Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Maricopa County Attorney says he’s set a national standard for law enforcement

Good interview in the Capitol Times. Some excerpts -

We’ve set a national standard for fighting violent criminals, career criminals and sex offenders. Maricopa County leads the nation in setting up innovative and successful strategies for fighting illegal immigration.

Yes, the cost of outside counsel has gone up, but we also happen to be winning for a change. You get what you pay for. You hire good lawyers, you take plaintiffs’ lawyers to court and you beat them.

Costs will go up in the short-run, but in the long-run, as insurance companies have learned, they go down because you send a deterrent message to the plaintiffs’ bar that you are not just going to roll over when somebody files a lawsuit against you.

The Sheriff’s Office has won 11 cases in a row. That’s a phenomenal record. I’ve done my best to hire the best attorneys and given them the marching orders to fight frivolous claims and beating plaintiffs’ lawyers in court. Those folks do not like me very much because I am denying them money.

We had a 16-percent drop in the violent-crime rate last year in the county. I don’t take all the credit for that, but I don’t think that is a coincidence.

Plea bargaining now takes place on the lower level of the office and goes up to the division-chief level, and I don’t get calls unless it is a major case. I don’t take calls from well-connected lawyers or people who have given me money or judges so I can curry favor with them.

Why would we want to go back to the system in which everything is negotiable and the county attorney is personally involved in cutting deals? It’s a terrible idea.

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