QUINCY — Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha recently hired two assistant state’s attorneys.
Pruitt Holcombe from Florence, Ala., and Ryan Parker of Quincy are replacing Anita Rodriguez, who retired in June after a 35-year career, and Jamie Frey, who left in August 2021 to take a position in Springfield with the Administrator’s Office of Illinois Courts.
Holcombe lived in Quincy until age 15 when his father, Les Holcombe, became the head professional at Turtle Point Yacht & Country Club in Killen, Ala. He completed his bachelor’s degree in 2 1/2 years at the University of Alabama, where he also earned his Juris Doctor. Holcombe was an associate attorney at McCutcheon and Hamner in Florence, then later worked as a public defender in Laurderdale County, Ala.
“I saw that Gary announced they had positions open here, so I just reached out to him send in my resume,” Holcombe said. “I was eager to get back to Quincy.”
He said golf never interested him like it did with the rest of his family. Instead, he was interested in politics and government.
“That just sort of transitioned pretty naturally to getting involved in the law,” Holcombe said.
Holcombe started work in Adams County in April. He is primarily handling juvenile cases.
“Anita basically, when she was available, would go up to court with him, and (Assistant State’s Attorney Brett) Janssen would do that as well,” Farha said. “I went up there one day, and it seemed he already had a good grasp of it. It’s a good court for a young person to look at. He seems to be doing what he needs to do.”
Parker, a native of Mount Sterling, earned his bachelor’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville in 2011, then earned his Juris Doctor from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2014. He worked for a year as a Missouri public defender in Cape Girardeau, Mo., before joining the firm of Hauk & Owens as an associate attorney in 2015. He specialized in criminal defense and divorce/family law.
Parker started work in Adams County in June.
Farha said he learned about Parker from Frank McCartney, chief judge for the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
“I’ve known Ryan for a while, and Frank said he thought Ryan would be interested (in working for Adams County) because he actually had expressed an interest in the Pike County Public Defender position,” Farha said.
Farha now supervises a staff of seven attorneys. He said finding suitable replacements for Frye and Rodriguez was not easy.
“We couldn’t find anybody for a while,” he said. “COVID had a lot of impact on that, because the number of people taking the bar exam was way down. Law school admissions were way down. When I graduated from the University of Missouri (in Columbia) in 1984, there were more attorneys in Quincy than you could shake a stick at. There was never any doubt that we had too many attorneys. Now they’re just not there.”
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