Monday, October 20, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Questions we should ask DA candidates

By
From page A9 | April 27, 2014 |

I had a front row-seat to the recent district attorney candidate forum. As with most forums, the questions were decent, however, being limited to three-minute sound bites restricts the ability to explore vital issues.

I’m not expecting a re-creation of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, but more in-depth answers could dig deeper into the issues and solutions facing our county. Additionally, having just a handful of select questions limits our ability to understand the multiple facets of our justice system and the role the district attorney plays in them, some which are literally life-and-death matters.

The District Attorney’s Office advocates on behalf of the victim of crime. In theory, it should be championing the ability for the victim to receive restitution in cases of monetary and property crimes and ensuring that violent criminals are unable to repeat physical violence, either by rehabilitation or segregation from society. In addition to prosecuting the accused perpetrator(s), it also provides resources to the victims, who undoubtedly are going through a dark period in their lives.

Within these underlying assumptions, I found myself pondering other questions:

Plea bargains boost conviction rates while not having to go to trial, which free up resources that can be focused on other cases. This theoretically saves taxpayers precious dollars. What percentage of convictions in our county are a result of plea bargains? What assurance do we the people have that plea bargains aren’t being offered for the sake of inflating conviction statistics and in fact provide justice to the victim? Furthermore, are plea bargains offered with the permission of the victim?

What is the policy concerning victimless crimes (i.e. drug possession, prostitution)? If there isn’t an actual citizen claiming they were wronged by an activity and the “violation” is just a policy violation, is it the best use of taxpayer resources to prosecute those cases?

For lower level crimes, is prison the best option, in light of the high cost per inmate and high recidivism rate? Would medical, counseling and other diversion programs be a better use of resources, and provide better results for the community? Which criteria would you use in determining that?

Jury nullification is a rarely known tool that juries have at their disposal when deliberating a case. If the jury feels the law is unjust, they have the ability to acquit the defendant. What are your thoughts on our juries having that option?

The grand jury is one of the unheralded tools the people have to monitor and correct waste and corruption in our government. What is your understanding of the grand jury system? What can the district attorney do to motivate and empower the members of our grand jury to investigate and explore goings on in all levels of our local government?

What are your views of civil asset forfeiture laws? Last year, there was an instance where a citizen was arrested for a perceived crime and had some assets seized under civil asset forfeiture laws. Charges were eventually dropped, but the citizen’s assets were still kept. Is this justice, and what role can the District Attorney Office perform to make this right?

When filing a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of our county and collecting penalties in successful cases, how do we ensure that restitution is remitted to the people who were supposedly victimized, instead of being absorbed into a departmental budget, or redirected to an unrelated project?

Far too often, elections are glorified popularity contests. We the people should view them as hiring decisions.

This year, we have several vital four-year employment contracts up for grabs. The challenges associated with these roles are often unplanned and require the right blend of creativity and experience to achieve success. Candidates for any office are basically “interviewing” a job. Are they being asked the right questions?

Brian Thiemer is chairman of the Solano County Libertarian Party. He can be reached at lpsolanocounty@gmail.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 7 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterApril 27, 2014 - 7:06 am

    Good questions, Brian. Regarding the Grand Jury; it seems its members are either good-old-boys protecting the system or, for the ones who aren't good-old-boys, are constrained by the arbitrary rules that limits the power and authority of members to investigate without the approval of the good-old-boy power structure. If it were anything other than this, corruption in our county government would not have been protected and allowed to flourish for so long.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • AnonymousApril 27, 2014 - 12:26 pm

    The Grand Jury is made up of citizens who live in the county and are not limited. Id serve except, I just don't want to and I far from a good ole anything, so people who want to bash the jury. I say serve on it, it's wide open and the ask for members.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MikeApril 27, 2014 - 7:21 am

    Brian you are absolutely right, it is a job interview. Your questions are reasonable and I wish we could hear from the candidates on these. The DR can pose similar questions to the candidates and we can read their answers, no sound bites or campaign slogans.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mike kirchubelApril 27, 2014 - 10:25 am

    Jury nullification cannot be eliminated by any government official. As jury members, every citizen has the absolute right to vote not guilty for any reason. Even if the judge instructs you otherwise. It is our final and ultimate right to ccontrol government from overreaching excess and trampling freedom.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • MDSApril 27, 2014 - 12:08 pm

    Actually juries do not have the option to nullify a case according to the law. The jury is given jury instructions and in those instructions they are told they must follow the law. So if the facts prove a person is guilty of a specified crime then the jury is required to convict whether they think the law is just or not. However, there is no penalty for failure to follow the jury instructions and that is how jury nullification came to be. My personal opinion is it's a very good thing. For example there are times when a citizen may kill a person and even though technically by the letter of the law it's a murder, nobody wants the person to go to jail for the act. For example a case I think it was in Texas, where a father caught a man in the act of molesting his young daughter. The father proceeded to beat the predator to death. By the letter of the law the father is guilty of manslaughter and a DA is pretty much obligated to prosecute him. But a jury can look at that case and decide the guy needed to be beat to death and can acquit the father. So I think jury nullification can be a good thing.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • AnonymousApril 27, 2014 - 12:23 pm

    Yes they are using counseling and diversion for low level crimes. Yes victims are factored in to plea bargains and allowed to make a statement prior to sentencing. Plea bargains often spare victims having to go through often crude questioning and more emotional harm. Not sure the other questions but these are from first hand experiences. It's not to say the Courts couldn't use improving and the judicial system as a whole, nationwide seems to be more designed to protect the criminals rights than the victims' but all in all from what I've seen of Solano County they are doing a pretty darn good fighting the tough battles and give low level offenders every opportunity to avoid jail while providing resources to turn their lives around, IF they use the resources.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensApril 27, 2014 - 3:55 pm

    Theimer is EXACTLY the kind of guy we should be voting for. The future is the Libertarian Party. All they need is a constitutionally correct defense / national security platform. A question of the DA? "ARE YOU CURRENTLY ENGAGED IN ANY FALSE AND MALICIOUS PROSECUTIONS?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Girl Scouts explore sweet side of chemistry

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Time again for my Cheers and Jeers

By Tony Wade | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

Total Home, Garden & Harvest Festival wraps up

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Pumpkin Patch Festival set for final weekend

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Sessions teach about child support process

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Arrivederci! Italian Festival

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Red Kettle Program returns for holidays

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

Holiday Fashion Extravaganza registration deadline looms

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Elder depression and substance abuse topic of discussion

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Vacaville library to host composting series

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

 
Senior Center hosts monthly travel presentation

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A3

Napa man jailed for running over ex-girlfriend

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: A4

 
Local governments schedule meetings

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4

Weather for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

 
.

US / World

Expelled Nazis paid millions in Social Security

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Cruise ship docks with Ebola-watched health worker

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Friends, family of Ebola patient reach milestone

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Obama switches gears, confronting Ebola head on

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

CDC to revise Ebola protocol, Pentagon preps team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
California lottery sales top $5B for first time

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Archaeologists seek movie set in California sands

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
The 10 semifinalists for World’s Funniest Person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

On the road to find the world’s funniest person

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
New England raking in millions from leaf peepers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Police hunt for clues near where Va. remains found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Super drunk woman arrested, mistook jail for bar

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Robotic device helps paralyzed groom walk aisle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Coroner: 6 fire victims died of smoke inhalation

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pope beatifies Paul VI at remarkable synod’s end

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
S. Korea: 2 Koreas exchange gunfire along border

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sweden: 3 credible sightings in submarine search

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
5 Things to Know about Pope Paul VI

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

UN says Iraq has executed 60 people this year

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Marine accused in Philippine killing tests US ties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

.

Opinion

Is it truly affordable health care?

By Jim Mccully | From Page: A8

 
Suisun mayor offers his endorsements

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

Which candidates support Alzheimer’s cure?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
Beware a Trojan horse

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 3 Comments

Pulse poll question

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
Breaking news ‘facts’ worthy of note

By Jack Batson | From Page: A8

.

Living

Community Calendar: Oct. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

I’m too scared to leave my abusive husband of 15 years

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 20, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 21, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A10

 
TVGrid Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Comedians honor Jay Leno with humor prize in DC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Report: Nashville songwriter Paul Craft dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

Reported ‘Easy Rider’ chopper sells at auction

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘New Girl,’ ‘Cosmos’ win Environmental Media Award

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

‘Letterman’ cue card man fired for colleague clash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
‘Fury’ blasts ‘Gone Girl’ from top of box office

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Sports

Manning breaks Favre’s TD mark in 42-17 win over 49ers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Tim Lincecum waits his turn, still yet to pitch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Keselowski keeps title hopes alive at Talladega

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Palmer leads Cardinals past Raiders 24-13

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Kings pick up G Ben McLemore’s option

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rockets beat Warriors 90-83 in exhibition game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Pacquiao makes professional basketball debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Cal receiver Trevor Davis released from hospital

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Sounders rally for 2-2 tie with LA Galaxy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rangers net 2 in 4 seconds; Lundqvist stops Sharks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

NFL roundup: Jaguars bounce Browns, gets first win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
SEC is 1st conference to put 4 in top 5 of AP poll

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Ski champ Svindal injured while playing soccer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams hits back at Russian official

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

This date in sports history for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Royals dependent on 3-headed bullpen monster

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Hend wins Hong Kong Open in a playoff

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Baek wins playoff to take LPGA South Korea

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ilonen beats Stenson in World Match Play final

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Jay Haas wins Greater Hickory Kia Classic

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Ben Martin wins 1st PGA Tour title in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Denkinger’s miss revisited as Series returns to KC

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

Facebook, Apple pay for egg freezing, sperm donors

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

B.C. Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield October 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Beetle Bailey Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Oct 20

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Beetle Bailey Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
B.C. Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Frank and Ernest Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Blondie Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Garfield Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Get Fuzzy Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Baldo Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Pickles Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Rose is Rose Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Baby Blues Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

For Better or Worse Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Sally Forth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Zits Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Wizard of Id Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Peanuts Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Bridge Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Sudoku Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Crossword Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Word Sleuth Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

 
Cryptoquote Oct 21

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7