Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Two vie for District attorney

by Rob Ireland

July 19, 2012

ELKHORN For the first time in more than three decades, outside leadership will take over the Walworth County District Attorney's Office.

That's because District Attorney Phillip Koss, who has been the county's lead prosecutor for about two decades, will take the bench as a Walworth County Circuit Court Judge. Before taking the top job, Koss was an assistant district attorney. As was his predecessor, David Danz, who now works as a defense attorney, and his predecessor, Robert Kennedy, who is retiring as a circuit court judge.

Steven Harvey and Dan Necci, both Republican candidates for the job, hope to beome the first person elected to the seat from outside the office since James Carlson won it in 1979.

In this week's Regional News both candiates are extensively profiled.

If elected, Harvey plans to earn his keep in the courtroom by handling cases, not just by running the office.

"I certainly expect to maintain a case load and I expect to be litigating," Harvey said. "I would like to take on as much as attorney Koss, in both type and volume."

As district attorney, Koss personally handled many of the major criminal cases, including homicides and sexual assaults. If a homicide occurs, Harvey expects to personally handle the prosecution.

"I think the public expects the district attorney to handle those cases, not a subordinate," Harvey said.

One area that is a concern for Necci is that Walworth County, when compared to other Wisconsin counties, has fewer prosecutors per capita than average.

"That is a concern for me and it's a conversation I'd like to have with the Department of Administration," he said.

As for the current staff, Necci applauded them for their work and the large case loads they handle.

If elected, he doesn't plan on just working in the office, he also wants to litigate in the courtroom.

"There is no question I will be handling a case load," he said.

However, Necci said he isn't sure what type of cases he will prosecute.

"That's a decision that has to be made with the individuals in the office and what is most efficient for us," he said. "We have to look at how are we getting the job done best for the people of our community.

For more information on this race, pick up a copy of the Regional News.