GATE CITY — The great-grandson of a former Scott County judge was hired earlier this month by the Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office to serve as an assistant prosecutor.
A native of Sullivan County and graduate of Sullivan South High School, Brandon Carter, 26, was brought on to handle all of the office’s prosecutions in Scott County General District Court, which sees cases ranging from traffic infractions to juvenile crimes and domestic violence.
Scott County Commonwealth’s Attorney Marcus McClung said he was glad to have Carter as the newest member of his staff, which also includes Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Dan Fellhauer.
“We’re happy to have Brandon here and he has a lot of ties to this community and he’s happy to be here,” McClung said. “We’ve been watching him and I’m really glad he’s going to be accountable for the general district court and make sure the cases go a little more smoothly, and more in line with our 94 percent success rate in Circuit Court.”
Carter was hired Oct. 1 to replace former Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory Baker, who was let go by McClung in September.
For Carter — who is the great-grandson of former Scott County Circuit Court Judge Ezra Carter and a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute — the job is his first experience as a prosecuting attorney.
Although he spent his first year after obtaining his degree from Regents School of Law working in the commercial law field, Carter said he did become familiar with the workings of a commonwealth’s attorney’s office when he interned for McClung in 2010.
Despite the change in focus, Carter said he’s enjoyed his first few weeks in his new role.
“It’s busier but it’s great,” Carter said. “I sat behind a desk in Richmond almost 10 hours a day staring at a computer screen. ... Down here we’re constantly doing something, but it’s enjoyable. At the end of the day it’s hard, but it’s a good thing.”
Although he had interviews with both private firms and larger prosecutors offices, Carter said he decided McClung’s office was a better fit due not only to his previous internship, but also to the wide variety of cases it handles in both the circuit and general district courts systems.
“I’ve always been interested in the government side of things when it’s done properly,” Carter said. “I’ve interviewed in some of the larger offices in eastern Virginia ... Everyone there is specialized, and here I get to do everything.
“Marcus has an approach here, he’s elected, he knows it and his job is to care for the citizens of Scott County, and that’s what he does. So I knew I wanted to be in an office like this.”
Ultimately, Carter said he felt working closely with experienced prosecutors in a small office with a heavy caseload would be beneficial to his growth as an attorney.
“I knew what kind of attorney he was from working with him before, and I knew with my still very new legal career — I’ve only been an attorney over a year — I knew that was somebody I needed over me to eventually get to where I want to be,” Carter said. “So I’m really excited about working for Marcus and Dan and growing under them, and someday, being where they are.”