Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gruender Challenges Mcculloch in Race for County Prosecutor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gruender Challenges Mcculloch in Race for County Prosecutor

Article excerpt

Four years ago, the two candidates for St. Louis County prosecutor ran a friendly race with almost no harsh words between them. That wasn't surprising, because they used to work together as assistants in the office.

This year's contest for prosecutor is nothing like that, with Democratic incumbent Robert P. McCulloch and Republican challenger Ray Gruender engaged in a bitter struggle.

Gruender, a former assistant U.S. attorney, alleges that McCulloch's policies are part of the reason for a rise in violent crime in the county over the past four years.

McCulloch accuses Gruender of distorting the office's trial conviction record, other statistics and some individual cases to attack him unfairly. He says fluctuations in crime aren't due to a prosecutor's efforts but that in any event, violent crime in the county has been down this year compared with last year.

The two also have clashed over how the office treats crime victims and notifies witnesses and whether it is aggressive enough in domestic violence cases. Gruender also has accused McCulloch of letting criminals off too easy in plea-bargaining and preparing poorly for trials. McCulloch disputes that, saying his office seeks as tough a sentence as possible in each case.

The winner will serve a four-year term. The salary of $65,000 a year will increase in January to $79,500.

Following are profiles of the two candidates for St. Louis County prosecutor.

***** PROSECUTING ATTORNEY ROBERT P. McCULLOCH PARTY: Democrat (Incumbent). AGE: 43. HOME: Kirkwood. OCCUPATION: St. Louis County prosecutor. POLITICAL CAREER: Elected prosecutor in 1990. PRIORITIES: Missouri's juvenile code is old and dangerous. The current law prevents me from prosecuting violent juveniles or from even knowing if they have a record. I will completely re-write Missouri's juvenile code so that violent juveniles receive the punishment they deserve. I will continue to work to shorten the almost endless death penalty appeals process. I will continue to always put victims first as I aggressively prosecute criminals for the people of St. …

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