Friedel announces bid to return to Fayette County State’s Attorney’s Office

FAYETTE COUNTY — Former Fayette County State’s Attorney Stephen Friedel has announced his intention to seek to retake the office in November 2016.

Stephen Friedel
Stephen Friedel

With 12 years of service as State’s Attorney, Friedel says the people of Fayette County know his abilities and judgment, reminding them of his exceptional record of prosecuting methamphetamine manufacture and the crimes associated with that plague.

While State’s Attorney, Friedel’s office devoted the majority of its resources to the prosecution of major felonies, he says, with their emphasis on sex crimes and other violent offenses. He says it is his hope that Fayette County shares his desire to return to better days.

In a press release announcing his candidacy, Friedel says he is not pleased that revenue collection through traffic enforcement has become the priority under the new Fayette County State’s Attorney.

He commented that using law enforcement to raise revenue is not an acceptable form of taxation, and that by and large it places police focus on otherwise law abiding citizens enforcing relatively minor offenses.

He says there are actual criminals committing serious crimes in the community and he wants return to stopping those offenders and making their prosecutions the number one priority of law enforcement.

According to Friedel, traffic enforcement should be dictated by community safety, not the desire to put cash in the government coffers.

What Fayette County needs, says Friedel, is a skilled litigator, willing to try cases. His ability to resolve a case that adequately punishes the crime, gets justice for the victim and shows the community that the criminal behavior is not acceptable, was achieved by trying cases rather than to continuously soften plea offers to avoid trials. During Friedel’s tenure in office, Fayette County tried more jury trials than any surrounding county.

Now, he says, the office has become dependent on plea bargains and has had only had five jury trials in that time, with the current State’s Attorney having only tried two of those cases — losing both. The current Assistant State’s Attorney has tried one, losing it.

Friedel says the only attorney from the office that has won a jury trial, no longer works there.

Finally, Friedel says during his three terms as Fayette County State’s Attorney, a person’s political views were never considered in deciding who was to be investigated, who was charged or how they were treated. He says he refuses to use the office against those who oppose him and he will stay true to that commitment.

Friedel comments that he has been honored that the citizens of Fayette County trusted him with the office for twelve years, and with their support, he would be honored to return to a career of serving the county.

Friedel will face Republican Fayette County States Attorney Joshua Morrison, who has announced his intention to run for a second term.