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Montgomery names Simpson chief deputy prosecutor

Crawford County Prosecutor Jim Montgomery last week named former four-term Harrison County Prosecutor Ron Simpson his part-time chief deputy.
Montgomery said he offered the job to Simpson of Corydon after trying unsuccessfully to find a deputy prosecutor from within Crawford County. Simpson recently concluded 16 years as Harrison County prosecutor after choosing not to seek a fifth term. Simpson was succeeded by Dennis Byrd, also of Corydon, Simpson’s longtime chief deputy prosecutor.
Montgomery said Simpson agreed to accept the job Dec. 31.
“I needed someone of strong credentials and impeccable character, and Ron fit the bill,” Montgomery said.
Simpson said he fully meant to retire, but he liked the idea of staying in prosecution on a more limited basis, with someone else calling the shots.
“I knew I was going to miss prosecution,” he said. “It’s good for me in that it gets me back into prosecution, which I love dearly.”
After Montgomery defeated incumbent Steve Owen by 46 votes in the Nov. 5 election, he said he would wait several months to determine if a deputy prosecutor was needed. While working on case studies and talking to people, Montgomery decided a deputy was necessary to help him tackle the workload. He added that he and Simpson forged a strong professional relationship while he worked in Harrison County as a public defender during Simpson’s tenure as prosecutor.
“I think Ron did this more as a favor to the county and me than as a career move for him,” Montgomery said. “I feel very fortunate that he was willing to help us.”
Montgomery said Simpson will be in the office on Mondays and Thursdays, the county’s major court days, as well as when needed, for a total of about 20 hours per week. As a deputy prosecutor Simpson will not be required to live in Crawford County.
Simpson said he hopes he can offer experience and suggestions as he helps prepare cases for trial and also hopes to try some cases himself. Simpson will also work collecting child support, Montgomery said.
“Whatever duties Jim assigns me, that’s what I’ll do,” Simpson said. “I might make it a little easier for him (Montgomery).”
Simpson said he served as a deputy prosecutor in Crawford County for about six months in 1981 and is familiar with the county and its judicial system from the days when its circuit court was paired with Harrison’s.
“I’m very familiar with Crawford County,” he said.
Montgomery said Simpson’s experience and expertise will be extremely valuable to him as he embarks on his first term as prosecutor.
“He (Simpson) knows a lot about the situation we’re in,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery said business has run smoothly during his first week on the job, and he expects Simpson to be an asset to the office in the next few months as he prepares for several felony trials.
“We’ve got some really heavy duty things coming up, and I intend to try them,” Montgomery said.