WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Maureen Shelton has worked in the District Attorney's Office for 23 years and has spent the last seven as Wichita County District Attorney.
"We've had over 200 jury trials and 22,000 convictions since I've been in office," Shelton said.
She's running for re-election against former employee, Assistant District Attorney John Gillespie. Shelton said she's proud of what the DA's office has accomplished the last seven years and thinks she has more to offer.
"I played basketball in Burkburnett and it's my way of continuing to be part of a team and contributing to this community," Shelton said. "Because my father was in the Air Force and retired here. So this has become my home."
Gillespie said that Shelton has done the county a disservice by not being in court trying cases since she took office. Shelton said there's more to district attorney than just being in the courtroom.
"There's a budget to manage, there are employees to manage, there are over a dozen law enforcement entities that you need to give advice to and guide through investigations," Shelton said.
She said one of the office's strengths is getting good plea deals.
"There's no reason when I'm getting plea bargains like that to go in the courtroom and waste taxpayer dollars and have the potential of getting a lowered jury sentence," Shelton said.
Gillespie also said that the office is hemorrhaging losing 11 of 18 prosecutors. Shelton said that's an issue with all DA offices throughout the state because private firms offer more money for prosecutors with trial experience.
"We're dedicated to the community's safety and protection," she said. "We work hand-in-hand with law enforcement and we want the best for this community and we will work hard for you."