As his first week as the newest member of the Webster County attorney's office comes to a close, Joseph Tofilon said even though he's still learning about what the job entails, he's happy with his position.
"I think it's a great office," Tofilon said. "The staff is very friendly, the defense bar seems very collegial, and the judges are very professional. I'm very encouraged that this will be a positive place to practice."
Tofilon's first day as an assistant county attorney was Monday.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Joseph Tofilon, the newest assistant Webster County attorney, looks over some files in the office recently.
An Iowa native, Tofilon has practiced law in two states.
"I grew up in Davenport and went to the University of Iowa for both my undergrad and law school," he said. "While in law school, I clerked for the Fifth Judicial District of Iowa down in Des Moines."
Tofilon then moved to Chicago, where he worked as a clerk for the Circuit Court of Cook County, as well as with the justice of the Illinois Appellate Court.
His latest job before joining the Webster County attorney's office was in private practice, where he worked as a criminal defense attorney and with juvenile court.
"I've long wanted to work for a county attorney," he said. "Coming here is a culmination of my experiences."
He also has ties to Fort Dodge and Webster County.
"My wife grew up here, and she got a good job," Tofilon said. "After she got the job, I was able to get hired here."
Tofilon said he's expecting to be doing most of his work with juvenile court, in addition to prosecuting criminal cases.
Going from being a defense attorney to a prosecutor will be a big change, according to Tofilon.
"As a prosecutor, your obligation is to do everything you can to punish those who break the law," he said. "As a defense attorney, your job is to protect the constitutional rights of the defendants and to make the best of their situations."
He added that law has always been an interest to him.
"I consider law to be a service profession, where you help people with their problems," he said. "I want to help people."
Webster County Attorney Ricki Osborn said Tofilon's experience made him stand out.
"I was impressed with the high recommendations and comments by the judges he clerked for in Illinois," she said. "We are lucky to gain his hard work and experience."
She added she is looking forward to working with him in the future.
"We are very delighted to welcome Joe to our office," she said. "He will be a great asset."
With Tofilon's hiring, there are now five prosecutors in the Webster County attorney's office. His appointment fills a vacancy left by Jennifer Bonzer, who left the Webster County attorney's office in April to go into private practice.