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Robinson settles in as new county attorney

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Changing of the Guard

By Thomas Barr

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - With the exception of battling through a cold, Monica Meredith Robinson said settling into the county attorney’s office has been a fairly routine experience.
    Of course, unless you consider the need to replace a computer system that was a bit antiquated.
    “It’s gone very well,” said Robinson, who took office on Jan. 3. “It’s been a lot of work getting everything in place but it has gone very well.”
    Robinson attributed the smooth transition to a staff that has experience in the court system and the retention of three prosecutors.
    Getting the computer system in place is a major point of emphasis. Once installed, Robinson said the county would have the best technology that would open the court system up to less paperwork and quicker processes.
    In terms of operations at the office, Robinson said she had several goals.
    First, she said a goal is to have people with a criminal complaint have the ability to talk with an attorney. So far, that has worked out well.
    Not all complaints will turn into criminal charges but by having the staff attorneys see the people immediately, they quickly get an answer.
    Another change is to bring the handling of child support cases back into the county attorney’s office.
    For the past several years, an outside firm handled the administrative portion of the child support office. The county attorney’s office would prosecute.
    Now, Robinson said she is working on arranging space to have all the child support activities occur on-site at her office on second floor of the courthouse.
    She expects this to streamline the process and also speed up the goal of getting child support paid by the defendants.
    Another change will be to have prosecutors in charge of certain courtrooms. Susan Took will handle all cases in Judge Rebecca Ward’s courtroom while Doug McCann will do the same in Judge Jennifer Porter’s courtroom.
    Prosecutor Cristalle Maraman must agree to any DUI case.    
    Robinson said that one reason to have just a single prosecutor sign off on any plea agreement is to make sure they don’t slip through the system. She knows that if different prosecutors are working cases, they might not be aware that the same person has similar charges in other courtrooms.
    “This is a very serious issue,” Robinson said of prosecuting DUI cases.
    In the future, she is looking at a possible series of diversion courses, which would be mandatory in order to get any plea agreement. The first she would try to implement would be in DUI cases.
    The county attorney plans to be in the courtroom as much as possible during her four-year term.
    Besides being excited about the job, Robinson is very excited about the possibilities for the office, especially with the technological opportunities.
    Having wireless communication inside the courthouse and having the ability to print out forms on the spot will be very worthwhile.
    “There’s a lot of opportunity for improvements,” said Robinson. “I know we can do a lot of good things.”