TS - Former prosecutor Allison Jackson throws hat into Humboldt County District Attorney race

Former prosecutor Allison Jackson throws hat into Humboldt County District Attorney race

Former Humboldt County prosecutor Allison Jackson kicked off her campaign for district attorney on Saturday with a pledge to be accountable to the people and a promise to prosecute criminals to the full extent of the law.

Jackson is challenging District Attorney Paul Gallegos, who is seeking a third term, and two other local attorneys. At the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center on Waterfront Drive in Eureka, surrounded by dozens of supporters, Jackson said she decided to run at the request of hundreds in the community.

”They were demanding they have a district attorney that's accountable to the public,” Jackson said.

Jackson said that she will not compromise defendants' rights, but victims and family members of victims will be treated with “simple human dignity.”

The reference appeared directed at Gallegos' reported handling of the case against two men who killed 9-year-old Nicole Quigley while street racing on State Route 299 in October 2008.

Jason Whitmill and Anthony Flores were sentenced after taking plea deals. Whitmill received 14 years and eight months in prison. Flores received three years. Gallegos has been criticized by the Quigley family for not informing them about the plea arrangement ahead of time.

Jackson is a graduate of California State University San Francisco and Santa Clara University. She was a prosecutor for 15 years and has practiced civil law for the past five years.

Jackson will challenge Gallegos along with former Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino county Deputy District Attorney Paul Hagen and former Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Kathleen Bryson.

Former Humboldt County Administrative Officer Loretta Nickolaus introduced Jackson on Saturday, saying that Jackson knows the law and has had success in the courtroom.

”Now the bad guys better beware,” Nickolaus said. “Allison does not mess around.”

The June election is now three months away. Humboldt County Fifth District Supervisor Jill Duffy said the DA's office should ensure that the punishment for criminal behavior is commensurate to the crime. She called for people to get out the vote.

”We know that Humboldt County will be a safer place at the time (Jackson) is elected,” Duffy said.

John Driscoll can be reached at 441-0504 or jdriscoll@times-standard.com.
John Driscoll/The Times-Standard
Posted: 03/07/2010 01:15:28 AM PST