Prosecutor Scott Ellington files for second term as District Prosecuting Attorney
Scott Ellington, Second Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney, filed for re-election recently at the State Capitol in Little Rock.
Ellington, 50, of Jonesboro is seeking a second term as the elected prosecutor for the Second Judicial District, including Clay, Craighead Crittenden, Greene, Mississippi and Poinsett Counties. He previously served as a deputy prosecuting attorney under two previous administrations prior to taking office as the chief prosecuting attorney for the Second Judicial District.
Ellington, a native of Brookland and 1982 graduate of Brookland High School, holds a bachelors of science in agriculture from Arkansas State University. He obtained a juris doctorate law degree in 1992 from the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas, Little Rock. Prior to attending law school, Ellington taught high school agriculture for a short period of time.
Work has not been slow for Ellington since his administration began in 2011. His office has filed more than 12,000 felony cases since during his first term and Ellington has handled multiple high profile cases.
The most notable case Ellington prosecuted was the capital murder of Trumann police officer Jonathan Schmidt in the line of duty in April 2011. His killer, Jerry Lard, was tried, convicted and sentenced to the ultimate punishment of death by a Greene County jury in July 2012. Additionally, Lard was sentenced to life without parole for the attempted capital murder of Sgt. Corey Overstreet in the same event.
In addition, Ellington made headlines resolving a triple child homicide case in Crittenden County, more commonly referred to as the "West Memphis Three" case, and by calling for investigations in cases of election and ballot fraud in Crittenden and Mississippi Counties.
Ellington has not shied away from taking on corrupt government officials. During his first term, Ellington has called for investigations involving police chiefs, law enforcement officers and elected officials, including state legislators, mayors, city council members, and other appointed city officials. Several have resulted in criminal charges and convictions.
Ellington cited his office's record in convicting and locking up child sexual predators. During his first year in office alone, Ellington and his deputies locked up nearly 50 individuals for sexually assaulting children. There are about the same number of defendants in the pipeline who can expect the same fate, Ellington said.
"I wish the number of these cases were zero, but until then, we will not stop investigating and we will not stop prosecuting those who abuse children," Ellington said. "Children are our most precious asset, and if someone chooses to harm or violate the innocence of a child, my office will prosecute."
After graduating law school and passing the bar, Ellington's legal career began as a deputy prosecutor and associate attorney with a law firm in El Dorado. After two years there, Ellington moved to Batesville and was able to return to Craighead County in 1999 to be closer to his aging parents. He was engaged in the private practice of law for 15 years before being appointed as a full-time deputy prosecuting attorney in 2007 to handle conflict cases in the district.
Prior to joining the prosecutor's office, Ellington also served as a part-time public defender in Greene County and handled hundreds of criminal cases. When a deputy prosecutor position opened up, the Greene County prosecutors recommended Ellington for the job because of his willingness to go to trial.
"I had five jury trials in a six month period of time," Ellington said. "My willingness to go to trial, even on the hard cases, is what led to me being appointed as a full time deputy prosecuting attorney in September 2007. My approach as prosecutor has been the same: we evaluate our docket on a case by case basis; when a case needs to go to trial, we take it to trial; I would rather try a close case and lose rather than to walk away from it."
Ellington and his wife, Tanya Bryant Ellington, a Paragould native and a fifth grade teacher at Valley View Intermediate School, live in Jonesboro. They have three children -- a daughter, Jordan McBride, who is enrolled at Arkansas State University after completing a tour of duty in the United States Army; and two sons, Jack Ellington, a junior agriculture major at ASU, and Bradley McBride, a freshman at the University Of Mississippi's Trent Lott School of Public Policy in Oxford, Miss. They also have one grandson.
A member of First Baptist Church of Jonesboro, Ellington serves on several church committees, mission projects, and as a Sunday school teacher. He is a member of the Craighead and Greene County Bar Associations, the Arkansas Bar Association, the Arkansas Prosecuting Attorneys Association and the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Taskforce. In addition, Ellington serves as a member of the Arkansas State Police Foundation and was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe in 2013 as the prosecuting attorney's association representative on the state Alcohol and Drug Abuse Coordinating Council.
"I have always maintained an open door to citizens, law enforcement, and attorneys of this district and have done the very best I know to do," Ellington said. "It is been the greatest honor of my life, next to being a husband and father, to serve the people of this district as their elected prosecuting attorney. My first term has been very rewarding and I hope to serve the public for many years to come."