John Thomas Shepherd of El Dorado was appointed Monday by Gov. Asa Hutchinson as the new prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District and was sworn in Tuesday morning by Fourth Division Circuit Judge Robin Carroll in El Dorado.
Shepherd was appointed to fill the unexpired term of the late David Butler, who died Aug. 13. Shepherd will serve until Dec. 31, 2018, when the next prosecuting attorney is elected.
“Shepherd’s impressive legal ability and experience as the deputy prosecuting attorney will serve him well in this new role,” Hutchinson said in a statement announcing the appointment. “I am confident that he will be a tremendous asset to the 13th District and the people of Arkansas.”
Shepherd said Tuesday that he had met with Hutchinson during the process to select a new prosecutor and received the notice of his appointment on Monday. He said after the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday, he sent paperwork to be filed with the state and will now be on the job. He has served as a deputy prosecutor for the 13th Judicial District since November.
“It is certainly a big responsibility and position – that the people of Arkansas have put their trust in you to bring justice on their behalf,” Shepherd said. The new prosecutor said he will evaluate on a case-by-case basis to determine the best outcome for legal matters in the district.
“David Butler put together a good team of deputies – they are very professional and know what they are doing – especially Chief Deputy Jeff Rogers – he’s done it a long time,” Shepherd said.
The 13th Judicial District includes Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Ouachita and Union counties. Shepherd said in Union County, there are currently three deputy prosecutors and the chief deputy. There are two deputies in Columbia County, two in Ouachita County and one each in Calhoun, Dallas and Cleveland counties.
“This morning (Tuesday) I had the honor of swearing in John Thomas Shepherd as our new prosecuting attorney,” Carroll said. “David Butler will be deeply missed but I know John Thomas will uphold the professionalism and commitment to justice this office represents.”
Shepherd is a partner at the law offices of Shepherd & Shepherd, P.A., in El Dorado and works in the office with his brother, state Rep. Matthew Shepherd, R-El Dorado. He is the son of a circuit judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Bobby Shepherd, and Bobbi Shepherd of El Dorado. His wife, Molly, is an attorney in the law firm PPGMR office in El Dorado.
He serves on the board of directors for the Eighth Circuit Bar Association and is president of the Union County Bar Association. He is also a member of the Arkansas Bar Association and the American Bar Association. Shepherd is recognized as a certified contract adviser by the National Football League Players Association and serves as a commissioner for the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws.
Shepherd is a 2005 graduate of El Dorado High School and earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Rice University in Houston, where he was a three-year letterman at quarterback on the Owls football team. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas School of Law, where he was managing editor of the Arkansas Law Review. He is licensed to practice law in Arkansas and the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.
Janice McIntyre can be reached at 870-862-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org.