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Casson begins term

Joseph Casson will primarily give legal advice to Thayer County Commissioners and other county elected officials, and prosecute criminal violations for the State of Nebraska while serving as coroner during his four-year term as Thayer County Attorney. 

He was elected as the Jefferson County Attorney four years ago and filed for election in Thayer after Dan Werner decided not to refile, which meant he couldn’t run for reelection in Jefferson, but could be appointed. 

“I was going to cover the two counties. We have very few attorneys left in Thayer or Jefferson. Statute says when a county has no county attorney, they can appoint one from the state if they’re holding another office. I’ve been appointed for a four-year term with a contract in Jefferson,” Casson said. 

Casson began his career in Loup County in 1977 and decided to go east when Jefferson had an opening. He went into private practice and public defender work for clients in Saline, Thayer, Clay and Jefferson. 

Back then, he and Julie Effenbeck, who also filed for Thayer County Attorney in the 2022 election, worked public defender cases together. 

Casson’s office is in the Thayer County courthouse on the third floor. He will share the probation office in the law library on Mondays, and by appointment. Casson will be in county court the second and fourth Mondays of each month as well. 

“This is a test to see how often I physically need to be there,” Casson said. “A lot of what we do is by email and phone. We’re going to go out in the community and see what they need. I’d like to meet with all the town governments and see what their issues are,” he said. 

Another one of his goals is remedies for methamphetamine use by parents of children who have school truancy and behavioral problems because of it.

There is a logical connection back to the home life of students, he said. 

“I would like to see law enforcement intervening in more households where we see meth being used in front of children and address those addiction issues. Parents are going to have to make a choice,” Casson said.

The biggest problem is they have to choose between the addiction and a different lifestyle, Casson said. 

Drug Court is effective, but also poses a problem as addicts will choose probation over Drug Court simply because they don’t want to drive to Saline County each week, where Drug Court is held. 

“Others choose jail. Their success rate is higher if they go to Drug Court,” Casson said. 

He believes in reunification of children and parents once parents show they beat their addictions, but the path there is troublesome. 

“I can tell you from experience we have parents who choose drugs,” Casson said. “We need to be more active.”