Cole County St. Louis County

On November 6th you have the opportunity to elect the most powerful official you may not know.

Meet the Candidates

These candidates are asking for your vote for Prosecuting Attorney in 2018. We believe that voters should keep their elected prosecutor accountable. We strongly encourage all candidates to end the system of cash bail, which punishes those who can’t afford to buy their freedom from jail and lets rich people walk free. All candidates should commit to the use of alternatives to jail or prison and treat the root causes of crime. Candidates should commit to ending cash bail, improving diversion practices, and fostering transparency in their office in order to support criminal justice reform. To meet your Cole County candidates in person, please join us for a candidate forum on October 23rd.

Read the Smart Justice Platform

Wesley Bell


D.K. Hirner


Locke Thompson


What's a Prosecuting Attorney?

Here in Missouri, the Prosecuting Attorney is powerful - they are one of the most influential elected officials in our criminal justice system.

The prosecuting attorney's job is to seek justice in criminal cases, work to prevent crime, and serve as a leader in the diverse communities they represent.

The Prosecuting Attorney has a tremendous impact on our community and people’s lives. The Prosecuting Attorney decides whether someone will be charged with a crime, which crimes to prosecute, and who gets a second chance through diversion or treatment programs. The Prosecuting Attorney can also use their position of power to advocate for change in our state, including more funding for our state’s broken public defender system.
Elections give us an opportunity to review Prosecuting Attorney candidates’ policies. We can look at their positions on the death penalty and mass incarceration, or how they will handle cases of misconduct by police officers or other prosecutors. It give us the opportunity to know if they will work to keep juvenile offenders out of the adult prison system whenever possible by treating kids as kids. Elections allow us to ask about the Prosecuting Attorney’s vision for leadership, how they will address racial bias in the criminal justice system, and how they intend to listen to our community’s needs.
The people elect the Prosecuting Attorney and can hold them accountable. We must use our votes and voices to speak up for a fair criminal justice system.

Justice is often delayed in St. Louis County

Between 2012 and 2017

2,775 people faced cash bail for misdemeanors

5,536 people faced pre-trial detention of 1 to 5 days for a misdemeanor

683 people spent more than 20 days in jail with a misdemeanor charge

The Latest

ACLU of Missouri Launches Voter Education Effort on Cole County Prosecuting Attorney Race

The ACLU of Missouri has launched effort to educate voters about the candidates in the Cole County prosecuting attorney election this November. The campaign is part of a larger effort to help people understand that their vote can help transform the criminal justice system. In Cole County and communities across Missouri, smart justice policies start with the prosecuting attorney, the single most powerful individual who shapes what justice looks like.

Show Me Justice: A Night With Your Cole County Prosecutors Candidates

We need Smart Justice now. Cole County has the opportunity to take a major step toward reforming our criminal justice system. This November 6th, we can elect a new Prosecuting Attorney. Our Prosecuting Attorney has the power to hold government accountable, protect people from over-prosecution, and end the cycle of mass incarceration that’s damaging the lives and livelihoods of our communities. Starting real conversations with our candidates is a proven way to sway hearts and minds – and get firm commitment to change. Take this opportunity to learn more about your Cole County candidates so you can make an informed vote on November 6th. Join us at Lincoln University on October 23rd.

Election Dates

Absentee Ballot Request Deadline


Election Day



The ACLU of Missouri advocates for a criminal justice reform dedicated to system of rehabilitation and restoration that will support public safety, instead of increasing the number of people in jail and prison.

We work to ensure that constitutional rights apply to all, regardless of race, ethnicity or economic status. We also challenge broken criminal justice systems, confront illegal police practices, and advocate for drug policy reform.