmed the prosecutor’s office was not dealing with situations as perfectly as they should have been, especially in front of his bench, he mentioned.
“I believed they’d shed their way,” Hamner stated.
He had also been requested by quite a few persons to operate again, he reported.
Modifications get started to materialize
Due to the fact Hamner took workplace at the start out of January, he has by now restructured the business and its 15 deputy prosecutor positions — which includes chief deputy prosecutor. He merged the office’s domestic and sexual intercourse crimes divisions into a single division, and moved a further prosecutor from frequent felonies to the new division, he mentioned.
“We merged domestic and sexual intercourse crimes since there are so several issues that are just linked,” he reported.
The business office will also aim greatly on teaching and mentoring, Hamner stated. Along with internet hosting teaching sessions at the prosecutor’s office environment, Hamner designs to from time to time ship prosecutors for state-of-the-art schooling in other states, he reported.
The goal of mentoring prosecutors is to assistance more youthful attorneys develop into terrific demo attorneys, Hamner said. In the ads for the place, Hamner inspired men and women to implement by saying the prosecutor’s place of work would be a terrific place for those people who aspire to be terrific demo attorneys.
“That’s what we intend to do, make our folks into the best of the ideal,” Hamner stated.
On the public’s facet, the prosecutor’s place of work is setting up on redoing their site and launching a new Facebook webpage, Hamner stated. The previous webpage stopped putting up at the close of December.
‘Want to see results’
Involving Hamner currently being selected by voters on Might 3 right until shortly ahead of he took business at the start of January, he has been recruiting some of the very best trial attorneys in the state for the office’s 15 deputy prosecutor positions — including chief deputy. He strategies to run the prosecutor’s workplace like a legislation organization where staff members would be promoted centered on benefit, he said.
His standards for potential workers were being legal professionals who had a excellent operate ethic, tons of trial experience, fantastic speaking abilities and very good authorized acumen.
“I want to see effects. If anyone suggests, ‘I’ve performed 30 trials’ or ‘I’ve gained three,’ I’m not intrigued,” Hamner reported. “Anybody can eliminate. I want people who acquire trials, and so I picked men and women who have a lot of trial expertise and a track record of winning their trials.”
Amid Hamner’s hires is his outdated classmate Sheila Carlisle, a previous Marion County judge. Carlisle, who was Hamner’s chief deputy prosecutor at the prosecutor’s workplace in the 1990s, is now the office’s chief trial deputy, getting part in important trials and training attorneys in demo matters.
As a prosecutor, she has tried out quite a few murder and substantial-profile conditions, including a scenario in 1991. This was the initial murder conviction underneath Hamner’s administration in the 90s, he explained.
One more deputy prosecutor Hamner hired was Brandon Robinson, who is notable for his function on a serial rapist cold situation in Shelby County. The suspect in the case, Stephen Hessler, was sentenced to 650 many years in 2021 for the string of dwelling invasions-turned-sexual assaults that occurred in the 1980s.
Hamner also employed previous county prosecutor Stephanie Caraway, defense attorneys Carrie Miles and Ranissa Dycus and former Marion County deputy prosecutors Bryan Smith and Matt Kubacki, together with Middle Grove-place lawyer Brittany Carroll.
Hamner did offer the previous administration’s staff the selection to implement for work beneath him, but extremely several did so, he stated.
As prosecutor, Hamner designs to launch extra tales to the community about the value of what the county’s prison justice technique does and why they are carrying out it. This incorporates stories about how the diverse elements of the process — like the prosecutor’s place of work and local law enforcement — are working with each other to retain folks safe and sound, he claimed.
It will also consist of their attempts to retain crime from Marion County moving into Johnson County.
“We want to preserve crime from leaching from Marion County to Johnson County,” he reported.
He also has a information for all of the citizens of Johnson County, whether or not they elected him or not, about what he options to do as a prosecutor.
“I want this prosecutor’s business office to be the best prosecutor’s office, bar none. All over again,” Hamner stated.
Some of these ambitions could be challenged by a absence of cash as this year’s spending plan was slashed by Villaneuva very last 12 months. To get sure line merchandise that are underfunded back up to a ordinary running amount he will arrive just before the county council upcoming thirty day period.