By Kristie Deer, Greenfield Daily Reporter
HANCOCK COUNTY — Two new lawyers have been hired to fill open deputy prosecutor positions in Hancock County. Both come to the prosecutor’s office with solid experience and have already been handling cases for the state in their new roles.
Prosecutor Brent Eaton brought in Kyle Lawver-Jones and Tyler Haston to fill vacant positions. The two lawyers will work in different courts. Lawver-Jones will handle more serious crimes — Level 1 to 5 felonies — while Haston will work on on misdemeanor and Level 6 felony cases.
Lawver-Jones replaces Catherine Wilson, who left to go to a position in Madison County. Haston replaces Michelle Wade, who was promoted from within the staff to handle-higher level cases.
“I think we’re a better office because of these two,” Eaton said. “They’re working hard and are already doing good things.”
Lawver-Jones, 29, is a Hancock County native. He graduated from New Palestine High School in 2011. After attending Indiana University in Bloomington, he went to law school at Gonzaga University. Lawver-Jones spent the past two years and 10 months working in Tippecanoe County as a deputy prosecuting attorney.
“I covered just about everything from misdemeanors to more serious crimes while there,” Lawver-Jones said. “It’s pretty much what I’ll be doing here.” That includes working on sex-crimes cases and practicing law in each of the county courts.
Lawver-Jones went to college to become a Department of Natural Resource officer or perhaps a police officer, but in a spur-of-the-moment decision, he decided to go to law school. Lawver-Jones joined the prosecutor’s office in mid-October and said he was thrilled to land a position so close to his roots in New Palestine.
“It was the perfect time for me,” Lawver-Jones said. “I just got married in September, so it’s good to be here and get settled because it’s been sort of a whirlwind.”
Lawver-Jones noted the courtrooms run a little differently in Hancock County than they did in Tippecanoe County, but he’s learning as he goes.
“While the law is the law, in every county the local rules in the courtrooms can be different,” Lawver-Jones said. “So for me there are a lot of differences in the way the judges run things and how things work for me to get used to, but I’m learning on the fly.”
He admitted there is a lot of learning, but he’s looking forward to the opportunities because Hancock County is where he plans to stay for now.
“It makes a big difference when you’re working in a place where you grew up,” Lawver-Jones said. “When I was in Tippecanoe County, I was invested in the community, but it adds a whole other layer when you’re actually home. I have an extra layer of drive and purpose.”
Haston, 34, is a former police officer and Division 1 college football player. He currently lives in Boone County but has relatives in Hancock County and is considering a move here after the first of the new year.
Haston did his undergraduate work in political science at Purdue University, where he played football for the Boilermakers. Following graduation, Haston became a police officer in Zionsville for five years while studying at McKinney Law School at Indiana University in Indianapolis.
While Haston has worked for a law firm as an associate and had his own private practice while also operating his own fitness business, he missed criminal law and joined the county prosecutor’s office in mid-October.
He’ll work exclusively out of Superior Court 2, handling lesser crimes. The job is challenging because of the heavy workl0ad of cases.
Haston is enjoying his new role after working private practice.
“I liked being in private practice, but it doesn’t fulfill the sense of purpose as much as this job does,” Haston said. “I think this is something I can do for a long time.”
He feels his experience in law enforcement helps him understand the process of a case heading to court.
“There is nothing like experience, especially in this job being in the courtroom and learning about how a judge operates, but I do think having a background with law enforcement helps,” Haston said.