LAPORTE — Democrat John Lake won the race for LaPorte County prosecutor Tuesday.
Lake, 52, who is a deputy attorney general, could not be reached for comment.
He had said electing his opponent, Republican Christina Espar, would mean operating the prosecutor’s office the way her father has run it.
Espar’s father is Democrat John Espar, who was defeated by Lake in the primary. Christina Espar, deputy prosecutor for the juvenile court, said she didn’t want to run against her father, so she entered the race after he was defeated.
Espar, 29, of Michigan City, disagreed, offering a number of changes she would make.
Lake, of LaPorte, has said he wants to be the lead trial lawyer on “the most heinous crimes."
Espar wants to be a full-time administrator and said the department’s employees should work full-time as well to avoid divided loyalties.
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“If we want to deal with the problems that we have in our community, we need a full-time staff dedicated to it,” Espar said.
“I want to bring new and innovative approaches to the problems that we have right now,” including homicides in Michigan City and the opioid crisis, she said.
That includes “an unprecedented collaborative effort with law enforcement,” Espar said. Attorneys get continuing education that includes updates on changing laws and case law that should be shared with police officers, and, because police know the suspects better, their input should be considered for more efficient prosecution, she said.
Lake touted his experience, which he said is 25 years more than his opponent’s.
He sees one of his roles as directing and mentoring younger attorneys so there are fewer not-guilty verdicts and mistrials.
Lake also wants the child fatality review board to have a representative from the prosecutor’s office, and he wants to form a youth mentoring program to address the opioid crisis.
Espar wants to work toward establishing a mental health court to get more people into treatment and address underlying issues.