WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Attorney Could See More Cases

Keokuk, IA – The Iowa Attorney General's office prosecutes crimes that take place within the state's prison system, including the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison. Attorneys are assigned regionally.

Lee County Attorney Mike Short says the lone prosecutor for the prison in Fort Madison has announced his retirement. He says that will take place prior to June 30.

Short says his office is being told that there is no money in the budget, at this time, to hire a replacement. He says if the position remains vacant, his office will have to start handling the prison-related cases.

Short says that means more time and resources for his office. He says the workload for a prison-related case can jump ten-fold with no probation and inmates filing documents to extend cases.

Short says the Iowa Legislature changed the code, several years ago, to allow the attorney general's office to stop prosecuting prison-related cases. He says he would have to hire an additional attorney if his case-load increases.

Short will not know if that is necessary until the Iowa Legislature decides whether to fund the position in the Attorney General's office. He says he has not included the additional employee in his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year.