Saturday, December 08, 2001

County attorney seeks re-election

By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — Veteran Democratic prosecutor Justin Verst will seek a second term as Campbell County Attorney in 2002.

        Mr. Verst, 53, said if re-elected he will continue the “aggressive prosecution of pornography, prostitution, nudity, DUIs, and other drug- and alcohol-related crimes and juvenile crimes.”

        He is not expected to draw a challenger in the May primary and Republicans have not announced a candidate to run against him.

        Mr. Verst, who lives in Cold Spring, was elected county attorney in 1998, defeating Fort Thomas Republican Bob Blau by about 4,600 votes.

        Before that, he worked for 20 years as an assistant county attorney with former county attorney Paul Twehues. During his time as a prosecutor, Mr. Verst worked to help shut down Newport's Cinema X, adult bookstores and several strip clubs.

        Earlier this year he was honored for that work by Citizens for Community Values, a Greater Cincinnati group that works to keep pornography out of the area.

        Mr. Verst also has implemented a program to increase prosecution of writers of bad checks.

        He has worked with high school students, bringing them into courtrooms so they can learn more about the justice system.

        Mr. Verst said he is also against abortion in all instances.

        As county attorney, Mr. Verst not only prosecutes misdemeanor crimes but also serves as legal adviser to the fiscal court, and other county agencies and departments.

        “I would like to feel I have played some small part in the successful and efficient operation of the Campbell County Fiscal Court during this present term,” Mr. Verst said.

        There is a partisan split on the court. Judge-executive Steve Pendery is Republican while commissioners Dave Otto, Roland Vories and Bill Verst, Justin Verst's nephew, are Democrats.

        But the court members have largely stayed away from the political bickering that some observers expected.

        “I feel it's a very positive sign that the Campbell County Fiscal Court has managed in large part to stay out of the news,” Mr. Verst said.

        Mr. Verst graduated from Newport Catholic High School in 1966 and from Xavier University in 1970. He received a law degree from the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University in 1976.

        He and his wife, Connie, have four children.


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