Shelby Co. DA candidates speak against each other - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Shelby Co. DA candidates speak against each other

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CENTER, TX (KTRE) -

Former Shelby County district attorney Karren Price and current assistant district attorney Kenneth Florence aren't timid in airing each other's perceived dirty laundry.

Florence pulls out a judge's recent agreement with a convicted murderer's appeal argument.

It claims price poorly handled a capital murder case twelve years back.

"Our local district judge has found that Ms. Price has a demonstrated pattern of committing prosecutorial misconduct," Florence said. "How can we stop that from happening? I think on is someone who has done this before repeatedly, as these findings say, shouldn't be voted into the office again."

So Price throws back to Florence the connection he has with his former boss, former Shelby County DA Lynda K. Russell.

For more than three years, Russell has  been under investigation by the justice department on corruption charges and named in a class action civil lawsuit alleging highway robbery of minority drivers.

"This one who now acting DA signed off on some of those agreed judgements which are the subject of that very lawsuit," Price said. "Do you want to keep that apparatus in place or not? Do you want to turn the page and move on?"

"I was hired after allegations came to light so I came to this office knowing those allegations and I was not involved in any of that," Florence said.

Florence did leave the DA's office for a period of time, but returned. Price uses that too.

"He ran when he thought the fire was a little hot, I'm thinking, and then he came back when he thought the fire was turned down and he could get this appointment, maybe shield himself from some liability," Price said.

Florence says Price is making more of the issue than the voters.

"I actually expected it a little more, but people knew the situation, how I gotten here," Florence said. "It really wasn't a factor."

Florence, a first-timer to a political race, says his decision to run was based on requests by constituents for new blood in the DA's office.

"It is an uphill battle when you're not from a place, so to speak, but just people in the community kept approaching me saying, 'Please, you need to run, you need to run,'" he said. "We really need someone from outside the community to handle this office.'"

Price says her decision to run also came from constituents asking for a clean slate, yet wanting an East Texan in office.

"Do I want to talk to someone who I know, who possibly knows me and my family, whose been here, who understands this county or do I want to got talk to a stranger?" Price said.

One last appeal to voters to make their choice so they can be the ones to face yet another opponent in the general election.

Copyright 2012 KTRE. All rights reserved.

     DONNA MCCOLLUM, KTRE, EAST TEXAS NEWS NINE.

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