I am an experienced leader and proven prosecutor. During my career, I have fought for all crime victims, including those especially vulnerable—children and the elderly. However, obtaining “justice” in our criminal justice system often requires balancing the competing interests of victims and offenders. During this campaign, I look forward to discussing with community leaders how we can improve opportunities for rehabilitation and prevention without endangering public safety.
The prosecution team is the “gatekeeper” of justice. Our role is not merely to obtain convictions. The District Attorney is a servant of the law whose aim “is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer.” The District Attorney’s client is not any person, it is justice. A prosecutor’s role is to fairly evaluate all the facts and circumstances, to understand and appreciate the loss suffered by victims and their families, to decide whether to bring the accused before a court of law, or in appropriate cases whether justice requires something different. For non-serious, non-violent offenses, we must consider programs designed to intervene and prevent criminal activity, and those designed to offer hope for rehabilitation, while still providing accountability in the criminal justice system.
When it comes to violent adult criminals, I take a different approach. These offenders will be effectively deterred while incarcerated, and their punishment deters them and others from future misconduct. According to California law, the purpose of imprisonment for crime is punishment. Victims rightly expect that in the end, violent criminals must be held accountable. When a violent offender harms an innocent victim, retribution is just when the sentence fits the punishment for the crime as prescribed by law. I do not favor lenient reforms of our laws when it comes to serious and violent crime.
In my 20-year career as a prosecutor, I have successfully prosecuted major crimes such as elder abuse, child abuse, rape and child molestation, drunk driving, domestic violence, robbery, gang crimes, and murder. I have earned a reputation among prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges as committed, approachable, and a tenacious prosecutor who is fair and honest. I understand the challenge of balancing public safety with equity and fairness, so that our criminal justice system does not punish people unfairly.
I am a collaborator. In my leadership role as Assistant District Attorney, I work with other government and non-profit agencies to identify areas within the criminal justice system requiring attention, innovation, and resources. As an example, in collaboration with Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, I recently led the implementation of a human trafficking enforcement program to provide a strong public awareness campaign providing resources to human trafficking victims.
Recent changes in the law fund local programs and resources designed to rehabilitate low level offenders, understand underlying reasons for misconduct, and provide evidence-based interventions. I believe it is vital to our community that we embrace these ideals without endangering public safety. Sensible and reasoned decision-making is imperative as we examine opportunities to divert at-risk youth and young adults away from criminal behaviors. I understand that juveniles are more likely impetuous, their characters may not be formed, they are vulnerable to peer pressure and they may not appreciate the consequences of their actions. I am committed to developing collaborative relationships with government agencies and non-profit organizations to expand and create new prevention and intervention programs. I look forward to working with the community to identify ways we can collaborate on achieving these goals.
I would be honored to serve Monterey County as your elected District Attorney.