And, for the record - the decimation of the office is not even in dispute any longer. The ENTIRE discussion now is about what has to be done to fix it. It took this long for this fact to be recognized. It is a crying shame.
◼ It might be the most powerful position in all of Humboldt. The county's next district attorney will oversee a staff of nearly 60 people and wield the authority of the state to pursue criminal charges against local citizens, negotiate punishments and, in extreme cases, even pursue the death penalty. - Thadeus Greenson/The Journal
Each of the candidates took some time in recent weeks to sit down with the Journal to discuss his or her plans for the office and to weigh in on the central issues of the campaign. Here's an overview of the issues and the candidates' plans....
By just about any measure you choose, the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office is underfunded and understaffed, leaving prosecutors overworked with caseloads well beyond those recommended by the American Bar Association. At the debates held in the DA's race in recent months, the candidates have all lamented the situation, each pledging that his or her tenure in office will bring more county funds, more grants and more prosecutors into the office. It has clearly become the central issue of the campaign, with questions of plea bargains, case prioritization and the prosecution of serious violent felonies all coming back to questions of funding and staffing.
So, how bad is the problem really? The short answer is: bad. The office currently has about 13 full-time equivalent attorneys, a number that includes Gallegos and Assistant District Attorney Kelly Neel — both of whom have a host of administrative duties in addition to prosecuting cases — a juvenile prosecutor and an environmental prosecutor. That leaves about nine full-time attorneys to handle almost all the adult felony and misdemeanor prosecutions for the county....
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