FAIRFIELD — With less than two weeks before voting can start by mail and less than six weeks until Election Day, the two candidates for the only countywide contest squared off at their first joint event Thursday night.
Candidates for Solano County district attorney, incumbent Donald A. du Bain and challenger Krishna A. Abrams, answered a handful of questions in a format that was defined at the outset as “not a debate” and was largely devoid of verbal sparring.
For du Bain, the forum was a chance to repeatedly tout three programs he has started since being elected in 2010 in an unopposed contest – a truancy court, a family justice center for domestic violence victims and a real estate fraud unit.
When asked about crime prevention programs, Abrams, a veteran Solano County prosecutor, echoed du Bain’s endorsement of a truancy court for parents of elementary school kids who chronically miss class. Du Bain was quick to say the program he implemented was a top priority when he first took office.
Du Bain said he wanted to expand the family justice center, which has so far served 371 crime victims, from a 10,000-square-foot to a 30,000-square-foot facility.
Abrams faulted du Bain for his current handling of support for crime victims. Abrams told a crowd gathered at the Fairfield City Council chamber that the current District Attorney’s Office victim/witness unit was understaffed and “drowning” and needed more than a singe bilingual staffer.
Abrams frequently reminded the crowd that she had garnered the endorsements of most of the county’s law enforcement community, stressing her focus if elected would be prosecuting all criminals to the fullest extent of the law. She labeled that support as a “no-confidence vote” for du Bain. She also said her talks with cops included their complaints about how their cases, particularly misdemeanors and property crime cases, have been routinely rejected by the District Attorney’s Office.
The controversy into how du Bain and his top staff have handled the Dr. Susan Hogan coroner autopsy controversy was a special focus at one point in the event. Both candidates had been given one question before the forum, which was, “What should voters know about the controversy?”
Abrams told the crowd that more than 50 homicide cases were being impacted by the secret investigation into the competency of the doctor performing autopsies for the Sheriff-Coroner’s Office and that a judge had recently ruled that du Bain and his top staff had violated their ethical obligations by not disclosing details of that investigation with defense attorneys.
Du Bain focused on how he had spent more than a year developing the 37-page ethics policy about what law enforcement agencies share with his office and what his prosecutor share with defense attorneys, calling it the most rigorous policy in the state. Du Bain made no mention of questions about the implementation of the policy raised by at least one judge, and some defense attorneys.
Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.