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Heather Mosley | SBJ

2022 Most Influential Women: Emily Shook

Greene County

Posted online

You don’t have to look far into Emily Shook’s career to find a pattern of success.

She’s served 11 years in the Greene County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, a tenure wrapped by a three-year stint in private practice. Over that time, she has tried 30 jury trials and hundreds of bench trials. In just the past few years, she points to successful convictions for the state in the following cases:

  • State v. Elizabeth McKeown: A first-degree murder conviction for the defendant who ran over a woman in traffic. Shook chaired the jury trial, and McKeown was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole;
  • State v. Christopher Jellison: The defendant was found guilty of attempting to shoot a Springfield Police Officer during a traffic stop and was sentenced to 74 years in prison;
  • State v. Lorenzo Roy: A domestic homicide where the defendant stabbed his girlfriend more than 25 times in her home. Shook says Roy was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder; and
  • State v. Daniel Jay Smith: A homicide related to a domestic abuse situation. Shook says the victim was murdered because he was associating with the defendant’s estranged girlfriend, and Smith was sentenced with first-degree murder.

Shook says she’s handled nearly every type of criminal prosecution, but her influence is marked by demonstrating excellence in the courtroom and providing victim services.

In January, she embarked on a new role developed within the prosecutor’s office. Shook now serves as a first assistant prosecuting attorney leading the Domestic Violence Unit.

“We have modified our victim services practices, engaged in substantial domestic and intimate partner violence specific training, and put in place practices and policies that are designed to better protect these vulnerable people within our community,” she says. “I believe we have already seen positive change to help meet our goals to protect families.”

Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Patterson says Shook’s courtroom skills, leadership, vision and passion made her the natural choice to lead the newly formed unit.

“The interpersonal dynamics of domestic violence make it one of the most challenging areas of prosecution,” Patterson says. “Emily immediately took on this transformative challenge reviewing, formulating and implementing policy and practice while integrating the Domestic Violence Unit with the other community partners serving survivors. … Emily’s groundbreaking work in this area will continue to increase the empowerment of survivors and safety of our community for years to come.”

Shook says she’s motivated by giving victims a voice within the criminal justice system, as well as holding violent offenders accountable.

Her leadership also reaches within county offices. In February 2020, she began a near two-year role as a first assistant prosecuting attorney in the General Crimes Unit. She mentored 12 attorneys and guided them through the courtroom shutdowns and delays during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We all face times of frustration or burnout,” she says. “Having objective and caring people with strong experience in community leadership can help us all fight burnout and be bold and creative in how we approach the inevitable problems we face in our work.”

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