We will improve our prosecution of DOMESTIC VIOLENCE by implementing research-based practices to assess risk of reoffending, hold offenders accountable, and keep victims and their families safe.
Domestic violence negatively impacts our community every day, from the immediate harm to the victims to the long-term consequences for children and families.
Approximately 25% of all cases handled by our office each year involve domestic violence. It is not only an issue of public safety, but also an issue of public health.
The current policy contradicts the intent of our legislature, does not hold offenders accountable, and ignores established domestic violence research.
That must change.
Low-Level Drug Offenders
We will enhance our response to LOW-LEVEL DRUG OFFENDERS by reducing incarceration rates and providing greater access to chemical dependency services.
Low-level drug offenders -- chemically dependent people who use, but do not sell, illegal drugs -- not only slowly destroy their lives, but also their families, and all of our quality of life. These cases also put a strain on law enforcement resources and our court system.
We must do everything we can to increase the speed and access to treatment programs and reduce jail time so that chemically dependent people don't end up in prison. Our justice system must give people the best chance to return as productive members of our community. Our community can do better.
Best Practices & Veteran's Court
We will implement BEST PRACTICES to provide better access to the courts for specific community members in need, including veterans, vulnerable adults, those suffering from mental illness, and our at-risk communities.
We must be stewards of the public's resources. Not by doing "more with less," but more with more efficient and research-based methods, techniques, processes and tools.
Rather than replicating resource intensive specialty courts, we can implement best practices to meet the needs of these specific communities with our current resources.
PLATFORM UPDATE 11-05-18:
It has come to my attention that my lack of support for a proposed district-wide veterans court might suggest I do not support our veterans. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will never dishonor my father, my family members, and my friends who have served honorably in every branch of the armed services. But I will not politicize the sacrifices of our Veterans to gain votes.
As I have stated throughout this campaign, as proposed, a district-wide veteran’s court serving only those charged with crimes is not an effective and fiscally responsible way to provide all of our Veterans access to deserved services. We can do better.
Despite assurances otherwise, a district-wide veterans court primarily based in Olmsted County will use Olmsted County taxpayer resources, now and in the future – time and resources of the Court, the County Attorney’s Office, our probation department, and our social workers. It will also serve a very small percentage of our Olmsted County Veterans – our probation department has identified fewer than five cases which might be appropriate for a veterans court.
The better approach is a best practices model to provide access to services and benefits to every Veteran in any type of case – family court, child support court, mental health court-- and not just the few who violate the criminal law. This approach – including the use of mentors – can be implemented immediately using current resources. Our Veterans need assistance with housing, employment, job training, and healthcare, including counseling, chemical dependency treatment, and mental health care. If our court system can be used for a vehicle to help them access that assistance, then we should not make our Veterans wait for a geographically large and bureaucratic program that has already taken more than four years to implement. For too long, that type of approach has delayed providing our Veterans all they have earned and deserved.
I hope this explains and clarifies my position on this issue.
We will build STRONG PARTNERSHIPS with law enforcement, public and private agencies, and our court system to ensure public safety and serve all members of our community.
We are very fortunate in Rochester and our Olmsted County communities to have incredible public agencies and private providers. More than just lip service, throughout my career I have established trusting relationships with all of these partners. As your County Attorney, I will continue and expand these collaborations to bring about lasting change and improvement to our community.