Cox to file for associate judge

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Johnnie Cox

Barry county prosecutor aims to fill Judge Head's position

Barry County Prosecuting Attorney Johnnie Cox has announced he will file for the associate circuit judgeship being vacated by Judge Victor Head in December.

Cox, 39, of Cassville, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the position of Barry County Associate Circuit Judge in Division I, has served 12 years as Barry County prosecuting attorney in three consecutive terms beginning in 2002.

Cox said he believes his experience as prosecutor sets him up well to be elected to a judgeship.

"It's a different opportunity for me to serve the people of Barry County and a unique opportunity in that judgeships don't become available very often," he said. "It's a job I've always been interested in doing."

Cox said in his 12 years as prosecuting attorney, he has been thrilled to be able to appear in front of judges J. Edward Sweeney, Michael Garrett, Carr Woods, Robert Wiley and Head.

"I feel with the experience I have had as prosecutor, I will be able to render fair and impartial decisions," he said. "As prosecutor, I have the obligation to pursue justice and uphold the law, and the two roles, prosecutor and judge, are very similar in that respect."

Head, who has been a judge in Barry County since 2007, has decided to retire in December as filing for another term would put him past the state's mandated retirement age.

If Cox does not get elected to the judgeship, he will not be eligible to return as prosecutor, as that position is also up for election in November, forcing him to choose between the two.

"It has been a privilege to serve as prosecutor for three terms, and I hope the citizens have been satisfied with the job I've done, and I hope they give me the opportunity to continue serving as associate judge," he said.

Cox was born and raised in Cassville, where he attended Cassville public schools, graduating in 1993.

He then attended Missouri Southern State College, graduating in 1997 with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, going on to attend law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and earning his law degree in 2000.

Cox then served as an assistant prosecuting attorney in Taney County for two years. He married Megan Gibson in 2004 and the two currently live in Cassville, along with their three children, Chaney, Molly and Hale.

Cox is a member of the Cassville First Baptist Church and also attends the Cassville United Methodist Church. He also is a member of the Cassville Rotary Club and the Missouri Farm Bureau.

The Republican primary election for the judgeship will be held on Aug. 5, and the general election will be held on Nov. 4.

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