New Bonneville County Prosecutor Randy Neal sworn in
IDAHO FALLS – A new Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney was officially sworn in Monday morning.
Randy Neal defeated his predecessor, Alayne Bean, in May and was expected to take over the position in January. But he begins his role Monday after Bean recently accepted a new position as a Deputy Trial Court Administrator for the 7th Judicial District.
She resigned as prosecutor, meaning Neal was able to step in early. Bonneville County Commissioner Chairman Roger Christensen swore Neal in during the commissioners meeting at the Bonneville County Courthouse.
Neal says his vision for the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office going forward includes lowering crime rate and focusing on “serious crimes involving violence, criminal enterprises like drug dealers, and persistent violators who have criminal thinking.”
“Obviously, we are seeing some upticks in crime, and no measure of success will substitute for us bringing the crime rate down,” says Neal. “We don’t have enough prison space and I certainly haven’t heard anybody saying that they’re going to build another prison. We’re going to have to be convincing to our judges that our defendants are the ones that need to be in there.”
Neal tells EastIdahoNews.com that his mission is to put the emphasis on developing stronger sentencing arguments, and submitting stronger evidence before judges in order to lead to “better sentences on those folks who are the worst of the worst.”
The Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office has been dealing with a recent shortage of prosecutors after nine out of ten attorneys either left or are planning on leaving their positions by the end of the summer.
Neal says the situation has already been dealt with.
“We have a full prosecuting office today,” says Neal. “About half of our staff is permanent, five out of nine. We have four openings and we extended an offer today, so basically three openings.”
Neal says part of his mission is to make sure criminals in Bonneville County do not get off lax due to the fact that the prosecuting office does not have full, permanent staff.
“If any criminal out there thinks that there’s some benefit they’re going to get, they’re crazy,” he says. “The level of experience and expertise of these community attorneys who are stepping up – three of them are career prosecutors and combined they have over 100 years of experience. The community is not going to see issues with the prosecutor’s office being able to get prosecutions.”