Alabama AG Steve Marshall says helping victims is chief motivation

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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall visited Huntsville Tuesday to recognize National Crime Victims’ week and to encourage people working in the criminal justice system to remember their duty to serve those victims.

Marshall addressed a group that included law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, advocates and people who work at the National Children’s Advocacy Center, the site of Tuesday’s event.

Marshall was district attorney in Marshall County for 16 years before being appointed Alabama Attorney General in February. That experience in the law enforcement trenches resonated through his remarks.

“It’s interesting, we only devote a week to it, in the nature of our nation, but for those in this room that are part of the criminal justice system,” Marshall said, “they know this completely: It’s not a one-week proposition for us. It is 24-7-365 and that’s really what motivates us to be able to do the work that we do.”

Marshall recalled a case he prosecuted involving a teen victim who’d been abused repeatedly as a child. He said workers at the National Children’s Advocacy Center had been vital in helping the young woman move forward and pursue justice.

“She found justice for her, because there were people that invested and cared and were trained, to try to help her see a future for herself that she otherwise couldn’t imagine,” he said.

The attorney general also vowed to pursue human trafficking prosecutions and to never stop fighting on behalf of victims.

“I and others that work in the criminal justice system have a lot to learn from those victims that we serve,” he said. “Because they give us the belief and the motivation to be able to know that we have a solemn responsibility to them.”

Marshall also acknowledged Tim Gann, chief trial attorney for the Madison County District Attorney’s office. He praised Gann and Huntsville Police Department investigators for the human trafficking prosecution of former Guntersville High School girls’ soccer coach David Barrow.

Barrow pleaded guilty in March 2016 and received a 30-year prison term.

Marshall said the prosecution was among the first in the state involving human trafficking and resonated with prosecutors and investigators across Alabama.