Sunday, September 24, 2000

Buring cites his experience

Says it sets him apart from rival

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — It's the experience, stupid.

        That's the primary message Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Don Buring wants to get across when voters compare him to Republican challenger Bill Crockett of Fort Wright.

Don Buring
Don Buring
        It is also a partial response to criticism from Mr. Crockett, who has accused Mr. Buring of timing high-profile cases so they will be prosecuted close to Election Day.

        Mr. Buring, a Villa Hills Democrat, has been chief felony prosecutor in Kenton County since 1984. Before that he served five years as an assistant commonwealth attorney.

        Mr. Buring said his courtroom experience prosecuting felonies sets him apart from Mr. Crockett, an assistant Kenton County attorney who does work as a prosecutor but who handles only misdemeanor cases and arraignments in District Court, the lowest court in Kentucky's judicial system.

        Mr. Buring practices in Circuit Court where felony cases, including murder and other major crimes, are handled.

        He told about 100 supporters at his campaign kick-off Thursday night that his experience makes him the “clear choice.”

        “I hope that people realize the job that not only I've done but the folks who have been in the office the last 16 years, the job that they have done,” he told the group at Devou Park Memorial Building.

        “But ... it becomes necessary to do a little bit of brag ging to talk about our record and likewise to talk a little bit about the opposition and what they have done.”

        Mr. Crockett has been a lawyer for 13 years and has worked in the county attorney's office for seven years.

        “I don't have felony trial experience because when I was a (private practice) trial attorney, I did civil trials,” he said.

        But as the chief prosecutor for Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson, Mr. Crockett is responsible for “case management,” handling and assigning hundreds of cases a day.

        “I'm responsible for the day-to-day flow of cases in the office,” Mr. Crockett said.

        Two weeks ago, Mr. Crockett accused Mr. Buring of dragging his feet on high-profile cases, so they will attract more media coverage closer to the Nov. 7 election. Mr. Crockett acknowledged he could not prove his allegation.

        Mr. Buring has denied the claim, which he has portrayed as politically motivated.

        “That's a reflection of the job he's done and a reflection of the type of person we are running against,” Mr. Buring said.

        “Unless I've got the proof, unless I can substantiate a claim, (I) don't make the claim,” he said.

        “It does no one any good. I think that's a quality that every commonwealth attorney needs, and it's obviously one that has been lost on our opponents.”


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