Missouri Attorney General issued the following announcement on Feb. 1.
Eric Schmitt is celebrating a successful first month as Missouri Attorney General while looking ahead to his priorities for the office in the coming months. Schmitt was officially sworn into the office on January 3, 2019.
Since assuming the office, Attorney General Schmitt has focused on accruing a talented staff, increasing communications between staff and departments, cultivating a culture of professionalism and respect for the rule of law, establishing relationships with prosecutors and law enforcement agencies, and taking aggressive steps to combat violent crime.
“It’s an honor of a lifetime to represent Missourians as Attorney General, and this first month has been a successful start to achieving the goals I set for the office when I was sworn in,” said Schmitt. “We have a talented team assembled that’s working in conjunction with prosecutors and agencies across the state to protect Missouri’s six million residents. I look forward to building on this momentum moving forward.”
In his swearing in address, Schmitt stated that he wanted to make his office the “envy of Attorneys General” across the country. Since then, Schmitt has focused on obtaining and recruiting a quality staff and increasing communications among offices across the state. When Schmitt took office, he announced that Cris Stevens, an assistant U.S. Attorney for 15 years, to serve as Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Litigation, and Tom Albus, another former Assistant U.S. Attorney, to be his first Assistant Attorney General. The Attorney General’s office also boasts a deep bench of lawyers with significant litigation experience to achieve the best results for the state.
Additionally, the Attorney General’s office launched a Supreme Court Fellowship program to give less experienced attorneys to work in the administration on either a high profile matter in their area of expertise, a matter outside of their area of expertise, or an administration project. Programs like this are part of Schmitt’s efforts to make his office a destination for talented lawyers across Missouri.
Throughout his first month in office, Schmitt has made it a point to open lines of communication with his staff in offices across the state, as well as local prosecutors and law enforcement agencies. Schmitt met with the general counsels of state departments, and personally met with hundreds of judges, lawyers, and staff members from the across the state to listen to their recommendations for the office. Schmitt also met with prosecutors in the Kansas City area last week to discuss opportunities to work together to combat violent crime, the opioid crisis, and human trafficking. Schmitt plans to continue to meet with prosecutors across the state in the coming weeks.
Schmitt hit the ground running in early January and took on de-facto Debtors’ Prisons in an amicus brief. The brief stated that it’s Attorney General Schmitt’s opinion that jail debts or “board bills” cannot be classified as court costs, as it puts indigent individuals unable to pay those costs at risk of incarceration. Schmitt also joined Secretary of State Ashcroft in praising the Missouri Western Court of Appeal’s decision to protect the confidentiality of survivors of domestic violence in the Safe at Home program.
Schmitt’s Consumer Protection Unit has been busy as well, securing large settlements for Missouri in the Neiman Marcus data breach, the Fiat Chrysler and Bosch settlement, and the Depuy and Johnson and Johnson settlement.
Lastly, in keeping with his duty to protect Missourians, Schmitt has taken violent crime head on, launching his pioneering Safer Streets initiative in mid-January. Schmitt announced the unprecedented cooperative effort with U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen to combat alarming crime rates in the worst areas of St. Louis. In addition to designating three to five prosecutors as Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys to more fully prosecute violent crime, the Safer Streets also features continual community outreach. Schmitt has already met with citizens in St. Louis, and the Attorney General’s Office will maintain contact with affected communities to hear their concerns and answer their questions about violent crime.
Original source can be found here.