Two candidates used to sparring in the political arena and the courtroom will once again come face to face on Nov. 4.

Two candidates used to sparring in the political arena and the courtroom will once again come face to face on Nov. 4.

Alison Boggs, 47, of 605 W. Fifth St., and Dave Phillips, 49, of 725 Kentucky Circle, are challenging one another for the third time as they seek the seat of Union County Prosecuting Attorney.

Boggs, who grew up in Gahanna, earned a bachelor of science degree from Mount Union College and a law degree from the University of Akron.

Phillips, the incumbent, is from a small town in Michigan and came to Ohio to attend law school. He got his bachelor of arts degree in 1981 from Michigan State University and his Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University College of Law.

Phillips began a legal clerkship for a lawyer in Marysville and decided to establish a practice and make his home in Union County.

Boggs moved to Marysville in 1994.

"My first job after passing the bar exam was with the Union County Child Support Enforcement Agency as its attorney," Boggs said. "I worked there until 1996 when I first ran for prosecuting attorney. During that time, I had a private practice that consisted primarily of criminal defense and appellate work."

After running for office in 1996, she said, she settled back into a private practice that consisted primarily of criminal defense work and guardian ad litem cases.

In 2000, she ran a successful campaign against Phillips and John Heinkel to become county prosecutor.

Phillips, who was admitted to the Ohio bar in 1984 and has worked as an attorney for 24 years, claimed the seat from Boggs in 2004.

"I am the elected prosecuting attorney for Union County," he said. "I prosecute all major crimes which occur in Union County, including homicide, rape, burglary and felony drug offenses. In addition, I represent all of the elected county officials, including Sheriff Rocky Nelson, the county commissioners, engineer Steve Stolte, treasurer Tami Lowe, auditor Mary Snider, recorder Teresa Markham and clerk Paula Warner. All of these officials have endorsed my re-election."

Phillips said he also represents township trustees and helped build a fire station and clean up nuisances with zoning issues.

"I am currently assisting a township against a major chicken farm," he said.

Boggs said she is interested in being county prosecutor again because she was good at the job.

"Since leaving office, I have seen an abuse in the indictment process: overcharging people with the degree of felony and number of counts per indictment," she said. "Being zealous is one thing, but prosecutors, under the disciplinary code, are to seek justice, not just convictions. And that is lacking in the current administration. It seems to be a numbers game with Mr. Phillips: indict and convict as many people as possible for as high a charge as possible. That may look good in statistics, but it sacrifices the integrity of the office."

Phillips said he has a passion for the job, wanting to do justice and protect and serve.

"During the 20 years that I have been a prosecutor, I have had the privilege to protect children from abusers, protect families from burglars and protect seniors from those that would abuse them," he said. "It is an honor to serve as a prosecutor, and I am proud to serve this role. I regard this position as vital to the safety of our community and am committed to keeping Union County safe from crime."

Phillips described his first race against Boggs as a three-way contest with his opponent and the man who became her chief assistant.

"That election was very close," he said. "I defeated my opponent in the second election, after she had a record in office that caused law enforcement and public officials to back my candidacy."

Boggs said both she and Phillips have won and lost cases.

"Every prosecutor does," Boggs said. "The difference between my administration and the current administration is I established a policy that every person affected by actions of my office were treat-ed with respect, from the highest level of felony offender to township officials to the citizen off the street who just stopped by the office. I made commitments each time I ran for office to be accessible to the people of Union County and to the township officials who always seem to get lost in the shuffle. I followed through with my promises when I was in office and intend to re-establish that relationship with township officials and the public once again."

Both candidates said it is not odd to challenge the same person again, but Phillips stressed that Boggs has said the reason she is running is so it will be a contested election.

"I have a very different philosophy in how the prosecutor's office should be administered than Mr. Phillips," Boggs said. "My philosophy is to seek honest and accurate indictments, fully participate in township affairs when my advice is sought and to be accessible to everyone in Union County."

Phillips said there are some things he still would like to accomplish.

"I have overseen two major drug round operations," he said. "Illegal drug abuse is a major contributing factor to many of the crimes we have in this community. I would endeavor to put together a multi-agency drug task force to systematically combat this problem."

He said he has also reorganized the office to improve its efficiency.

"Because of this, my office has prosecuted more criminal cases in three years than my opponent did in her entire four-year term.," he said. "However, there are additional efficiencies and organizational systems which are not yet available to us, which I am in the process of implementing."

Phillips would also like to dedicate an attorney to the civil aspects of the office.

Boggs has her own plan for the future.

"I accomplished quite a bit when I was in office from 2001-05," she said. "I would like to reinstitute policies that I did establish but were not carried over into the new administration."

She said she started a process called "grand jury review."

"My staff and/or myself met with investigators about cases that were referred to the office for prosecution before the case went before a grand jury," she said. "We worked with law enforcement to put together as solid a case as could be done so that when it was presented to the grand jury, it was complete and every element of the office was accounted for with some sort of evidence.

"We struggled at times when the officer thought the case was complete and we thought differently," she said. "At times, we asked the investigators for more in-depth interviews or attempts at gathering more evidence before we would present the case. We created thorough, well investigated cases that withstood trial scrutiny and we secured convictions. I believe that policy kept integrity in the system."

Boggs said she made serving the townships a priority when she was the prosecutor and will do it again.

She would also like to set in place a mechanism wherein juvenile behavior could be addressed without immediately going to court.

Alison Boggs

Dave Phillips