If charges are filed against Rios, Swingle takes over

With more than 20 years of experience, county prosecutor H. Morley Swingle has argued many special cases.
Thursday, June 24, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 8:55 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton has appointed Cape Girardeau County prosecuting attorney H. Morley Swingle, 49, to prosecute any charges that may be filed against former Columbia police officer Steven Rios in connection with the June 5 death of Jesse Valencia.

Swingle is a 1980 graduate of MU’s School of Law. He was elected prosecuting attorney for Cape Girardeau County in 1987 and has served five terms.

Swingle’s past appointments include:

  • Special prosecutor in the investigation of Butler County Sheriff Bill Heaton, who was accused of receiving stolen property, the illegal use of prisoner labor and felony stealing.
  • Special prosecutor in the case of Bradley Lockenvitz, former Osage County prosecutor convicted of forgery of court documents.
  • Special prosecutor to look at allegations that witnesses had perjured themselves in the case of James Chambers, a death-row inmate executed at Potosi Correctional Center.

Swingle appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 1995 to discuss the prosecution of Southeast Missouri State University students convicted in the beating death of a fraternity pledge. Swingle argued in front of the Missouri Supreme Court to uphold the constitutionality of Missouri’s anti-hazing statutes.

Swingle is widely considered an expert in the area of search and seizure law, and has published articles on privacy invasion and other topics in various legal journals.

He is also the author of “The Gold of Cape Girardeau,” a work of historical fiction about a rookie attorney living in the Cape Girardeau area around the time of the Civil War.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon has also called upon Swingle to serve on various advisory and review committees.

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