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Politically Speaking: Patrick Hamacher wants circuit attorney to be 'smart on crime'

Patrick Hamacher
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Patrick Hamacher to the program.

Hamacher is one of four Democrats running for St. Louis circuit attorney. Incumbent Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce is not running for re-election, which likely contributed to the larger-than-normal field. The winner of the Aug. 2 primary will likely be Joyce’s successor, since St. Louis is heavily Democratic.

The four candidates – Hamacher, state Rep. Kim Gardner, D-St. Louis, assistant circuit attorney Mary Pat Carl and attorney Steve Harmon – recorded episodes of Politically Speaking earlier this month. We’ll be posting their episodes throughout the week.

Hamacher grew up in Brentwood and attended De Smet Jesuit High School. After getting his undergraduate degree from Loyola University Chicago, Hamacher received his law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2011. He subsequently became an assistant circuit attorney in Joyce’s office, where he’s prosecuted homicides, assaults and robberies. (Joyce, by the way, endorsed Carl a number of months ago.)

Hamacher received the endorsement of the Ethical Society of Police, an organization that represents African-American officers. The endorsement was notable because two of Hamacher’s competitors (Gardner and Harmon) are black.

Here's what Hamacher had to say during the show:

  • To forge stronger relationships between law enforcement and the African-American community, Hamacher said he’d emphasize “going out into the community and educating people – letting people know who their circuit attorney is and who their assistant circuit attorneys are.” “I’ve always believed that being a prosecutor is much more than just convictions,” he said. “It’s about really trying to address some these root causes of crime and keeping people out of the revolving door of the criminal justice system.”
  • While he understands St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson’s frustration with crime, Hamcher said it’s not productive to blame judges. “I don’t think there are many criminals who are going around the city committing crimes because they think the judges are soft,” he said.
  • Hamacher supports a “smart on crime philosophy,” which he said entails “going after and identifying the most violent offenders.” He wants to pour more resources into prosecuting violent offenders.
  • Hamacher would bring in an independent prosecutor whenever a police officer kills somebody in the line of duty. He suggested that a retired U.S. attorney might be a good candidate for such a job. “We rely on the police every day to do their job so we can do our job,” he said. “And I do think there is a conflict when we’re asked to prosecute those types of cases.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Patrick Hamacher on Twitter: @patrickhamacher

Music: “Superman” by Goldfinger

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.