Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 30, 2012

Two run for state's attorney position


MT. VERNON — In the days leading up to the Nov. 6 election, the Register-News will be featuring candidate profiles in contested local races. The first candidates to be profiled are those running for Jefferson County State’s Attorney — Douglas R. Hoffman and Nobel Dowell.

Hoffman was appointed to the position the last week of December 2011.

“I am running for State’s Attorney to continue to fight to keep our community safe,” Hoffman said. “In my time as State’s Attorney, I have reduced the backlog of pending felony cases, successfully prosecuted many of our county’s most violent, repeat offenders, and sent over 100 guilty criminals to prison. I want to continue to send a message to our county’s criminals that crime does not pay in Jefferson County.”

Hoffman is the son of Dr. Daniel and Linda Hoffman and brother of Eric Hoffman. He is married to the former Ashley Piercy. Before being appointed as State’s Attorney, Hoffman practiced law for five years.

“I tried cases in multiple counties throughout Southern Illinois and handled numerous cases in the state and federal trial and appellate courts,” Hoffman said. “I served as assistant state’s attorney for our county, prosecuting our county’s felony drug cases. I am the only candidate with experience working in the State’s Attorney’s office and with experience making the difficult decisions on a daily basis that affect people’s lives.”

Hoffman said the most important issue in the office is to fight crime.

“We must continue to fight to remove violent, repeat offenders from our streets,” Hoffman said. “We must continue to fight to protect children who are the victims of physical and sexual abuse. We must continue to reduce the backlog of pending cases that has plagued our county’s criminal docket for years.”

Hoffman served as past legal counsel for the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, is a past president of the Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Corporation, a past president of the Jefferson County Bar Association, a member of Mt. Vernon Rotary Club, a board member of YMCA of Jefferson County and a member of the Knights of Columbus St. Mary Parish.

“This election is about who can get the results our county deserves from its State’s Attorney,” Hoffman said. “I have achieved positive results in our criminal justice system as your State’s Attorney. I have reduced the backlog of pending felonies by resolving over 550 pending felonies in the past 9 1/2 months. It has been my honor to serve as your State’s Attorney. I will never let up in the fight to make our county a safer place to live, work and play.”

Dowell said he is running for State’s Attorney to “provide the office the benefit of my extensive experience as a way of giving back to my community.”

Dowell was introduced to the law at an early age, born and raised in Mt. Vernon, the son of Nobel Y. Sr. and Betty J. Dowell, who engaged in the private practice of law for more than 50 years. He is a third generation attorney in Southern Illinois, as his grandfather began practicing law in 1900, his father in 1930 and he started his practice in 1976.

He and his wife Julie (Gieselman) have four children — Elijah, Emily, Holly and Penny — and one granddaughter, Alexis.

“I am the only candidate with criminal murder trial experience, death penalty as well,” Dowell said. “I am the only candidate with extensive civil and criminal law experience, both prosecuting and defense.”

Experience is one of the issues Dowell said is lacking in the current office holder.

“A lack of maturity and experience in leadership, and the current appointee’s blatant favoritism,” Dowell said, adding his platform is that, “everyone should be treated as equals with fairness but justice for all, the exercise of wisdom that inexperience can not provide.”

Dowell said he has extensive experience in the state and federal courts, both in criminal and civil law. A graduate of Mt. Vernon Township High School, he graduated from Southern Illinois University with degrees in history, the classics and economics. He graduated from the University of South Dakota School of Law, and interned with the U.S. Attorney, District South Dakota, prosecuting federal crimes before entering his family’s private practice.

He is a member of Central Christian Church, has volunteered for nine years as a cook for the soup kitchen in Mt. Vernon, is a member and speaker for The Gideons International, and incorporated for no fee the Crisis Pregnancy Center and let the organization us his office for its first years. He has been a private pilot since he was 15-years-old, a biker since that early age as well, with extensive rides all over the U.S., Canada and up to the Arctic Circle. He is a member of the National Rifle Association and the Goshen Trails Long Rifles Muzzleloaders Club.