Meet your DA candidates: Arnie Klein

Arnie Klein/My Word

During my six years as a Humboldt County deputy district attorney, I saw first-hand many of the ingrained obstacles and missed opportunities present in the district attorney's office. Two of the most egregious issues I noticed were the very outdated system and the lack of staff experience.

Humboldt DA's office is outdated and inefficient: The Humboldt County DA's Office is running on an antiquated system filled with inefficiencies and time-consuming paperwork. The workload per deputy district attorney is already unacceptably high, especially considering the average experience level currently in that office, but the 25-year-old platform they're operating on is making that load even more cumbersome.

A great deal of time is wasted, for example, on a form called Factual Statement of the Case. Staff members take more time filling this form out fully and correctly than it took to write the original police report. The fact is this form is unnecessary and just wastes valuable time -- time that could be used to actually prepare for a case.

This is one of many examples of wasted effort in the Humboldt DA's office. There are several unnecessary processes and paperwork chains bogging down the office that I will do away with as part of a larger modernization effort when I am elected district attorney.

A worrying lack of experience: Were you the best at your job when you first started? Or did you get better overtime? Experience means a lot when it comes to doing a job well. A lack of experience becomes tragic when it's present in the DA's office. High priority cases in Humboldt County aren't getting the seasoned prosecutors they should because there is a lack of experienced deputy district attorneys. We deserve better.

When the right leadership is in place, Humboldt County can have a well-rounded prosecutorial team with the experience to tackle high priority cases. Having such a team would also mean the less experienced deputy district attorneys could be mentored properly by senior staff and the DA to become better prosecutors. Mentoring has sadly been lacking in the DA's office over the last few years, and we're worse off because of it.

How best to address these problems: The most important action that can be taken in the DA's office is to increase the number of deputy district attorneys. I would bring in those with ample experience to competently prosecute high priority cases, such as the tragic murder of Rev. Eric Freed. To ensure justice and the community are served, the prosecutor handling a complex and sensitive case like that one needs to have extensive experience as both a defense attorney and a prosecutor. Cases will not be assigned based on a political priority.

When elected, I will make the DA's office the tip of the sword in leading law enforcement to prosecute. Using my experience as a defense attorney and 20 years as a deputy district attorney for four California counties, I am prepared to lead the department in a way that allows us to more efficiently and more intelligently prosecute cases.