What does the District Attorney’s Office do? Why should I care who is elected?

The District Attorney alone decides what cases will be handled in our state criminal courts. The District Attorney has sole discretion as to who is charged and with what criminal offenses. The District Attorney also decides whether plea bargains will be offered in any case. This broad decision making power touches the lives of every single person in the county. We need a District Attorney who will exercise that broad authority with compassion, common sense, and courage 

What is your position on bail reform?

Our current money bail system disproportionately impacts people of color and those from low-income communities. It must be reformed. Whether you stay in jail should depend on whether you are a danger to society or a flight risk, not your bank account or zip code.

What is your position on private prisons?

Profiting off of the imprisonment of human beings is a disgusting practice that monetizes the value of human life in the most cynical way. Private prisons allow private companies and wealthy investors to enslave the poor to profit the rich. Conditions inside the prisons are often inhumane and hard to monitor. Private prisons are bad for justice, bad for the economy, and bad for San Diego County.

What is your position on testing rape kits?

All rape kits should be tested. No qualifications. No questions. No prioritizing. No “well, if...then.” All kits, every single last one of them.

What is your position on Prop 47?

Prop 47 is the law and it makes sense. Simple possession of drugs and other low-level, non-violent offenses should never be a felony. Felony convictions get in the way of job and housing opportunities, and the taxpayer money spent on incarcerating low level offenders is wasted. Prop 47 has so far saved over $100 million dollars that is going toward preventative programs statewide rather than being thrown down the drain of the prison system.

Career prosecutors, including the current fill-in at the San Diego County DA’s Office, don’t get it. The fact is, most people in our jails and prisons are coming home at some point. That’s not up for debate. We need a District Attorney with the experience, vision, and leadership skills to keep those people from escalating their crimes and reoffending. We cannot incarcerate our way out of crime. Prop 47 gets it right: we must reduce incarceration and reallocate the resources spent on our prisons to our schools, treatment, and victim services.

What is your position on Prop 64?

Prop 64 is the law. The People of San Diego County and California as a whole have spoken and it is time for elected officials to respect the will of the people. Proper implementation is key to keeping consumers safe and benefiting from the growth of a new industry.

What is your position on racial profiling by law enforcement?

Racial profiling is not only unconstitutional but ineffective. Racial profiling violates the principle of equal protection under the law and our right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures. Racial profiling also undermines trust in law enforcement and creates an atmosphere of fear. Racial profiling must be eradicated.

What is your position on gun control?

Common sense gun laws like background checks and keeping guns out of the hands of domestic abusers are meant to keep people safe and should be enforced properly.

What is your position on Black Lives Matter?

Black lives absolutely matter.

What is your position on the border wall?

It’s worth noting that San Diego County already has a border wall. Enforcing federal immigration policy is not within the purview of the District Attorney’s Office. My focus must be on keeping the residents who are already in San Diego County safe, regardless of their immigration status. The law must be applied fairly to everyone, no matter where they came from.

What is your stance on public corruption?

Unfortunately, corruption seems to be present in all levels of our county government. We must hold corrupt officials accountable for their actions. No one is above the law. New leadership is needed more than ever. Continuing the status quo is an open invitation for the old boy’s network to continue screwing over San Diegans. That cannot be allowed to stand.

Why didn’t you apply for the interim District Attorney appointment?

This was an easy decision for me for two reasons:

First, I am an attorney before I am a politician. At the time of the appointment process I had multiple serious cases with the District Attorney’s Office. Because of the well documented culture of political retaliation inside the District Attorney’s Office, I was worried that by seeking the appointment or announcing my candidacy, I would do a disservice to my clients by inviting retaliation from the leadership of the DA’s Office.

Secondly, I think that the applicants should have been asked to pledge not to run for the seat in 2018. The appointment process, without that pledge, is an affront to democracy and an attempt to hijack our election process by tapping a chosen successor. That’s more of a banana republic style of governing, and I truly believe in democracy and giving the voters a real choice. Therefore, I could not apply for the appointment while planning to run and still look myself in the eye. Integrity matters to me.

You talk a lot about trauma-informed prosecution and Restorative Justice? What does that mean?

Trauma-informed prosecution recognizes that individuals that interface with the criminal justice system may have histories of trauma. Beyond that, it appreciates the presence of trauma symptoms and takes into account the role that trauma plays in their lives. In my view, it goes hand in hand with Restorative Justice.

Restorative Justice recognizes that crime affects more than just the victim; it affects society at large. So Restorative Justice seeks to repair the harm done by the crime and transform lives of all involved through the reconciliation of offenders with victims and the community at large. Through this face-to-face process, victims are empowered and offenders take meaningful responsibility for their actions. Lives are changed for the better. That is why I push and work for Restorative practices in every system, especially our justice system.