Griggers validated by vote

Published 7:42 pm Friday, June 4, 2010

Greg Griggers reclaimed his position as the 17th Circuit District Attorney in Tuesday’s election, and is ready to continue his tenure for another six-year term.

Griggers first entered the district attorney’s office in 2003 when, as an assistant district attorney, he was appointed by then-governor Don Siegelman to complete the unfinished term of Nathan Watkins, who retired after 23 years at the post. Griggers was elected to the position for the first time in 2004.

The 17th Judicial Circuit covers Marengo, Greene and Sumter counties, meaning that, unlike the other candidates running for local positions, Griggers has to check the results of the election in three counties.

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“You’re waiting for every box to come in,” he said. “You know where the larger boxes are in all three counties, the ones you need to fare well in, so until those boxes come in, you have no way of knowing what the outcome is going to be.

“It’s just a lot of nervousness until you finally get enough in that you can start getting a feel for which way it’s going to go. It makes for a long night.”

Griggers claimed almost twice the number of votes as opponent Barrown Lankster in Marengo County, 4,557 to 2,486, and took a majority of votes in Greene County. Lankster took a majority of votes in Sumter County, but not enough to overcome the considerable difference in Marengo County.

“What that tells me is that the voters approve of what we’re doing and are responsible of doing,” Griggers said.

One of the programs that Griggers’ office is pleased with is the Drug Court program, now in its third year in Marengo County. The program provides those committing crimes to satisfy a drug habit to get themselves and their criminal records clean.

“Like any new program, it is so hard to get funding,” Griggers said. “It’s been difficult from a funding standpoint, but from a results standpoint, it’s been good. It provides us with an alternative for people who are only committing crimes because of a drug dependency.

“We’ve graduated about a dozen people to this point, and it was really rewarding to see those people get their cases dismissed and leave that courthouse knowing they didn’t have that permanent stain on their record of a felony conviction and, most of all, that they were drug-free.

“We’re helping them and we’re helping the community as well,” he said. “We’re not incarcerating them, which is something else that’s a burden on the taxpayers. It’s just a win for everybody, all the way around.”

Griggers said he is grateful for the support he got throughout the campaign and in the voting booth.

“My job is different from a lot of people who get elected,” he said. “Like it or not, sometimes, we make enemies in cases because we’re prosecuting somebody who committed a crime. I’m not saying we have to, and maybe that’s a big part of the approval that we got from the voters. I think we deal with our defendants fairly so we don’t make enemies that we don’t need to make. Even those that we prosecute – if they think that you’ve dealt with them fairly, they don’t hold any hard feelings towards you, while if you did, you can expect to make an enemy of that person.”