Posted in: Lawyers › None
Matthew Shelton of the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has been named the 2021 National Traffic Safety Prosecutor of the Year by the National Association of Prosecutor Coordinators. Shelton was nominated for this award due to his outstanding and tireless work prosecuting impaired driving and vehicular homicide cases.
Shelton has worked at the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for nearly 15 years. Though his role and casework have changed throughout the years, one thing remains the same, his commitment to DUI enforcement and prosecution in York County.
This commitment began in 2007 when Shelton was just getting started in his career.
“Back in 2007, Solicitor Kevin Brackett asked me to assist law enforcement with DUI prosecution in our magistrate courts. In that capacity, I developed good working relationships with members of law enforcement, the defense bar, and the judiciary,” Shelton reflected. “Throughout the years, my role in the Solicitor’s Office has changed, along with my caseload assignment. One thing that has stayed the same is my commitment to DUI enforcement and prosecution in York County. My family and I share these roads with countless others. So, I try to do what I can to keep our roads as safe as possible while also being as fair as I can be to the defendant in each case.”
In addition to his work in the courtroom, Shelton created an annual training program on developing and documenting cases that can stand up in court. He uses this program to train local law enforcement while incorporating mock court scenarios as a learning tool on how to withstand cross-examination and how to present cases in court when a prosecutor is not available.
“Matthew threw himself into the task with heart and soul and quickly became a hero to many in the (Highway) Patrol for coming to their rescue. He would frequently try cases back-to-back with little time for preparation,” 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett said.
Shelton also worked with Solicitor Brackett to establish the York County Centralized DUI Court in 2012, which addressed the backlog of pending cases and created a system of for a timelier disposition of cases. Roughly 900 to 1,000 DUI/ DUAC (Driving with an Unlawful Alcohol Concentration) cases are filed in the York County DUI Court every year. Thanks to the new system, most of these cases are resolved within six months to a year.
“We successfully advocated for legislation that allows our DUI Court to pull a jury from across the county (like we do in General Sessions), thus enabling us to prosecute all magistrate DUI/ DUAC cases in one centralized location,” Shelton said. “Once the DUI Court was established, law enforcement began filing all magistrate level DUI/ DUAC and associated magistrate-level charges with the DUI Court and the Solicitor's Office was assigned to prosecute all of them. This new system is much more efficient and allows for a more balanced approach to DUI litigation in York County.”
For Shelton, it is not just about the number of cases or accomplishments; it’s about inspiring the next generation of young attorneys.
“My favorite part of the job is passing on what I’ve learned to the younger attorneys in our office and helping them develop into effective advocates and trial attorneys,” Shelton said.
Shelton says his achievement is not just his alone.
“I am honored to be selected for this award. However, all credit goes to the men and women of law enforcement who put it all on the line every day,” Shelton said. “I’m also fortunate to work with an excellent group of attorneys, investigators, and paralegals in the 16th Circuit.”