Friends and family and other elected officials packed the circuit courtroom in Lewis County Monday to welcome Lee Anne Hawkins to her new role as interim prosecuting attorney in Lewis County. The role opened after Michael Smith was forced to resign due to health reasons.
For Hawkins, it's a dream come true.
"I thought that I would be happy if I could work in a prosecutor's office. I probably didn't at that time think that I would be the prosecutor in an office, let alone have a chance to do it here in Lewis County, but I've wanted this at least since I was in law school," Hawkins said.
She'll have to hit the ground running. There are plenty of cases on the docket in Lewis County, including many drug cases, and some high-profile ones like the murder charges pending against Joseph Metz. Even though her first hearings as prosecutor will be Tuesday, Hawkins said she's not worried about having too much on her plate.
"There are a significant number, not an overwhelming number, but a significant number, so it'll take me a little time to get all of the ins and outs of those and be familiar with them all," said Hawkins.
For his part, Smith is glad to know that when he steps down from the position at the end of the day Monday, the Lewis County prosecutor's office will be left in good hands.
"Lee Anne Hawkins is an experienced prosecutor and she's been quite successful in what she's done. Plus, the two other lawyers and the paralegal staff we have here in the office are well-acquainted with the whole thing, and they know all our cases, including the tough ones, and they'll be moving forward with it quite well, I'm sure," Smith said.