Jess Hoeme Interview

Published: 1 August 2011

It’s not unusual for defense attorneys to start their careers as prosecutors. A stint teaching law and criminal justice in Afghanistan is a different matter.

“I think it gave me a new appreciation for the justice system we have,” Hoeme said of his time in the battle-scarred country. “We have a justice system that works.”

Hoeme, 34, was born and raised in Pratt. He earned a degree in political science from Washburn University, then obtained his law degree from Creighton University in Omaha.

Returning to Kansas, Hoeme beat a long-time incumbent to become county attorney in Mitchell County, where his wife is from. After deciding not to seek re-election in 2008, Hoeme went to work for the district attorney’s office in Topeka as a narcotics prosecutor.

Then he took a job in Afghanistan as legal education and training advisor for Pacific Architects & Engineers, an organization specializing in peacekeeping and security missions.

“Basically we trained members of the justice system in rule of law, from police and prosecutors to defense attorneys and judges,” Hoeme said. “It was really a great experience.”

But not one his family could share, which is why Hoeme returned to south-central Kansas. Hoeme and his wife, Jennifer, have four children aged 4 to 10. He enjoys hunting, fishing and “anything I can do outside.”

At Joseph & Hollander, Hoeme will head a two-person team focused on the defense of DUI and traffic offenses anywhere in Kansas. The firm has offices in Wichita, Kansas City, Lawrence & Topeka. He will also assist in other defense work.

“I’m trying to develop that group and focus on DUIs,” Hoeme said. “Excellence is our goal.”

By Joe Stumpe

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