10.28.2010

TS - 'To seek justice' ... Honesty comes into question in the Humboldt County district attorney's rac

'To seek justice' ... Honesty comes into question in the Humboldt County district attorney's race

If honesty is the best policy, Humboldt County might be between a rock and a hard place when it comes to the race to become district attorney.

As the campaign storms into its final days, supporters of both two-term incumbent Paul Gallegos and challenger Allison Jackson have been hurling allegations of dishonesty back and forth. Some have alleged that Gallegos has repeatedly misrepresented his résumé, claiming credit for work done by others and aggrandizing his employment history. Others allege that Jackson has made false claims about court cases, county policy and other things.

As Election Day draws near, the two candidates' support groups are also solidifying, with some very distinct lines being drawn in the proverbial sand.

While the truth is often the first casualty in any political race, most experts agree that honesty is a vital attribute for a good district attorney. The position holds the tremendous power to punish the guilty, protect the innocent and -- if wielded carelessly or vindictively -- to destroy people's lives through false accusations. Consequently, one would hope candidates vying for the office would play slow and tight with the facts and make a conscious effort not to distort the truth, said David Levine, a professor at the University of California Hastings School of Law.

That arguably hasn't been the case in Humboldt County.

Jackson, who served as a deputy district attorney for 10 years before becoming a partner at Eureka's Harland Law Firm, has drawn criticism from detractors -- and from Gallegos -- for allegedly distorting the truth for her political gain.

When the subject of marijuana has come up during debates and interviews, Jackson has repeatedly laid much of the blame for the proliferation of marijuana grow houses and other problems at Gallegos' feet, and has repeatedly referred to a “99-plant-get-out-of-jail-free card.”

While criticism of Gallegos' handling of the marijuana issue may or may not be valid, some contend that Jackson's comments have misrepresented the county's policy and Gallegos' role in crafting it.

Gallegos said a 99-plant threshold was, in fact, a part of his medical marijuana guidelines, but notes it was only one of three criteria -- the other two were 100 square feet and 1,500 watts -- used to determine whether a grow operation exceeded the limits allowed for medical cultivation.

But those guidelines haven't been in effect for more than six years -- since the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors enacted a policy that dropped the watt and plant number limitations, leaving only the 100-square-feet threshold in place.

Recently, the incumbent has fallen under fire for stating in his ballot statement that he “established” the district attorney's office's Investigative Unit, Child Abuse and Adult Sex Crimes Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit and Vertical Prosecution Team and its Bad Check Program.

”Those all started long before he took office,” Jackson said in a recent interview with the Times-Standard.

County records reportedly indicate that funding for the Domestic Violence Vertical Prosecution Team began in 1998, that the Child Abuse Services Team started in 1996 and that a Bad Check Program had been running since long before Gallegos took office, but was essentially contracted to an outside agency.

Gallegos was adamant in a recent interview that he did, in fact, “establish” those units.
”I advise them to show any evidence those units existed before I came here, because they didn't,” he said.

A moment later, Gallegos said there was an investigative unit in the office before he arrived, but said the unit only assisted attorneys in court. Now, he said, under Chief Investigator Mike Hislop's direction, the unit goes out and investigates crimes, solves some of its own cases and helps bolster prosecutions by doing follow-up investigations of other agencies' cases.

As to the Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Unit, commonly known as CAST, Gallegos said it has similarly been revamped under his direction.

”Did we have attorneys assigned to CAST (prior to my arrival)? Yes,” he said. “Did we have a group of people only assigned to working child and adult sex crimes with an investigator and (a member of) victim witness? No. That's something I've developed over eight years.”

As to domestic violence, Gallegos similarly said the county had a grant in place for a prosecutor, but said there was no team in place until he established one. With the Bad Check Program, Gallegos said it was contracted out to a company, but is now handled through an in-house program, noting “it simply wasn't done here in Humboldt County before.”

Jackson disputes that, saying that Gallegos' ballot statement “took my breath away.”

”It wasn't embellishing -- these were things that were simply not true,” Jackson said of the statements in question.

Gallegos has also drawn fire recently for an answer he provided to a Humboldt County Tea Party Patriots questionnaire asking about the last time he read the Constitution. In his answer, Gallegos stated that he was a “professor” at Humboldt State University, only to later revise the answer to read that he was a “lecturer.”

Reached Wednesday, Gallegos said he taught at HSU for more than two years and didn't realize there was a distinction between lecturers and professors, when in fact lecturers are not on a track for tenure, are not required to have a Ph.D. and are essentially temporary instructors.
”I thought of myself as a professor, and I think my students did as well,” Gallegos said. “I didn't realize there was a job category that says, 'you are a lecturer.'”

Gallegos said when issues were raised over his use of the term “professor,” he contacted HSU, learned of the distinction and immediately corrected his response to the Tea Party questionnaire.

Criticisms have also been levied recently at Jackson for the way she has represented some criminal cases in criticizing the performance of Gallegos' office.

Most recently, and perhaps most publicly, Eureka attorney Patrik Griego submitted a letter to the editor to the Lumberjack newspaper accusing Jackson of misleading the public about a case he defended.

In the letter, Griego states that the case involved a college student involved in a “theft-related incident” but, reached later by phone, Griego declined to discuss the case any further, or offer the defendant's name, without his client's permission.

”Allison Jackson's campaign used the result in this case as an example of why she should be district attorney, claiming Mr. Gallegos' office lacked judgment,” Griego wrote. “Ms. Jackson's campaign misstated to the public that the young man had committed numerous prior thefts he did not and implied that she would have sent him directly to prison. Ms. Jackson's campaign also stated that the young man received just probation, neglecting to tell the public he received six months in jail. Ms. Jackson's comments were extremely misleading and based on misinformation in the police report and an attitude that a district attorney should always maximize punishment.”
Jackson said she can't figure out what case Griego is referring to as it does not match any of the ones she has discussed publicly. Consequently, she declined to comment.

Griego's last point seems to touch on a concern some have with Jackson's candidacy in general. There is the perception among some that while a district attorney must work diligently to protect the rights of the people, victims and the accused, Jackson is focused too much on victims and would take a win-at-all-costs approach to prosecutions.

Jackson's campaign website has a particular line that has jumped out to some, including at least one letter writer to the Times-Standard. Speaking of what she would do in her first days in office, Jackson states “reach out to re-establish communication with law enforcement agencies to let them know that when they bust 'em, we won't let 'em go.”

Gallegos said he finds the statement to be troubling.

”I hope it would be to everyone,” he said. “That is counter to every principle of criminal law. It is completely counter to the most basic constitutional protections of every citizen of this county.”

Jackson said she would hope that anyone troubled by that line on her website would simply continue reading, noting that later on the website she states: “This county deserves a DA who not only understands that the rights of those accused of crimes can also not be compromised, but insists that those rights be consciously enforced and followed.”

A letter endorsing Gallegos was recently sent out by a group of lawyers in Humboldt County and specifically states that part of the reason for the endorsement is that Gallegos works independently of law enforcement.

”Our justice system requires a Humboldt County district attorney who represents the people, not special interests -- who acts independently from the police to seek justice, not vengeance, and acts with reason, not anger,” states that letter, which was signed by 64 members of the 120-member Humboldt County Bar Association and includes a host of well-known names like Bill Bragg, Russell Clanton, Greg Rael and Neal Sanders.

Jackson, on the other hand, clearly enjoys an outpouring of support from community law enforcement as she carries the endorsements of just about every police union in the county and those of a host of individual officers.

In nearly identical press releases, the Eureka Police Officers Association and the Arcata Police Association endorsed Jackson, saying “quality of life, community safety and victim's rights are all at stake in this election.” Both releases cite cases the agencies feel ended with unjust dispositions.

The Humboldt County Sheriff's Association PAC has also been far and away Jackson's largest campaign donor, having pumped $18,500 into her campaign coffers since the beginning of the year.
Jackson has said her support by law enforcement stems from a belief in her abilities and a deep dissatisfaction with Gallegos' administration.

Gallegos said he didn't solicit the law enforcement unions' endorsements in this election and never will. He said law enforcement agencies are akin to the military in that they serve a civil society.

”'To protect and serve' is an unfinished statement,” Gallegos said. “The finished statement is: 'To protect and serve the people,' and they speak through the ballot. As long as I'm district attorney, I will not solicit (law enforcement unions') participation in this (election) process.”

The American Bar Association describes the function of a prosecutor simply as “to seek justice,” and a 1935 U.S. Supreme Court decision describes what a prosecutor should be.

”(They are) are in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the twofold aim of which is that guilt shall not escape nor innocence suffer,” the ruling states. “(They) may prosecute with earnest vigor -- indeed, (they) should do so. But, while (they) may strike hard blows, (they are) not at liberty to strike foul ones. It is as much (their) duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one.”

Humboldt County voters will decide on Election Day who is the best candidate to seek justice.
For more information on Gallegos, visit www.votepaul. org.

For more information on Jackson, visit www.aj4da.com.

Editor's note: This is the last of three stories taking a closer look at the race to become Humboldt County's top law enforcement official.

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-standard.com.
Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard
Posted: 10/28/2010 01:23:16 AM PDT

TS - A case of judgment; district attorneys wield tremendous discretion 10/26/10

A case of judgment; district attorneys wield tremendous discretion PART TWO OF THREE articles in the final week of the almost year long campaign.

The subject of plea agreements has come up in just about every debate, every forum and every interview either of the candidates has given in the race to become Humboldt County's next district attorney.

Challenger Allison Jackson has been consistent and vehement on the campaign trail in her criticism that two-term incumbent District Attorney Paul Gallegos has overseen a “revolving door” of plea bargains, repeatedly letting criminals off easy and making Humboldt County less safe. In countering, Gallegos has repeatedly said plea agreements hold offenders accountable, save taxpayers money and are fairly and equitably applied in Humboldt County.

David Levine, a professor at University of California Hastings School of Law, said the first attribute he looks for in a district attorney candidate is good judgment because a county's top prosecutor wields a huge amount of discretion. That discretion, according to Levine, can be seen in a many decisions, including whether to seek the death penalty in a case, whether to try a juvenile as an adult, how cases are charged and how they are ultimately resolved, including through plea agreements and dismissals.

Because statistics tracking plea agreements are not kept, specifics in the debate are hard to come by. However, most experts estimate that 90 to 95 percent of California criminal cases end with a guilty plea or some type of negotiated disposition, numbers that Gallegos said he believes apply to Humboldt County as well. Experts contacted by the Times-Standard said plea agreements are not just common but absolutely pervasive in the state of California and absolutely necessary in a state with lots of criminals and very limited resources to prosecute and imprison them.

”You can't run the criminal justice system without plea bargaining,” said Levine. “We just don't have the resources for every case to go to trial.”

Those wondering whether plea agreements are necessary need only talk to California's judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys, said UC Berkeley's Boalt School of Law professor Malcolm Feeley.

”They'll tell you that plea bargaining is the grease that oils the wheels of justice because it's the way cases can be handled rapidly,” Feeley said in a previous interview with the Times-Standard.

For her part, Jackson doesn't dispute any of that. However, she said Gallegos has routinely entered into “mind-boggling” plea bargains that simply didn't accomplish justice and has repeatedly dismissed cases that should have proceeded. Though she has repeatedly said her criticism isn't about a single case but about a pattern of behavior, she has repeatedly pointed to specific cases on the campaign trail to underscore her point.

Most recently, in an interview with the Times-Standard, Jackson blasted Gallegos for his office's handling of a case involving the alleged rape of a Humboldt State University student at an off-campus party. Charges were filed in the case, and the defendant was extradited from Kentucky to Humboldt County, where he was eventually held to stand trial.

However, the District Attorney's Office dismissed the charges in the case July 22. Responding to a critical letter to the editor published in the Lumberjack, Deputy District Attorney Kelly Neel defended her office's handling of the case in a rebuttal letter.

In the letter, Neel said she worked hard on the case but “in the end, the young woman, on no uncertain terms, made it clear that she would not cooperate or participate in the prosecution. This was after the case was charged; the suspect in question was extradited and housed in the jail for several weeks. Without her testimony, the People could not proceed and therefore the charges were dismissed.”

In an e-mail to the Times-Standard, Jackson said the letter equated to blaming the victim, who wrote the California and U.S attorney generals on July 28 seeking a review of the case. Whether the victim had a change of heart or was always prepared to move forward with the case is not made clear by anything in the public case file.

California Attorney General Press Secretary Christine Gasparac said the matter is currently under an “abuse of discretion” review with her office. Gasparac described the review as a “fresh set of eyes” on a case and said it is done with no assumption of wrongdoing. At the culmination of the review, Gasparac said, attorneys from her office will have three options: find the dismissal was justified given the facts of the case, return the case to Gallegos for reconsideration with some suggestions or take over the case to prosecute it themselves.

Gasparac said her office expects to make a determination on the case this week.

Throughout the campaign, Jackson and others have pointed to other cases that culminated in dismissals or plea agreements. In a letter submitted to a number of local newspapers recently, Jackson decried the handling of Michael Coen, who found himself as a defendant in a number of criminal cases in recent years, some for violent crimes, before being arrested for attempted murder several months ago. Jackson charges that Gallegos' office treated many of Coen's run-ins with the law as parole violations rather than filing new charges and simply did not file charges on another of Coen's arrests. If it had done otherwise, Coen may not have been on the streets to allegedly have committed the attempted murder, Jackson said.

”That man is responsible for a lot of numbers,” Jackson said.

For his part, Gallegos disputes that his office has mishandled the cases, saying that officers arrest suspects based on probable cause but that he must prove cases in court beyond a reasonable doubt. He also said he doesn't get to make decisions based on what might happen in the future.

”We don't get to punish people for something they may do in the future,” he said. “We don't even get to punish people for all the things they did in the past. We can only punish people for what we can prove they did in the past.”

That same quote could be used to rebut some of Gallegos' supporters, who have raised the case of Yohan Lopez as a criticism of Jackson.

According to court documents, Lopez was arrested by the Eureka Police Department in September 1997 and charged with felony battery of a police officer, resisting an officer and marijuana possession. Jackson, who served as a deputy district attorney from 1994 to 2004, prosecuted the case and entered into a plea agreement under which the charge of battery on a police officer was dismissed and Lopez -- who had a prior firearms conviction -- pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstruction of an officer and marijuana possession. Lopez was ordered to pay a fine, serve eight days in jail and write a letter of apology to the officers involved.

Within months of the disposition, Lopez and two accomplices murdered an 18-year-old in Eureka, a crime for which Lopez is now serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

What the public court documents don't say is that the officer Lopez was alleged to have battered, EPD Detective Ron Harpham, is adamant that no such battery occurred. While Harpham recalled some of the officers in the incident sustained minor injuries, like a pulled muscle and a scuffed knee, he said Lopez only resisted by trying to flee and never battered any of the officers involved. He said he had no problem with felony battery count being dismissed and said he didn't know why it was charged in the first place.

Though Gallegos has faced criticism for plea agreements in a number of cases, he was adamant that his office has handled each case fairly, weighing legal issues, factual issues and equitable issues.

”My job is to make unpopular decisions,” he said. “It's mob mentality versus the rule of law.”
Gallegos also said that he simply cannot offer the public an unbridled view of his reasoning in every case. In some cases, Gallegos said, there are issues with the credibility or willingness of a witness, the conduct or participation of a victim, flaws with the law enforcement's investigation or other things that he simply won't talk about publicly.

Not knowing anything about the specifics in Humboldt County, Levine said that's the best approach for a district attorney to take, even if it opens them up to public scrutiny.

”That's a district attorney doing the ethical thing,” Levine said. “You just can't reveal that kind of detailed information about a case.”

When a case goes through a trial, all the case evidence is aired in public. However, when a case ends with a negotiated disposition, most of the case details never make it into the public's view, Levine said.

”It's tough, there's so many nuances that go into a plea bargain, and the only thing the public is going to see is what a person was arrested for, what was charged and, ultimately, what they pled to,” he said. “It's very difficult (for the public) to assess good plea bargains.”

One thing that should assuage general concerns, Levine said, is that prosecutors and defense attorneys don't make plea agreements in a vacuum.

”They cannot make a deal themselves,” Levine said. “The most they can do is make a recommendation to a trial judge. The trial judge has to be convinced this is a reasonable plea agreement. There are examples where judges refuse to accept plea agreements because they think prosecutors have been too lenient. ... When someone challenges a district attorney's deal, you have to remember a judge found that it was a fair deal.”

One doesn't need to look too far from Humboldt County to find an example of a judge interceding in a plea deal.

In Trinity County in March 2008, Cody Angus Baker entered into a plea agreement that would have seen him sentenced to a 10-year, eight-month prison term for the 2007 DUI crash that killed four of his passengers. However, a Trinity County judge threw out the deal, saying it was too lenient. Baker ended up being acquitted of the most serious charges he faced and being sentenced to serve nine years, eight months in prison -- three years of which were later shaved off the sentence after a successful appeal.

Gallegos said the Baker case also underscores the point that there are simply no guarantees at trial.

Levine said whether it's a plea agreement, a dismissal or a charging decision, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to prosecutions.

”There's all sorts of different variables,” Levine said. “You just can't do this like it's coming off a factory assembly line. There's tremendous judgment that goes into these things.”
Editor's note: This is the second of three stories taking a closer look at the race to become Humboldt County's top law enforcement official. Part three, which will run Thursday, will focus on the subjects of honesty and support.

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-standard.com.

10.26.2010

Eye - Paul Hagen's Word

◼ Arcata Eye - Paul Hagen: Gallegos Is No Alternative – October 26, 2010

Having already shared my experiences in running for district attorney this past spring in an open letter to the media (Arcata Eye, Oct. 6), I just read a public plea to my supporters to vote for Gallegos, headlined that he is “the only logical alternative for Hagen supporters.” (Jeff Schwartz, Arcata Eye, Oct. 20) That is absolutely not the case.

Now my opponent is calling for my supporters, and that calls to me. Those who know me know that I am “honest to a fault” (Eye endorsement, June 2), and while I completely refrained from negative campaigning and wish to keep it that way, Mr. Schwartz’s article calls for my unvarnished (albeit restrained) opinion. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

First, there are three things I wish to make perfectly clear: One, I have made it very clear to anyone who has asked that I am not endorsing anyone in this race. Two, I have unequivocally told this to Allison Jackson directly. Three, the reasons for this will not change.

Next, please know that I have never had a problem with Jeff Schwartz and I do respect him and those who agree with his statements. I learned a lot campaigning, including insights into what moves Gallegos’s supporters to believe in him. If they still do after reading this, I respect that, too.

My life’s experiences and core values, however, absolutely do not allow me to agree. To the contrary, what I know from hard years of direct experience is that the man is congenitally unqualified, and in so many ways. His defects lie at his core. This, too, will not change.

I write to comment on three areas of character–competence and ethics, with courage spanning them–and I write about the intersection of these in politics as it affects the public good. Please bear with me:

In a professional, one first looks to competence: Can the person do the job well, or learn to in a reasonable time? While many believe that Gallegos was courageous as well as competent in prosecuting Palco, or the Eureka police in the Moore case, neither was actually so. I spent 11 years as an environmental prosecutor, and it still hurts for me to read the Palco appellate court’s decision rebuking District Attorney Gallegos. Read it yourself, it is embarrassing. The police prosecutions were fully as disastrous in the damage done and their cost to the county, not to mention their national coverage for likewise being thrown out of court for failure to meet minimum standards and a crazy legal theory. There are also the Grand Jury reports still finding incompetence in Gallegos’ office. These are well-known facts. All of this he addresses by explaining away, but the facts remain.

As to courage, I would expect nothing less than the DA taking on corporations, etc. I criminally prosecuted two multinational corporations for killing a man at work in Mendocino County, winning a court ruling that corporations have no Fifth Amendment rights and receiving a quarter of a million dollars in settlement in doing so. I also prosecuted Palco twice criminally and got literally every last penny available in penalties, and once civilly receiving $80,000, $35,000 of which I sent to three grade schools in the Van Duzen River valley for violation-related science education. In all that I did as a prosecutor I never once thought about courage, but rather always about displaying high competence at every stage from investigation to settling. To me, doing “the right thing” is at best worthless when you badly screw it up.

Which brings us to ethics. Telling your staff you are going home sick while they stay at work and then going surfing during business hours is not ethical. Nor is using your taxpayer-paid office staff in political campaign announcements, whom we hear on the radio and see on TV and in the newspapers. Nor is deliberately smearing your political opponents, and it’s undeniably not ethical when you lie doing it.

Nor is it ethical to take full credit for what others have done, as in the Big Oil and Tire and the Skilled Healthcare cases, the settlements of which are now being used in ads which the Gallegos campaign is touting was “all because of Paul.” This is not ethical because it is not true. These cases were not “all” Gallegos’s, not by a long shot. Check it out yourself. The Attorney General representing the Regional Water Board did the great bulk of the Big Oil case because the Humboldt DA and the responsible county agency would not, yet Gallegos’s supporters and his ads take full credit. Three private law firms initiated the Skilled Healthcare case and again did most of the work, but in his ads Gallegos takes full credit. His ads are neither true nor ethical.

If you really want the truth about Gallegos’ professional ethics, inquire of him why the other affected DA’s and the Attorney General all refused to join in his Skilled Healthcare settlement due to their ‘ethical concerns’ over his use of secret settlement monies and more. Ask Gallegos himself to explain directly, honestly and openly the formal rebuke he has received from the California District Attorneys Association for his unprofessional use of DA authority in settling that case. Go ahead, ask him to explain honestly and directly. He won’t. That would require real courage and the capacity to tell the truth regardless. He has neither.

I realize that many in Humboldt admire his willingness to file suit against Palco, fight evil corporations, etc. I respect such admiration. And I agree not only in principle, I’ve been there and done that. But this is not what people in Humboldt are really getting.
For an office holder, these character traits take their most telling form in campaigning. While being dishonest is more than bad enough, vilification, smearing, and divisive politics are worse. This is Gallegos’ fourth campaign and in each of the others he has done these things and won. In announcing his first campaign Gallegos shamelessly copied Bobby Kennedy’s announcement speech for U.S. President as his own, without attribution (Tri-City Weekly, Feb. 26, 2002; more plagiarism followed, Eureka Reporter, Sept. 7 and Sept. 8, 2006), promising great progressivism. The recall campaign, however –which I have already publicly condemned – was used as an opportunity to drive Humboldt’s cultural wedges all the deeper; and in the 2006 election his campaign depressed the county’s voting middle and polarized its tails. This does not enhance the public good.

In 2006, opposing candidate Dikeman was made into someone to hate and fear, with the same to Jackson this time. Schwartz himself is using fear in his appeal, using PG&E’s nuclear power plant – a field strictly under federal regulation, no DA can touch it – as the basis for not having Jackson and her “nuclear-plant crowd stick together and take Humboldt County back to the dark ages.” Really? Is that what will actually happen if he loses? Either Gallegos saves us from radiation or “the Humboldt County environment and much more goes down the drain?” Really? This simple dichotomy is more senseless than taking credit for a drop in crime based on gross statistics. Any thinking person knows that simple correlation does not equal causation. And yet, appealing to fear, Gallegos tells us he has made the county safer. Really? Then explain exactly how.

If the Gallegos campaign wishes to “ask, beg and implore” “those progressive leaders who supported Paul Hagen to endorse Paul Gallegos,” it can. Again, I realize that many in Humboldt admire his willingness to file suit against Palco, fight evil corporations, etc. I respect such admiration. And I agree not only in principle, I’ve been there and done that. But this is not what people in Humboldt are really getting.

Regardless of what Gallegos has done or says, he is not my idea of “progressive.” That requires truly living to progressive ideals and delivering solid results. Based on publicly known facts, I have tried to show here why Gallegos’ so-called ‘progressiveness’ is at best just political form without professional substance. Good intentions delivering incompetent results does not equal being “progressive.” Based on my direct personal experiences, my knowledge of Paul Gallegos’ utter lack of what I consider true ethics, courage and honesty, as well as his now-proven political campaign-trash tactics, I believe these things fundamentally disqualify his being a progressive. Or a district attorney.

For all those reading who aren’t concerned about the progressive/dark ages argument, good for you. What matters is results, not talk. So just look to what Gallegos has actually done as DA and how he went about it – his actual results, not what he says they are. After two actual elections he has shown us his best, and just as the Palco appellate court unanimously wrote, he has “failed to prove, on [his] third try, a reasonable possibility that [his] defect can be cured.” And so, making new law, it threw out the case.

Ours is a participatory democracy, a great gift. Each vote matters. Vote your hearts, vote your minds, and vote for the future you want. If it looks anything like my envisioned future, Paul Gallegos is not a “logical alternative.” Like Dan Quayle, Paul Gallegos is no Bobby Kennedy. He is no alternative.

Paul Hagen served as a criminal and civil prosecutor in four North Coast district attorney’s offices, including Humboldt’s. He is currently is an attorney in Eureka and believes deeply in participatory democracy.


An honest word.

Related:

Hagen: ‘The bloom is off the rose’ for incumbent
"Hogwash, Mr. Gallegos"
Failed Gallegos lawsuit one more obstacle for community to overcome

Why DA's Palco suit was ill-advised

10.25.2010

TS My Word - Gallegos - Our goal: Improving public safety and making Humboldt County a healthy place to live, raise our families and do business

link

Paul Gallegos/For the Times-Standard
Posted: 10/24/2010 01:23:20 AM PDT

My office knows that we are the face of government that much of the public sees. Faith in a system of just laws and fairness requires us to conduct ourselves in an ethical manner. We cannot play favorites or pre-judge outcomes. Our role is to seek the truth so that justice is served. Our deputies have earned the respect of the legal community and judges because we uphold those values in every aspect of the work.

In my execution of the office, I have demanded of staff to be fair and to treat all people equally with the dignity due a free people. For, in the end, we cannot have justice if we allow vengeance to pollute our judicial system. We depend on the certainty of the law to protect our rights, our security and our sense of fairness. Without that, we will be subject to whims of individuals who wield power beyond their rights as citizens in a free republic.

As your district attorney, I have pledged to do everything in my power to ensure that the enforcement of our laws is guided by one principle: that we are all equal. This is the essential value embodied in our Constitution. Our safety, both as individuals and as a vibrant society, depends upon upholding that value, despite the misguided public discourse that would encourage you to approach the world with fear.

I take pride in the office I have led these past eight years. Of the staff I inherited from Terry Farmer, four continue today, two were fired, and the remaining left of their own accord.

The deputy district attorney's job is demanding, stressful and not well compensated. But our deputies perform remarkably well by cooperating with each other, sharing tasks and being aware of each other's work so that they can help one another as needed. Their day begins before 8 a.m. and does not end until well after 5 p.m. Often they take their work home, preparing for the next day's appearance in court.

The office continues to thrive even though the budget has been cut, there is less staff, and we have increased the amount of filings. If we are presented with facts from a law enforcement agency that a crime has been committed, and it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, then it will be filed.

We never decline a case based on a lack of resources. This kind of dedication to public service has been successful in bringing the worst violators to justice, whether they be perpetrators of violence, sexual molestation, or predators of the vulnerable among us, or corporate polluters of our environment.

We have received awards for our investigative team, our Child Abuse Services, our Domestic Violence unit, including a recent unanimous proclamation of appreciation from the Board of Supervisors, and for our work with the tribes. Our conviction rates and commitment of violent offenders to prison are as high as ever on a budget that is the lowest in a decade.

The future looks good, too. I am creating a special team to specifically tackle cold cases, based on the methods honed by our stellar investigative unit to crack cold cases, like the Huntzinger disappearance. We will also continue to raise funds and equip county law enforcement with audio and video recorders. This will help gather the hard evidence needed for successful prosecution, and provide everyone involved in an incident with a single confirmable account of events.

And, as crime has changed with the changes in our society and technology, our cyber unit will also be working more closely with prosecutors and investigators. In addition, we are going to develop our ability to present evidence electronically in court, so that the judge and jury will be able to follow the facts more easily and come to a just conclusion. We showcased it in the skilled nursing case, which helped the jury to see actual documents and read appropriate passages and facts within them. We use state of the art technology to bring perpetrators to justice and will continue to develop our abilities in that arena.

All of our work is aimed at one goal: improving public safety and making Humboldt County a healthy place to live, raise our families and do business. Please join me in that effort by re-electing me as your district attorney.

Paul Gallegos is the district attorney of Humboldt County. He is up for re-election on the November ballot.
****

Interesting the way he tries to say he doesn't want to go back to the days of Terry Farmer, but he tries to take credit for the programs that were created under Farmer. Years before Gallegos ever considered running for a better paycheck.

TS LTR - No more political chicanery

No more political chicanery
Letters to the Editor
Posted: 10/24/2010 01:08:40 AM PDT

Upon reading Paul Gallego's candidate statement for District Attorney, I am appalled that he takes credit for all the programs currently in his office. A number of competent attorneys before his time in this office are responsible for establishing and implementing the Consumer and Environmental Unit, the Child Abuse (CAST) and Adult Sex Crimes Unit and the Domestic Violence Unit.

He talks about attracting victim/witness advocates, but the program under his leadership is sorely diminished.

He gives minimal credit to the former and excellent investigators who are most responsible for his cold case solutions.

He doesn't mention the high-profile cases that not only should not have been prosecuted, but have cost the county a great deal of money.

The sign Gallegos and Gallegos in Old Town is an ethical and misleading problem which has never been corrected. Has he prosecuted any former clients? These are questions brought out by my direct conversation with an employee of the California Bar Association.

Gallegos has all the smooth answers, but the actual facts seem to be extremely limited.

Allison Jackson has successfully prosecuted the most egregious crimes of our society -- child abuse. How many cases has Gallegos dealt away in that area? How many unpopular cases has he dealt away? We need a straightforward, responsible and honest district attorney. No more political chicanery! My vote is for Jackson.

Mary Ellen Norton
Eureka

10.18.2010

Gallegos says he is a professor at HSU on candidate questionnaire

Last time he didn't answer the questionnaire - this time his answers are very interesting - he's suddenly found Jesus, for one, he's calling himself a PROFESSOR (he isn't) and again repeating his claims to have established/created key programs (he didn't, they predate him by many years, and this is proven by various documents including Board of Supervisors meeting agendas and minutes)

link
1. Name:
Allison Jackson
Paul Gallegos

2. Age:
Allison Jackson: -
Paul Gallegos: 48

3. Marital Status:
Allison Jackson: Married
Paul Gallegos: Married

4. How long have you lived in Humboldt County?
Allison Jackson: Since 1994
Paul Gallegos: 16 years

5. Organization affiliations:
Allison Jackson: California State Bar Association.  Friends of Cal-Ore Fish.
Paul Gallegos: California State Bar, Humboldt County State Bar, California District Attorneys Association, National  District Attorneys Association

6. Why do you feel you would be the best choice for office?
Allison Jackson: Experience, tenacity and integrity.
Paul Gallegos: Under my leadership as District Attorney of Humboldt County, despite budget cuts and the resulting decrease in staff, crime has dropped significantly countywide, (uh, no it hasn't) prison commitments and asset forfeitures from drug crimes have gone up and we have increased the use of non-custodial alternatives such as drug and mental health treatment.  We established our Criminal Investigations Unit, the Environmental Crimes and Consumer Protection Unit, the Sex Crimes Unit, the Worker’s Compensation Fraud Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit and the Bad Check Program.  (uh not exactly) We have solved cold cases, make a practice of prosecuting difficult ones and improved our courtroom effectiveness by utilizing the latest technology to identify and investigate crime, track cases and individuals, communicate with witnesses, victims and law enforcement officers, share information and present courtroom visuals to assist the court and the jury in arriving at just decisions   We have promoted confidence and reliability in the justice system by purchasing and promoting the usage of digital recorders to record all witness, victim and defendant statements by law enforcement countywide and by displaying a willingness to prosecute difficult and controversial cases.  We have also worked to make Humboldt County a leader in the North Coast by providing both support and training to law enforcement throughout the North Coast.  I am proud of the People that I work with and work we have done to improve public safety, promote and protect the liberties and protections of the United States Constitution and to further the general welfare of all people in Humboldt County and the State of California.

7. What are the duties and responsibilities of the position?

Allison Jackson: Administer the D.A.’s Office in a manner that demonstrates competence, leadership, preparing cases and charging appropriately for the crime
Paul Gallegos: The District Attorney is a state official, elected in a countywide election.  The District Attorney fills the executive branch in the County in which he or she resides and is charged with enforcing the laws of the State of California while giving everyone the protections of the United States Constitution.

8. Please indicate the top three issues or themes selected for your campaign.
Allison Jackson: Holding those who have committed crimes fully accountable for those crimes according to proof;  protecting and enforcing the constitutional and statutory rights of the accused and;  vigorously protecting the constitutional and statutory rights of victims and victim’s families.
Paul Gallegos: Under my leadership, we have made Humboldt County safer, we have promoted, encouraged and participated in crime prevention efforts and programs, we have expanded victim services (uh, no, he has lost Victim Witness grants and positions) and we have made the office more effective, more efficient and more accessible to the People of Humboldt County.

9. Please name your sponsors and principal supporters.
Allison Jackson: I am proud to be supported by people from across political and ideological spectrum, as this is a non-partisan office.    A partial list of supporters is attached.
Paul Gallegos: My supporters are and have been the citizens of Humboldt County.  That support has been and is broad based without regard for party affiliation. A list of endorsements is attached.

10. Do you believe that the position should be affiliated with a political party?
Allison Jackson: No.
Paul Gallegos: No.  Unlike a legislative officer, my job is to enforce the laws of the State of California whether I agree with them or not.  My position is non-partisan. (funny then why do you have your supporters attacking her party affiliation?)

11. Would you describe your political views as liberal, moderate or conservative?
Allison Jackson: Some of each.
Paul Gallegos: My political view is the promotion of the ideas and goals of the Declaration of Independence and the protections and the limitations of the United States Constitution.  I believe that the United States Constitution was intended to be a celebration of the individual as a member of a society.   It is not, and cannot be, the triumph of the individual over society as that is anarchy.  Neither can it be the triumph of society over the individual as that is tyranny.  I believe in and support my country and my government and believe it is, as described, a government of the people, by the people, for the people. (NOTE: his supporters support him because he is progressive and they seek to accrue a progressive power structure, clearly stated, not even hidden)

12. What is the proper role of county government?
Allison Jackson: To represent and serve county residents and interact with state representatives.
Paul Gallegos: (another lecture) County government, like state and federal government, is separated into three branches.  Each has a different function and responsibility.  The District Attorney is a state officer that enforces state laws and county ordinances within the geographic boundary in which he or she is elected.

13. Are you concerned with the present level of local government spending versus revenues and, if elected, what role will you play in dealing with the situation?
Allison Jackson: I will budget responsibly, spend judiciously.
Paul Gallegos: Yes.  Profoundly.  I have dealt with this issue for seven years.  I have always worked within my budget and, despite recurring budget cuts, have insisted that we continue to provide and expand our services to this community. (uh, no, his budget has gone up not down)

14. Who do you see as your ultimate boss?
Allison Jackson: The residents of Humboldt County, especially victims of violent crimes.
Paul Gallegos: Personally: God.  Politically: the People. (do you think he was laughing as he answered this?)

15. When was the last time you read the Constitution of the United States and do you agree with its principles or do you consider the Constitution to be outdated?
Allison Jackson: I keep a copy in my purse, read it regularly, and consider it to be the ultimate and guiding law of the land.
Paul Gallegos: I studied the United States Constitution in the law school, I taught the United States Constitution when I was a professor at Humboldt State University, (NOTE: He is NOT A PROFESSOR) I read it and discuss it with my friends, with my colleagues, with the Courts and almost every time I am asked to speak to students and members of our community.  The United States Constitution is the framework of all discussions regarding criminal law.  The United States Constitution, unlike many systems of government, seeks to balance the competing interests of the individual and society by protecting society from the individual while protecting the individual from society.  There is little, if anything, that is done in our criminal courts that does not involve discussion of the United States Constitution.  Therefore, I have to be familiar with it, with case law that has explained it, and on the groundwork upon which it was created such as the federalist papers.  My job also requires me to support and uphold it and I do every day.

16. How do those principles relate to the office you are seeking?
Allison Jackson: Those principles define it and guide it.
Paul Gallegos: I am sworn to uphold and defend the United States Constitution and I do every day.

17. What is your position regarding respect and allegiance to the Flag of the United States?
Allison Jackson: This question does not pertain to the functioning of the D.A.’s Office, but on a personal note I would say that pledge is more than words, it is an affirmation of support for our country and its citizens.
Paul Gallegos: I respect and have sworn allegiance to the flag of the United States.  My father, my uncle, my grandfather are buried in Arlington National Cemetery as a result of their commitment to this country and my family has fought for and served this country for well over a hundred years.  The flag is symbol of this country and the sacrifices that others have made on behalf of it.  Therefore, while I do not see it as holy, I do see it as immense and powerful symbol of our country and the sacrifices of those that serve it.

18. What is your position on public prayer?
Allison Jackson: This question does not pertain to the functioning of the D.A.’s Office.
Paul Gallegos: I believe in private prayer.  Our constitution separated church and state for a reason.  I do not believe God needs government support and I do not believe we need to have a government supported religion forced upon us.

19. Do you support the military in both its peacetime and wartime commitments?  If “NO” what are your reservations?
Allison Jackson: This question does not pertain to the functioning of the D.A.’s Office.
Paul Gallegos: I support the people that serve this country.  That necessarily includes those that serve in the military.  My family has a long and extensive history of public and military service.  The United States Military supports our government.  There are times when I do not agree with what our government asks our military to do.  I think it is fair to add that, should our military ever fail to serve our duly elected government, I would not support our military.

20. Do you support federal government bailouts of our nation’s most important industries?
Allison Jackson: This question does not pertain to the functioning of the D.A.’s Office.
Paul Gallegos: It depends on the circumstances.  There are times when it may become necessary.  However, I believe it should be the exception and not the rule and should be only as and if necessary for the welfare of the country.

21. If elected, what will you do to limit the size and scope of county government?
Allison Jackson: This is not a function of the District Attorney’s Office – however, as a Department Head, I would look for and implement efficiencies of scale, stay within budget and work to improve core functioning of staff.
Paul Gallegos: I am an executive officer.  I get little or any say in that decision.  My office is underfunded and understaffed as a result of that underfunding.  My office has dealt with budget cuts after budget cuts while others have not.  I think that adequately funding my office should be priority. (That us a categorical lie)

22. If elected, what will you do to reduce fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ money?
Allison Jackson: Prosecute those who commit fraud and criminally wrong taxpayers.
Paul Gallegos: We actively prosecute fraud.  We have a Worker’s Compensation Fraud Unit and a Consumer Fraud Unit.  Government money belongs to the People it should be used to serve the People.  If we have sufficient evidence that someone is taking government money for  their own personal use, we work to create a disincentive for them and others  that would engage in that type of behavior.  

23. What is your position on legislative earmarks?
Allison Jackson: This question does not pertain to the functioning of the D.A.’s Office.
Paul Gallegos: I am an executive officer.  Much associated with the legislative process annoys me.

24. How long have you practiced law?
Allison Jackson: Since 1991.
Paul Gallegos: Since 1992.

25. Please name the types of law: (criminal, personal injury, etc.) that you have practiced and for how long?
Allison Jackson: Resume attached.
Paul Gallegos: I have practiced criminal law for the entirety of my legal career and practiced civil law for the entirety as well.  In the civil arena, I have handled all types of civil cases that our office handles and, while in private practice, handled a wide variety of civil cases from insurance defense to personal injury and civil rights and government liability cases.

26. Does your legal practice try civil and /or criminal cases?  If so, what court do you regularly appear before?
Allison Jackson: Both civil and criminal. I regularly appear before both state and federal court.  My jury trial experience is extensive and very successful.
Paul Gallegos: I am before all of our courts on a regular practice and have tried cases before all of our judges.

27. Overall, how many civil and criminal cases have you tried, and how often have you won those cases?  How many cases were before juries?
Allison Jackson: I was a Senior Felony Trial Prosecutor until 2004.   Most, if not all cases were  tried before juries, with an overwhelming success rate.  I have tried so many cases, it would be impossible to even begin to list.
Paul Gallegos: I think a conservative estimate is that I have tried somewhere between 70 to 100 plus jury trials to verdict.  I suspect it is over 100 but don’t keep such records and that number is based on an average per year over my career.  I have probably lost at least 10 trials.

28. How do you define your relationship with local/state/federal law enforcement?
Allison Jackson: Exceptionally good.
Paul Gallegos: As indicated above, I am a State Officer charged with enforcing the laws of the state of California.  I must do that without fear or favor.  While I strive for and we have a very good working relationship with local, state and federal law enforcement, it must always be an independent relationship and my decisions must be made independently.

29. If elected, would you keep the deputy district attorney positions in their current “at-will” status or change them to civil service positions?  Why?
Allison Jackson: I firmly believe they should be classified as civil service positions. It is unfortunate and has been detrimental to this community not to have had job security in the District Attorney’s Office dependent upon experience and success as opposed to politics.  The lack of civil service status for the attorneys has resulted in the loss of so many seasoned and experienced deputy district attorneys due to politics and it has severely impacted the administration of justice in this community. 
Paul Gallegos: I would keep them in their current “at will” status.  I have learned from my colleagues how important that is to the effective administration of justice.  

30. Which department head should be in charge of the Code Enforcement Unit?
Allison Jackson: County Counsel.
Paul Gallegos: I don’t think it matters where it is so long as there clear lines of accountability

31. Could you support the consolidation of detectives from incorporated cities and the Sheriff’s Office into one bureau to help cut costs?
Allison Jackson: Not my decision. That would be intruding on the Constitutional Authority of another elected official, in this instance the County Sheriff and City Council Members.
Paul Gallegos: No.

32. There are those who believe law enforcement cannot fairly and objectively investigate acts of alleged police misconduct and officer-involved shootings.  Inasmuch as the district attorney could ultimately end up prosecuting an officer if the facts point in that direction, do you think the district attorney has a similar problem with fairness and objectivity if he or his staff is involved in the investigation?
Allison Jackson: No. First of all, the Critical Incident Review Team investigates officer involved shootings.  The Critical Incident Review Team is made up of various agencies in order to ensure objectivity.  Second, as D.A., you should be following the law, and the laws that apply in officer involved shootings are clear. Unfortunately, recently we saw the D.A.’s Office used in a political manner in a case involving an officer involved shooting.  In that case, I believe that the findings of the Critical Incident Review Team were ignored by the District Attorney who proceeded on his own.  That matter was ultimately dismissed by the reviewing judge with some rather stern criticisms of the District Attorney’s role in that matter.  Third, if a conflict arises, the D.A.’s Office must recuse itself from the investigation or prosecution.  And speaking of D.A.’s investigators, when elected, one of my first acts would be to remove the arsenal of semi-automatic weapons and SWAT-like outfits from the DA’s Office.
Paul Gallegos: The problem with any agency investigating itself isn’t a problem of bias, it is a problem of the appearance of an impropriety.  Our system has checks and balances in place to make sure there is always someone put in place as a check of potential abuse.  If assisting in the investigation created a conflict in prosecuting cases, we would be precluded from prosecuting approximately 90% of all our cases.  The majority of the cases we get requires and receives additional investigation of some sort.  Further, the District Attorney is a State Officer with investigative responsibilities and duties.  Whether we are invited or not, we are responsible for investigating all law enforcement shootings.

33. How important is (or would) diversity be in your hiring and promotional policies when balanced against qualifications and merit?
Allison Jackson: Diversity is always important but hiring and recruitment must always be based upon merit and ability. 
Paul Gallegos: Diversity is nice.  Competency is a must.

34. Do you believe the District Attorney’s percentage of criminal convictions is a reliable criterion for judging effectiveness?
Allison Jackson: No. If you simply use conviction rates, this ignores cases which were drastically plea bargained to obtain the conviction, or cases that were greatly over charged,  or those in which the punishment does not fit the crime.   For instance, when a rape charge is plea bargained to trespassing, you do get the conviction, but the punishment does not fit the crime.   If you are charged with first degree murder with premeditation and you get a plea bargain to manslaughter, you would have the conviction, but again, the punishment does not fit the crime.  These types of plea bargains have been unfortunately occurring with increasing frequency in this county thereby undermining the public’s trust in the administration of justice.
Paul Gallegos: No.  I believe that using conviction rates to measure performance results in errors in each direction.  It makes prosecutors timid and/or dishonest and it makes doing the right thing irrelevant.  Prosecutors must be willing to take tough cases so they must be willing to lose.  They must also be willing to do what is right and sometimes means they must dismiss cases.  In short, if arresting someone or charging someone with a crime was evidence of guilt, we wouldn’t need juries.  We have judges and juries make decisions of guilt instead of leaving it prosecutors.  I believe in that separation of power.

35. In general do you believe it is better to prosecute a difficult case for a serious felony or to accept a plea bargain for a lesser offense?
Allison Jackson: Prosecute. Prosecute. Prosecute.   It is imperative to prosecute a difficult case for a serious felony.   A District Attorney does not do his job to accept a plea bargain for a lesser offense when there are questions regarding the quality (not quantity) of evidence.  Those cases must be presented to a jury.    Plea bargaining was severely limited by the voters of this state in 1982 with the passage of the “Victims Bill of Rights.”    Since then the law is clear and it limits the plea bargaining and dismissal of charges to only those cases where: 1) there is not the evidence to prove the crime or; 2) a material witness is lost or; 3) the plea won’t result in a substantial difference in punishment.  To put it another way, if the D.A .follows the law, then she must prosecute a difficult case for a serious felony and not accept a plea bargain.
Paul Gallegos: It depends on the cases.  I think it is important to try tough cases.  I think it is also important to make tough decisions.  Sometimes that means you don’t try a case that you would like to try or others think you should try.

36. Considering the boundaries of prosecutorial discretion, do you believe it benefits the community more to take an extremely aggressive position toward corporations or seek justice through a more even-handed position?
Allison Jackson: Crimes must only be charged when the evidence will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person is guilty, not based upon who the person is.  It is a breach of ethics to charge a case against someone  to “send a message,” or to target any individual or group based upon politics.
Paul Gallegos: I don’t think anyone or any group should be singled out for a extremely aggressive position merely based on their status within that particular group.  We punish conduct regardless of the individual or individuals engaged in it.   Neither I nor my office take a particularly aggressive or favorable position as it relates to corporations.

37. What circumstances, if any, do you think it appropriate to make an effort to try a 16 or 17-year-old as an adult if he is charge with a serious offense?
Allison Jackson: That would be a case by case decision based upon the crime, the evidence and the law.
Paul Gallegos: Those circumstances are codified.  We follow the law.

38. What circumstances, if any, would mandatory treatment for a crime involving substance abuse (including DUI) be better than criminal prosecution?
Allison Jackson: Again, this would be decided on a case by case basis, but violent  and serious crimes should always be prosecuted.   Mandatory treatment already exists for substance abuse crimes.
Paul Gallegos: Probably many.  However, if someone violates the law and we have sufficient evidence of it, they are probably going to get prosecuted by us.  We have no problem with them receiving treatment instead of custody.  In fact, I believe in treatment and think it is a much better way to deal with addiction (generally) than custody.  However, what makes it mandatory is involvement.  Up until that point, it is voluntary.

39. If elected, what would your policy be for handling illegal aliens who have committed no crime other than illegally entering the country?
Allison Jackson: Immigration issues are Federal crimes and are handled at the Federal level and not on the county level.
Paul Gallegos: Immigration is a federal issue.   ICE notifies INS and we operate on the assumption that they are doing their job.

40. If elected, what would your policy be for handling illegal aliens who have also committed a crime in addition to entering the country illegally?
Allison Jackson: I would prosecute them like anyone else.
Paul Gallegos: We prosecute people who commit crimes.  If they are here illegally and commit a crime, they are in trouble with both us and the US Attorney’s office.

41. Should marijuana be legalized and taxed?
Allison Jackson: The state needs to either correct the current law or legalize marijuana.  
Paul Gallegos: I think whatever the legislature wants to do they should do.  The current hybridized system helps no one and law enforcement even less.  I, personally, do not believe we should criminalize responsible adult behavior.  I define responsible adult behavior generally as behavior that someone else engages in that I do not have to pay for.  If they can use marijuana and I, or others,  do not have to suffer or pay for their conduct, I do not believe the state should be involved in criminalizing it.

42. Homeless encampments are a problem in Humboldt County, especially from a health and safety standpoint.  If elected, how will you handle the problem?
Allison Jackson: Coordinate with Health and Human Services, continue utilization of Homeless Court and work with law enforcement to respond in a way that balances public safety, public health and human decency.
Paul Gallegos: If homeless people are committing crimes and we have sufficient evidence of it, they will get prosecuted.  If they are not, there is little that I, as an executive officer, can do about it.  I believe the homelessness issue, as with many other issues, are issues that must be addressed by our County Board of Supervisors or our City Counsels.  I believe there are solutions if people are willing to tackle the problem.

43. Humboldt County’s interpretation of the 215 law has spurred growth in marijuana production in residential communities that has seen increased fires and crime.  What is your viewpoint on the illegal activity associated with the 215 laws and, as D.A., what will you do to ensure that the public and their property is protected?
Allison Jackson: 215 was poorly drafted and the current D.A.’s policies have made it worse. I would focus on large commercial grows and neighborhood grow houses.   I would also focus on the destruction of private property (rentals) by vandalism or arson associated with commercial grown houses in neighborhoods and with the increasing environmental damage associated with it.
Paul Gallegos: When we have sufficient evidence of illegal activity, we prosecute those people.   I do not have any actual documentation or evidence that supports the conclusion that there is either more crime or are more fires as a result of the Compassionate Use act.  I would hope that the investigating agencies would forward any and all reports regarding such activity to us for possible prosecution.  If they did, and there was sufficient evidence to prosecute those people, they would be prosecuted.

44. Do current “Driving Under The Influence” laws include both alcohol and cannabis?  If so, what is the threshold for determining driving impairment when using cannabis and are both treated the same when charging a person?
Allison Jackson: Yes, the current DUI laws include alcohol, marijuana and all other drugs. The threshold for determining impairment is whether the evidence demonstrates to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that the person was actually impaired.  Paul Gallegos: Regardless, if a person is pulled over due to erratic driving, whether alcohol, prescription drugs or controlled/uncontrolled substances and found to be impaired, they can pose a risk to passengers and the public at large.  As such all cases of driving while impaired are treated the same.
Yes.  The threshold for determining any criminal case is whether there is sufficient admissible evidence to convince a neutral jury of the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.   To us, driving under the influence is driving under the influence.  However, proving that someone is driving under the influence does change based on the substance that they are under the influence of.