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BANNOCK COUNTY ADDS PROSECUTORS

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Pocatello natives Pearson and Parris have diverse legal backgrounds

By John O'Connell - Journal Writer

POCATELLO - Bannock County hired two Pocatello natives recently as deputy prosecuting attorneys.

Vic Pearson was a star wide receiver at Pocatello High School and went on to catch passes at Idaho State University.

Zachary Parris, a Highland High School graduate, has a commercial pilot's license and taught flight lessons at the Avcenter in Pocatello for six years.

The new hires replace Bill Bird and Justin Oleson.

Pearson, 27, studied political science at ISU and got his juris doctorate at the University of Idaho Law School in 2001.

Pearson and his wife, Jessica, have a 6-week-old son, Ethan.

Pearson worked as Sixth District Judge Peter D. McDermott's law clerk out of law school. He moved to Boise and did civil litigation until returning to Pocatello in January.

"Being from here, I see a lot of people I know or used to be friends with. Now I'm prosecuting some of them. That's tough," Pearson said.

He prosecutes DUIs, batteries, drug possession cases and other general crimes.

"In civil work, you're dealing with people's money. In criminal work, you're dealing with people's freedom," Pearson said. "(In prosecuting) I think you're making a bigger difference in the community."

Parris, 45, prosecutes burglaries, robberies and general felonies.

Parris, a 1997 ISU economics graduate, said he financed his law studies at the University of Idaho by teaching flying lessons. He also enjoys skiing, mountain biking and wind surfing.

He and his wife, Tami, have a son, Zachary, who attends ISU, and a daughter, Samantha.

Parris worked at the local public defender's office for 18 months and had a private practice in Pocatello for a year.

"More (lawyers) should go to the public defender's office and defend the indigent," Parris said. "It's a valuable thing to do even though some don't think it's an ideal place to practice.

"It helps you be an effective prosecutor. You see things from both sides of the aisle, and I think you recognize things one who hasn't done defense work might not recognize."