Meet your DA candidates: Maggie Fleming

Maggie Fleming/My Word

The duty of a prosecutor is to seek justice. Justice can take many forms -- from not filing a case brought by law enforcement to pursuit of a prison sentence -- but it takes knowledge, a firm ethical foundation, and a lot of hard work to identify the right outcome in each case. I'm running for district attorney because I am the candidate who can bring these qualities to the DA's office. I have served Humboldt County for over 20 years, and I know that in order to maintain justice and keep our community safe, we need an experienced, professional, and independent district attorney.
I served as a prosecutor for over 25 years (my career started in Contra Costa County.) I have prosecuted all types of cases and over 120 jury trials. I have presented cases to four criminal grand juries and argued before the court of appeals.

Over my entire career, I have consistently demonstrated qualities that are fundamental to an ethical and effective district attorney's office. I have: 1) consistently treated everyone involved in the criminal justice system with respect; 2) worked hard and never negotiated a case without all available information in hand and knowledge of sentencing options; 3) maintained open lines of communication with defense attorneys, the survivors and victims of crime, and law enforcement agencies; 4) never shown favoritism in applying the law -- I have prosecuted attorneys and police officers, and have obtained justice for victims from all walks of life, including prostitutes and the homeless.

Finally, I have recognized the fundamental role of community standards in criminal justice. Ultimately, the community as represented by juries, makes the decisions about guilt or innocence; ethical prosecutors keep this fact in the forefront when making charging decisions. True criminal justice is not driven by the political views or opinions of any individual. As DA I will give all cases brought to the office careful consideration; charged cases will be pursued with knowledge, skill and tenacity.

The district attorney's office under my supervision will be an office in which hard work, knowledge of the law, high ethical standards, professionalism, and collaboration are pervasive. I will accomplish this in part by mentoring early-career prosecutors. Humboldt County has historically attracted top-notch people to the DA's office. I believe my work and association with other prosecutors throughout the state will contribute to recruitment. I will strive to retain those people who eagerly and effectively meet the prosecutor's duty to seek justice -- which is not equivalent to seeking convictions. The Humboldt County DA's Office has also been fortunate to attract highly skilled, hard-working support staff. I will strive to attract and retain excellent staff by providing a well-organized, respectful working environment.

I will have a significant personal role in the review and management of individual cases, thereby creating consistency that increases justice and efficiency.

I will emphasize communication with the community: people will be given clear, honest and timely explanations for the actions of the district attorney's office.

I will collaborate with great energy on crime prevention. As with many societal problems, prevention of crime is much preferable to dealing with it after the fact. Through hard work and collaboration with other groups and agencies, the district attorney can have substantive roles in crime prevention. In general, incarceration of people affected by drug addiction or mental health issues does not benefit the individuals or society. As district attorney I would work with other county agencies as well as non-profits to see that these individuals receive treatment as part of sentencing. Some nearby counties (like Marin) have seen a drastic drop in recidivism using a collaborative approach that focuses on intensive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for people with mental health issues who have committed crimes.

Justice is not well-served when political considerations have influence. I believe our community has an overwhelming amount of common ground. We agree the justice system should seek to reduce the risk from people who have seriously threatened public safety. I believe community members are similarly united in their views on illegal actions that seriously damage our natural resources. I seek to create an apolitical DA's office that brings ability, hard work and the highest ethical and professional standards to the job every day.