Anderson has prosecution plans for DA office

Published 11:03 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tom Anderson didn’t know why District Attorney Gary McAliley wanted to have lunch with him six years ago, but he thought he shouldn’t question it too much. That unexpected lunch meeting has since led to Anderson’s campaign for the DA’s office.

“Gary McAliley asked me to go to lunch with him nine to 10 months after (I started in private practice in Enterprise),” Anderson said. “During that lunch he mentioned one of his prosecutors was leaving, and I asked him, ‘Who are you looking at to replace him?’ He said, ‘I’m considering you.’”

Fresh out of law school, Anderson had never considered criminal law at that time. But now, he can’t see himself anywhere else.

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Today, Assistant DA Anderson, is facing Gary Bradshaw, a Coffee County attorney, in the June 1 Republican primary.

Anderson is seeking the role on promises of immediate and effective changes to some of the office’s weaknesses and continuing to build on some of those strengths.

“I hold what we do in that office in the highest of regard,” he said.

“I want the public to have absolute confidence in me and my office. I’m a capable person who’s been in the trenches.”

Anderson said he has tried more than 50 jury trials and only lost four of those cases.

He credits his success rate to his personal prosecution model, something he plans to implement throughout his office if elected.

“Simply put, the changes I plan to make will result in more effective prosecution. If we make good cases, the DAs office is not going to drop the ball,” Anderson said.

The model essentially lays out a timeline for each of his cases going to trial, with preparation beginning some 50 days before the court date.

“The job demands it,” he said.

The result, he said, is evident in the courtroom.

The DAs office now has four full-time prosecutors, including Anderson, and two who are part-time. Anderson said the staff is part of the current office’s biggest strengths.

Anderson said if elected he also wants to work to prosecute more aggressively crimes against children and those who are drug manufacturers.

“I want to more aggressively prosecute across the board,” he said.

Anderson, originally from Enterprise, attended Enterprise State Junior College for a year as he waited for his high school sweetheart and now wife Christina to graduate.

Then the two moved to Birmingham, where he studied business finance at Birmingham Southern University and ultimately attended law school at the University of Alabama.

Anderson and his wife moved back to Enterprise, where he worked for nearly a year in a private firm before making his was to the assistant DA position.

“I am an assistant district attorney. I’ve done every facet of what the job entails. I won’t have a learning curve,” he said.