Scully, Weiss up for Isabella County prosecutor
The 2012 election for the Isabella County Prosecutor comes down to two Republican candidates: an attorney with a number-crunching background and one of the current prosecutor’s employees.
Risa Scully, the current chief assistant prosecutor to Isabella County Prosecutor Larry Burdick, is running against Tom Weiss, a local attorney with experience in banking and finance.
The winner of the election will replace Burdick, who said he was entering retirement after serving 24 years in office, the longest serving prosecutor in the county’s history according to published reports.
“It’s been a terrific experience for me,” Burdick said. “I can’t think of a better job than as a lawyer. It’s been rewarding.”
Scully has been working in the prosecutor’s office for 14 years. Her current position as chief assistant prosecutor includes supervising and organizing felony cases, as well as neglect and abuse cases.
“I know the nuts and bolts of how to run an office while being able to keep a case load myself,” Scully said. “I’m in the courtroom everyday.”
Scully, a lifelong resident of Isabella County, graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice before attending law school.
Scully said she has an advantage over Weiss because of her experience and education in the criminal justice field, and the connections she’s formed with the law enforcement officials. Weiss hasn’t had a job as a prosecutor before and became an attorney as a second career choice behind being a banker.
“Scully would be an excellent prosecutor,” Burdick said. “She’s done everything there is to do in the prosecutor’s office. I think she would be great in that position.”
Tom Weiss said if he is elected as the Isabella County Prosecutor, there are three issues he would make more of a priority: veterans, mental illness and leniency of drug charges.
Weiss said veterans suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder should be treated with more understanding.
He also said people who pass marijuana should not be treated as if they are drug kingpins. Weiss said we should not “ruin their lives and careers by calling them professional drug dealers when all they’re doing is selling a joint to a friend.”
Isabella County should also be more understanding of crime caused by mental illness, he said.
“More than 20 percent of the people we send to prison have a severe mental illness. There is less and less money and fewer and fewer programs that the states offer for mental health services,” Weiss said. “I want to put together some good alternatives so that we’re not just warehousing people with mental health issues in the state prison system and expecting them to get better. They don’t.”
Weiss said he’s a stronger candidate than Scully because of his background with administrative and management duties. He also said he can better assist the county commission on issues like contract-property law and labor relations.
“(The current prosecutor’s office) very much have an attitude that if we haven’t thought of it, it’s not a legitimate way to deal with things,” Weiss said. “I’ve been shaking hundreds of hands and put hundreds of yard signs out. I feel very confident.”
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