◼ Allan Dollison/My Word
I am running for the district attorney of Humboldt County to make serious reforms and bring organization, management and discipline to an office that has been sorely lacking that for quite some time.
The office suffers from poor management, a lack of resources, prioritization of what resources it does have and a loss of critical grants.
The mismanagement has reached a level where the Board of Supervisors has recently had to complete the office's budget, per two members of that body. The office has lost over 10 prosecutor positions under the current incumbent. Of those are two grant positions; a dedicated attorney for child abuse and child molestation cases; a dedicated attorney in the courts for fighting hard drugs, like methamphetamine, heroin and cocaine. It kept an auto insurance fraud grant, but lost these more important ones.
I think that is wrong and I will fight to insure that important grants like those that deal with dangerous violent crime and the terrible drug problem that we have in this county are maintained and I will fight to get them back.
Lack of resources often forces controversial plea agreements where individuals are not being held fully accountable for their actions. The litany of those cases is too long to include here but our papers and media outlets routinely cover these travesties of justice.
I would effectively deal with the serious problem of arrested individuals being released in the middle of the night. That is a decision of the sheriff, and there are laws and a Supreme Court case that dictate how it is to be handled.
I would work with the sheriff to reform that policy and insure that the district attorney's office statutory and constitutional right to review a case is protected, recognizing that if you are arrested, you can only be held for 48 hours, but I would work closely with the sheriff to insure that that the midnight releases end and the community is protected.
I have been a practicing attorney for over 18 years. Fully 1/3 of that was as a senior felony prosecutor here in Humboldt County. Over that period of time, I prosecuted thousands of cases. I am proud of the work I've done as a prosecutor, and would bring that zeal to the mostly younger prosecutors who currently work in the office, under what are extremely difficult and almost impossible conditions. In just felony cases, they are being asked to carry 4 times the amount of cases as the American Bar Association recommends, that can and frequently does lead to travesties in the administration of justice.
In 2011, during a leadership change, I was selected by District Attorney Paul Gallegos over and above my three opponents to be the chief prosecutor, the No. 3 attorney in the office underneath the district attorney and the assistant district attorney.
My most difficult case was People v. Brian Fiore. What began as a violent marijuana robbery turned into a murder where the suspects led law enforcement on a dangerous chase and the passenger (Mr. Fiore was the driver) began shooting at the pursuing officers. Ultimately the jury found Mr. Fiore guilty of Murder (and eight other felonies) for killing the passenger, his friend. It was a long complex trial that lasted two months with 35 witnesses, but I brought justice for a victim who himself had been involved in serious criminal activity but did not deserve to die at the hands of Mr. Fiore, who is now serving multiple life sentences.
I am a dedicated family man and my children are being educated in the public schools of Humboldt County, while my wife works as a manager at Staples. I have served my country in the Army for a quarter century, and am a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve, I have been given critical leadership positions such as commanding a battalion.
I have traveled a lot, worked and lived in other communities and have a vast network of friends and associates throughout the state that I will call on to help fix the office. I will offer a laser focus on the problems of the office and work to reform justice for all victims of crime. My first priority will be to address the dangerous staffing shortages, assign trial teams to the most serious and violent cases, develop training programs for younger attorneys, and rebuild relationships with hard-working dedicated law enforcement officers.