My opponent has said that I have demonstrated a “lack or misuse of discretion.”
One thing I have learned as District Attorney is that nearly every decision that you make – will make someone unhappy. Some people are angered when we decline to bring charges. Others are angered when we refuse to drop certain charges. I often receive pressure from people or groups who want me to make a charging decision on a case based on their wishes. Viewing each case with one focus - whether a case can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt -- is the only way to perform this job.
I never once heard my opponent complain -- when I exercised my discretion in favor of one of his criminal defendants.
There is a reason that my opponent is trying to direct the attention of the voters to the number of withdrawn cases and to the modest costs of an extradition from Indiana. It is to deflect the voters’ scrutiny from our respective trial records as prosecutors.
When I ran for District Attorney three years ago, I vowed to improve the trial performance of my predecessor’s office. In 2014, nearly 6 out of every 10 defendants who went to trial were found not guilty of all charges or of the most serious charges. In 2015, it got even worse.
Since taking office, I personally have established a trial conviction rate of 88%. Many of these were serious felony trials.
With great police work:
I convicted Paul Morrisroe, at trial, for the homicide by vehicle of Dakota Heinaman.
I convicted James Fowler, at trial, for one of the largest cocaine operations in County history – and secured the forfeiture of his home to the people.
I secured, at trial, the 1st methamphetamine lab conviction after an epidemic of meth cases beginning in 2018. I secured, at trial, the 1st drug delivery resulting in death conviction in the County’s history. My office has an overall conviction rate of 70%.
Before he retired to criminal defense work, my opponent was a part of the previous administration as an assistant district attorney in McKean County from 2010 to 2014. In that time, he obtained an overall conviction rate, at trial, of 52.5%. During this time, he lost many serious felony trials, including child sexual abuse trials.
My opponent recently wrote that: “In reality, any decent criminal attorney can obtain convictions at trial at a respectable rate.” When my opponent was an assistant district attorney, you could have predicted the outcome of his trials by flipping a coin. But justice and the effective prosecution of crime must be more than a mere game of chance.
I promised to improve the trial performance of the previous district attorney’s office – of which my opponent was a conspicuous part. I have done so. Superior trial performance does not squander good police work. Superior trial performance punishes the guilty to protect the innocent. Superior trial performance ensures the safety of the law-abiding and of their families.
The voters deserve proven performance -not a return to mediocrity.