Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Why Prominent Democrat Encourages Support For County Attorney Andrew Thomas

By Georgia Staton
Former Democratic Nominee for Arizona Attorney General & Maricopa County Attorney

Crime is not a partisan issue. We can all agree that when crime goes down that is a very good thing.

That is exactly what has occurred in Maricopa County over the past four years.

There are two primary reasons for this.

First, County Attorney Andrew Thomas has cracked down on illegal immigration, just as he said he would do when he first ran for County Attorney.

Second, Mr. Thomas’ restrictions on plea bargains have resulted in more criminals spending a longer time behind bars.

These are achievements that even a former Democratic nominee for Arizona Attorney General and Maricopa County Attorney must acknowledge. Unfortunately, Mr. Thomas' opponent in this race has never been a prosecutor.

Whether we are Democrats, Independents or Republicans most of us want someone as County Attorney who is going to side with the victims not the criminals. This is where the current County Attorney shines. There is just no doubting Thomas.

Prosecutions of domestic violence offenders are up 24% under Thomas. His opponent seems to have only discovered the issue upon announcing his candidacy for County Attorney.

The death penalty can be a specific and general deterrent. Mr. Thomas’ record shows he certainly believes as much.

The same cannot be said of his opponent. In apparently the only death penalty case he has ever been involved with, Mr. Thomas’ opponent fought the death penalty for convicted double murderer Jose Ceja.

This does not inspire confidence should he become County Attorney. Perhaps this is why Mr. Nelson has received a record amount of contributions from criminal defense attorneys.

Is this illegal? Of course not. But it does raise serious questions since many of these attorneys representing Valley criminals have cases before the County Attorney’s Office.

At the State Capitol, lobbyists are not allowed to contribute to lawmakers during the legislative session. This is a good law. Yet, when it comes to lobbying for alleged criminals these lobbyists are certainly placing their bets on Mr. Thomas’ opponent.

I don’t agree with everything Mr. Thomas does. But what I do agree with is an unquestioned determination to secure justice for victims and put criminals away for a very long time.

I have watched him follow-through on his campaign pledges to be tough on illegal immigration and stop easy plea bargains for criminals. I like a candidate who follows through on what they said they were going to do, especially when the effect of those policies is to help reduce crime in Maricopa County. And that is an achievement most people from all parties can applaud.

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