Buchanan County Prosecuting Attorney Ronald R. Holliday today announced the establishment of a Career Criminal Prosecution Program within his office. The design and policy of the Career Criminal Prosecution Program is to seek the most severe punishment authorized by law. This program will focus on priority prosecution of high-rate dangerous criminals. The policy of the program will be to resist the delay in prosecution and seek expeditious resolution of cases. The goal of the unit will be to reduce crime, either by making sure that serious offenders are incarcerated, or by lengthening their sentences.
The program was established with the cooperation of Chief Chris Connally and Sheriff William Puett. Members of the unit will consist of a representative of the St. Joseph Police Department Detective Division, and the St. Joseph Police Department Street Crimes Unit, along with a representative of the Buchanan County Drug Strike Force. These law enforcement representatives will meet with Mr. Holliday and Michelle Davidson, an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, on a monthly basis. The unit will screen individuals currently being prosecuted and decide which of those individuals should be targeted by the program in the Prosecutor’s office. Mr. Holliday and Ms. Davidson will handle the prosecution of all individuals meeting the criteria established by the unit. The first meeting of the Career Criminal Unit was held this week in the Prosecutor’s office.
Missouri law provides for potential enhancement of punishment for “Prior and Persistent” felony offenders, which is defined by those individuals with two or more prior felony convictions.
“In my opinion, this is an area our office could make some improvement. We often are aware of individuals who have prior felony convictions but have not sought the maximum sentence possible in exchange for a lower sentence quickly. This program intends to target a few selected individuals who meet our criteria for the career criminal label and we will seek extended terms of sentence for those individuals convicted of the crime for which they are being prosecuted. Of course, crimes involving gun or physical violence will be a priority for the unit.” This intense level of prosecution is designed to yield increased sentences, thus limiting the possibility of repeat offenses by the same individual in the future.
“Of course, the ultimate decision regarding punishment of any defendant is always up to the Judge assigned to handle the case. This program will concentrate on doing our best as prosecutors to achieve our goals based on the facts of a particular case and the criminal background of the individual prosecuted.”
The unit has decided on the first individual to be targeted by the Prosecutor’s office. Shane Adams is charged with three counts in reference to an alleged crime on 3-1-19. He is charged with the Offenses of Burglary in the First Degree, Assault in the First Degree, and Possession of Methamphetamine. In reference to Counts 1 & 2 of the amended felony complaint, Adams is charged as a “Prior and Persistent” offender in the complaint with the allegation that he has prior felony convictions for Burglary and Forgery. In reference to Count 3 of the amended felony complaint, he is charged as a “prior and persistent drug offender” with the allegation that he has two prior felony drug convictions. Adams was released recently from Federal Custody after serving a sentence on a separate Federal Conviction for Felon in Possession of a Firearm.