Count down to kick out!
Posted by Ray the D.A. on Tuesday, September 27, 2016
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – Next week, Fayette County will have a new Commonwealth’s Attorney. After 32 years, current Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Larson is retiring. During his leadership, his office has grown from sixteen employees, to thirty.
“You talk about how proud you are of the people you’ve kind of raised up here,” commented WKYT’s Miranda Combs.
“Oh, yeah,” Larson responded. “That’s part of the deal.”
Larson led Combs to a boxed-up office full of memories. There were piles of pictures taken during big trials, and pictures of his grandchildren, wife and mother. “She was the feistiest woman I’ve ever known,” Larson recalled about his mother. She passed that characteristic on to her son. He said his father taught him that rules are meant to be followed. That mindset eventually led him to a love of law. “It just kind of fits. It fits my personality,” Larson said.
For more than three decades, Larson has prosecuted the most high-profile cases in Fayette County. “I say to people who are friends now, I’m sorry we’ve ever met because something crummy had to happen before we met.” He said victim’s families hope he and his team will make it all better. “They think when the trial is over it’s going to be better. Trials are awful for families because they have to re-live it,” he said.
Larson said he still re-lives some cases, too. The Shane Ragland case is his biggest disappointment. The jury found Ragland guilty of killing Trent DiGiuro, then an appeal changed everything. “I get bitter about that reversal. When I get out of this job, I can tell you how I really feel,” Larson smiled.
An issue Larson never holds back on is repeat offenders, and not learning from the past. “The public is scared because these people are out committing crimes. That’s what really pisses me off. Is the business that we don’t learn from our history,” he stated.
Larson, 73, will still go to work in a new office every day. He will continue to fight to lock up repeat offenders and continue his social media presence.
Working with Ms. Persley has been a wonderful experience. Everyday she provides new learning opportunities as we travel from the office to the courts. I am impressed with how much Ms. Persley cares for her victims. Ms. Persley always has an enthusiastic tone and loves to share her knowledge and time with those affected by crime. She makes sure she does everything in her power to put them at ease through the trial. Behind the scenes, Ms. Persley must document all interactions: telephone, email, voice mail, and more. I did not know that this extent of documentation was used. On the days we go to court we have watched arraignments, guilty pleas, special hearings, and even an assault trial. I have learned how complex the trial process is. The more we go to court, however, the more I understand the process and the legal jargon. Today, Ms. Persley will be explaining the process of how to speak to a victim over the phone. I am excited to make my first phone call!
During my first two weeks here at Commonwealth Attorney’s office I have learned many things that would seem unreal to the normal civilians eye. Through the first week I toured both the circuit and district court and the police station. With wanting to become a police officer later on in life, it was neat to see the different areas throughout the police station. After we were done touring everywhere we sat in on some cases. Observing these cases was very different than the drama you may see on TV. District court handles smaller cases while circuit handles more criminal cases. The judges in court are very serious but like to be very sarcastic. In some cases they would have lawyers that defended multiple defendants at the same time. In video arraignments, it was interesting to see and hear what the people, that were taken to jail or that were in the audience that were given a citation or made bond, had to say about what they did or didn’t do. I have seen people of many looks and actions while sitting in court cases. Everyone from lawyers, defendants, victims, or even just bystanders in the audience all showed the different personalities