I am an award winning and honored prosecutor, trial attorney and office administrator. I was a misdemeanor, Juvenile Court and felony defense attorney for over 5 years before becoming a prosecutor. After joining Davis County, I worked my way up in the office to Section Chief by proving my abilities and judgement before running for County Attorney. I believe this is a professional job and responsibility, not a political position for someone simply wanting to serve. You must be able to perform the critical functions and be respected. A lesser qualified person in the office should not be the leader and decision maker.
It is critical a prosecutor, including the elected leader of the office, be untainted by campaign contributions. I do not solicit or accept them. I am not compromised. My opponent does solicit and accept money in an effort to become employed by you, like Salt Lake County Democrat DA Sim Gill. Mr. Gill has had to conflict out more than one prosecution as a result of taking money for what should be an objective professional job, including a serious rape matter.
Slogans vs Accomplishments
I actually started the Davis County Mental Health Court in November of 2010. I personally prosecuted all cases in that court for almost 5 years. To me it is not just a good idea, I implemented it with great success. I supervised the assigned experienced prosecutor in that court. I have also prosecuted drug court cases and oversee that highly successful structure as well. I established the Rehabilitation Services Division in the Davis County Attorney's Office that has more component programs than mental health and drug court. We also work with the VA for Veterans and are focusing on an Elder Abuse program.
Instead of mentioning it is a good idea to be a wise steward of taxpayer money, I have turned back allocated funds every year since being elected. The total returned to the County General Fund is almost $1,000,000 in allocated money saved and returned to you, the taxpayer. How? Sound fiscal management and experienced judgment in using prosecutorial discretion, with office policies that facilitate this accomplishment. You do not have to rely on hearing me talk about this being a good idea, you can know that I mean it because I have done it in a major way. I have taken saved taxpayer money back to your county government bank.
Instead of declaring that public officials should not benefit personally from public money, we make sure other government officials do not abuse this public trust. Our office must be a check and balance on potential abuse. For example, we do not condone time card fraud or misuse of county credit cards for gas, no matter who the perpetrator may be. Our role is unique. This prosecutor's office does not exist to ignore allegations of wrongdoing in order to get along. Whether it is a city, county or state official or employee under scrutiny, we are more concerned about protecting the public trust and coffers than covering things up for the sake of cooperation.
Our office is regularly commended by other government agencies for the appropriate work and cooperation we actually legitimately can provide. Our staff of outstanding prosecutors regularly provides training to other government agencies. The positive feedback is regular. We have been given awards and recognition from other cities, the State and the federal government for inter-agency cooperation and accomplishments. We serve on the Utah Prosecution Council and the Statewide Association of Prosecutors to effect positive legislative outcomes. We regularly do internal affairs (IA) investigations for many agencies. We often assist other agencies in difficult investigations. We lead the Office Involved Use of Deadly Force Protocol Investigation Team. We work with the FBI, ICE, Homeland Security and local and state police agencies on internet crimes against children task-forces.
The Proper Role of Prosecutors:
1. Protect your safety and your constitutional rights. Support victims of crime with accurate, timely and realistic information as well as appropriate case management.
2. Understand that decisions made as prosecutors impact lives, profoundly so.
3. Hold those who commit crime accountable to the degree the facts and law allow, but being mindful, when appropriate, of rehabilitation programs such as Mental Health Court, Drug Court, Diversion Agreements, work release on an ankle monitor, or Plea-In-Abeyance probation and progress monitoring. We are dealing with human lives. Sometimes, based on the facts, law and characteristics presented, prosecutors must have a green light (seek maximum accountability - punishment); a yellow light (moderate); or a red light (focus on rehabilitation and/or allow someone another chance). Yes, many come to feel this way (that 2nd chances are warranted) when it is their own son, daughter or spouse being investigated or prosecuted. We understand that. We also understand the impact of crime on victims. Justice is a balance of competing interests within the bounds of fact and law.
4. Prosecutorial Misconduct. Prosecutors must police their own and hold dishonest prosecutors who commit misconduct accountable. I do that in the Davis County Attorney's Office. (See below concerning my membership on the Advisory Panel for the National Center for Prosecutor Integrity). I have a proven track record of addressing these issues when they infrequently arise in a manner that you, our constituents, would expect. We do not allow it. We do not sweep it under the rug or pretend it did not happen. We investigate it. We discipline prosecutors who engage in such antics, including termination of employment when warranted. I have implemented policies such as those espoused in the articles linked below and after their research and vetting, I am the only prosecutor in the Western United States invited to be on this panel.
5. Prosecutors are the first line of defense, or a check and balance, on potential police abuse of governmental power. On Occasion (fortunately not too often), prosecutors must rein in rogue officers and hold police who violate the law or your rights accountable. Sometimes police violations of the constitution result in cases being declined or dismissed as the information comes to light. Prosecutors work with the police, but are not a rubber stamp condoning all police conduct. Sometimes prosecutors must address police problems such as illegal searches, or obtaining unlawful or coerced confessions. In addition, prosecutors must maintain Brady-Giglio information (knowledge of credibility or misconduct issues related to police officers who will testify) and provide it to the defense. We maintain a data-base, or "Brady-Cop" list that we provide to the defense as required by due process and the United States Supreme Court. *Fortunately, due to the integrity and professionalism of most in law enforcement, the list in Davis County is very small. An example of our being proactive in this area became public. We worked diligently with local Police Chiefs to implement a questionnaire that enables us to meet our constitutional obligations, protect rights and insulate cases from Brady violation challenges. This is critical, ethical and a wise use of resources. Simply google Brady violations and prosecutorial misconduct to see why. We were the first and only office in the state doings this until Salt Lake County recently announced they would start as well, again following our lead in Davis County.
6. The power to prosecute is the power to seek justice for society and victims, but also the power to destroy when abused. If you feel this has happened, I want to know about so I can address it.
Selected Issues for Comment
Victims: We have a vibrant, well trained and outstanding Victim Advocate Division. Victim Advocates report directly to a Section Chief, who meets with me them regularly and reports back at least weekly. We take crime victim rights seriously and implement policies to achieve that paramount objective.
Your Privacy and the 4th Amendment (Your Constitutional Rights): The policy, which has been in place the whole time I have been Davis County Attorney, is to protect you. What is that policy? We do not snoop on you with fishing expedition type Administrative Subpoenas. We have never issued one under my watch. Why? We use Investigative Subpoenas instead. The difference? Investigative Subpoenas require probable cause and judicial oversight and review, like a search warrant. Administrative Subpoenas do not. Prosecutors have abused this power. In Davis County, under my watch, we never have and never will. A report by an outside monitoring entity can verify this, as has various media accounts.
Your Privacy and Voter Registration: I do not support the government selling your personal and/or private identifying information taken from voter registration applications. I fought against the political parties and media lobbyists in an effort to restore your ability to control the privacy of information you are required to put on a voter registration form.
Working to Protect Davis County Residents from Gang Infiltration and Crime: We are actively seeking to identify, prosecute and drive gang members away from Davis County. We are the only County Attorney's Office in the state in recent decades to hire a gang expert to work with the police agencies and produce a vital report, with intelligence and recommendations.
Adolescent Brain Development and Exposure to Indecent Material: I supported the scientific research and efforts of Davis County's own Dr. Jennifer Brown as well as the proposals of Utah State Senator Todd Weiler in passing S.J.R. 15, Joint Resolution Regarding the Impact of Adult Images on Children's Development. A lot of work went into this with Dr. Brown. Her report detailing the neurological science related to this issue is compelling. I was the only prosecutor willing to publicly support Dr. Brown's efforts with the Utah State Legislature and the CCJJ (Commission on Crime and Juvenile Justice). Dr. Jennifer Brown is a local hero for children and parents in Utah.
Juvenile Justice System: To the degree possible, we should keep minors accused of delinquency in the system built specifically to address those cases. Prosecutors should not be overly eager and anxious to put kids in the adult system. A plethora of research solidly backs up my position on this. I was appointed by the Governor to be on the State of Utah Board of Juvenile Justice due to my performance and concern in this area.
ICAC, or Internet Crimes Against Children Unit: Under the Direction of my Chief Deputy David Cole and Investigative Bureau Chief Craig Webb and 2x State Award winning investigator Brent Baggs we have achieved incredible results, some of which can be made public and we will publicize soon. You will be amazed and pleased with these accomplishments. I will be selective and careful as we don't want to tip-off perps as to just how successful we really are, how many case referrals, warrants, arrests and convictions we have obtained. I assure you, it is a stunning number and the awards we have won for this are absolutely earned. We make protecting your children a resource and skill-level priority.
Committed to the Davis County Children's Justice Center (CJC): I have successfully prosecuted child physical and sexual abuse cases for years. The Director of the CJC, Tanya Perkins, reports directly to me. This is a high priority in our office and budget. We have prosecutors who specifically handle only this case load. In addition, I still prosecute these cases myself as part of my regular prosecution case load. I pull my own weight in the court room and other prosecutors and staff appreciate that I am not simply an administrator like most DA's.
Committed to Davis County: I live here. I have no plans to leave Davis County or run for any other office.
Frugal with your $: During my administration as your Davis County Attorney since 2007, we have returned well over $1,000,000.00 in allocated funds (that we saved) to the County General Fund. In other words, returned it to you - the taxpayer.
Domestic Violence: I have doubled the prosecution resources put into Domestic Violence cases. We have teams of prosecutors and support staff specializing and focusing on such, including targeted training opportunities.
Electronic Case Management and Discovery Dissemination: To save you money, I have implemented a top-notch electronic case management system known as JustWare. We can now track case timelines and performance in a robust manner. Law enforcement can upload case materials to our office and track case progress. We are also able to provide discovery electronically and quickly to defendants, or their attorney of record, speeding up the process for all concerned.
Campaigning: I will not ask for your hard earned money. If that costs me the election, so be it. I have come to understand the critical importance of prosecutors being independent, impartial and not subject to any conflict of interest or even the perception thereof. In fact, even though I am a Registered Republican and somewhat conservative in my politics, I believe prosecutor’s offices should be non-partisan in nature and operation. The Davis County Attorney's Office does not allow partisan politics to drive our professional decisions. Therefore, in the 2010 and 2014 elections, I turned down $ from the Republican Party and others. I will do it again in 2018.
National Center for Prosecutor Integrity AND National Law Enforcement Leaders Panel (Invited Advisory Panel Member of both): Yes, this is a big deal. I am the only prosecutor in the Western United States who has been invited to be on the prosecutor integrity board due to my work in this area, including a proactive "Brady" policy as well as disciplining, holding accountable and firing rogue prosecutors. I was also invited to participate in a Summit in Washington DC due to my accomplishments in this area. I have made presentations for all prosecutors in Utah and Idaho on this topic because of my proactive stance on this issue. In addition, I am one of only 200 in the entire United States to be on the Law Enforcement Leaders panel.