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Restoring Respect for the Rule of Law

I am running for district attorney for the First Judicial District because Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties need a district attorney who is committed to restoring respect for the rule of law.  By respecting the rule of law, we honor the constitutional foundations of our country.  We secure and protect our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Respect for the rule of law is necessary.  It ensures the safety, security and prosperity of our community.

As your district attorney, I will respect the rule of law.  I ask for your support and your vote.

Demonstrating Respect for the Rule of Law

What does my commitment to respect the rule of law mean for you?

  • It means you will have a district attorney dedicated to fairly and consistently enforcing the criminal laws our Legislature has enacted.  We give our legislature the authority to write the laws that define criminal conduct.  Once the legislature adopts those laws, we accept personal responsibility for obeying them.  It is the district attorney’s duty to prosecute and hold accountable those who violate the law.
  • It means you will have a district attorney whose decisions are based on established law and admissible evidence.  My prosecutorial decisions will not be motivated by politics, political correctness, political expediency or cronyism.
  • It means you will have a district attorney who rejects arbitrary and selective law enforcement.  Lawbreakers can expect to face consequences for their illegal conduct.

In sum, my election as your district attorney means all of us will be safer, and we will secure meaningful justice for crime victims, for our community and for defendants.  We and our families will enjoy improved well-being and greater prosperity.

Respect for the Law Honors our Values

Our criminal justice system embodies five well-established societal values.  We honor these values when we respect the rule of law.  I believe all of us who live, work and raise our families in the First Judicial District share these values.

  1. Criminal behavior is unacceptable.
  2. Offenders should be prevented from causing further harm.
  3. Criminal conduct must be discouraged.
  4. Offenders need to be given an opportunity for rehabilitation and, where addiction is involved, recovery.
  5. Criminals should be called upon to compensate those they have harmed.

I am committed to upholding these values because we, our families and our community suffer harm if any one of them is ignored.  We lose our right to feel safe and secure in our persons and our property.  We are denied the benefits of community well-being, prosperity and the freedom to follow our dreams.  We lose the opportunity to achieve meaningful justice.

When we fail to honor our shared values and do not respect the rule of law, we send a dangerous and destructive message to lawbreakers.  We say that obeying rules and laws is a matter of choice.  We tell our young people that respecting those in positions of authority – whether parents, teachers, prospective employers, or law enforcement officers – is optional.

When we do not hold criminals accountable, we tell them they do not need to accept personal responsibility for their decisions.  We tell them there are no consequences for harming others or for making bad choices.  We tell them it is okay to break the law if they offer a politically acceptable excuse or know the right people.

Today, through selective law enforcement and ineffective prosecution, we are not holding offenders accountable for their conduct.  We have become enablers of destructive behaviors that harm individuals, families and our community.

As a result, we invite criminal conduct.

This must change.

I will honor our shared value that criminal conduct is unacceptable by holding criminals accountable for their illegal conduct.  I will do this by prosecuting those who violate our laws fairly and consistently.  Prosecution and incarceration are not the same thing.  Prosecution is simply the process we use for holding criminals accountable for their conduct.

I will uphold our shared value that offenders should be prevented from inflicting further harm by restricting the freedom of offenders.  We promote community safety and justice by imposing limits on the liberty of those who abuse the rights of others and who pose the risk of further harm to victims, the community and even themselves.

I will honor the important shared value that criminal conduct must be discouraged by rejecting efforts that render criminal conduct consequence-free and by embracing efforts to discourage criminal conduct.

I will promote our shared value of giving offenders the opportunity for rehabilitation by working to secure services for offenders that will help them avoid further criminal conduct and assist them in becoming successful, contributing members of society.  I also will devote resources to legislatively sanctioned diversion programs.  These programs can help offenders to avoid a criminal record.  I will pursue programs giving incarcerated offenders access to services both before and after they are released from custody.

I will uphold our shared value of calling upon criminals to compensate those they have harmed by expecting criminals to pay victim restitution and reparation.  I will explore opportunities for restorative justice.

Felony Prevention through Misdemeanor Prosecution

One of the ways I will restore respect for the rule of law is by aggressively prosecuting both misdemeanor offenses and felony crimes.  I reject the view that misdemeanor offenses do not need to be prosecuted as aggressively as felony offenses.

Misdemeanor prosecution is felony prevention.

Common sense supports this approach.  It’s the kind of common sense we use when we raise our children.

The evidence supports the importance of misdemeanor prosecution.

  • Studies show that pursuing and prosecuting misdemeanor offenses involving animal cruelty can help us identify and prevent person-on-person violence because the two often go hand-in-hand.  Additionally, many domestic abusers torture and abuse family pets as a way of exercising control over their victims.  On February 1, 2016, the FBI acknowledged the link between animal abuse and person-on-person violence when it announced that it was beginning to collect national data regarding acts of cruelty to animals.
  • Studies also show that domestic abusers escalate.  They show that children who grow up in abusive families become abusers themselves.  By aggressively prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence cases (and not routinely pleading them down to disorderly conduct or other petty misdemeanor offenses for which counselling is not required), we can prevent future, and more serious, harm.
  • In the DWI arena, effective prosecution of misdemeanor first offenses provides necessary intervention and can prevent impaired drivers from inflicting continued harm on our community.
  • In the 1980s, New York City succeeded in reducing violent crimes in its subway system  by cracking down on those who avoided paying the fare by jumping over the turn styles.

By aggressively prosecuting misdemeanor offenses, I will attack the problem we have with “crime drivers.”  Often, crime drivers are career criminals who have adopted a gangster way of life.  They are our notorious repeat offenders and are well-known to law enforcement.  They exemplify what we call “revolving door” justice.

We know alcohol and drug abuse and addiction may drive many crimes.  We also know we cannot prevent the crimes committed by addicts without solving the underlying addiction.  But, we must not exempt addicts’ crimes from prosecution.  When we exempt addicts’ criminal conduct from prosecution, we sanction illegal behavior and we ignore the harm addicts inflict on our community.

I will hold misdemeanor offenders, serial criminals and other crime drivers accountable swiftly and with certainty.  In particular, I will hold criminals accountable if they commit a new offense while on probation.  Probation is an act of benevolence and compassion by the court on behalf of the community.  It represents our shared belief that offenders can be rehabilitated, and can contribute to the community by remaining free in society.

Criminals who violate their probation by committing further crimes betray the community’s trust.  They show us they are not worthy of our goodwill and compassion.  They demonstrate that our faith in them was misplaced.  Through their ongoing criminal conduct, these criminals show a continuing disregard for the rights of others.  They reject the opportunity for rehabilitation and possible recovery our community has given them.

Prosecution Benefiting All People of the District

Effective prosecution offers substantial across-the-board benefits to our community.

  • Effective prosecution makes clear that we find criminal conduct unacceptable.
  • It serves as a deterrent to illegal conduct because it demonstrates that criminal conduct is not consequence-free.
  • It creates opportunities for rehabilitation, recovery, restitution and restorative justice.
  • It helps prevent further harm and protects everyone’s right to feel safe.

I will aggressively prosecute violent crimes, especially when they are committed against the most vulnerable and dependent members of our community.  We cannot claim to be a civilized society unless we prosecute crimes like murder, child abuse, elder abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse and human trafficking with vigorous determination.  We cannot disregard the depravity of those who abuse animals.

I will aggressively prosecute crimes that deny each and every one of us the right to feel safe in our homes and on our streets.  Crimes like burglary, robbery and DWI have devastating consequences.  Beyond their direct harms, they breed the day-to-day fear that we or our loved ones will be the next victim.

I will aggressively prosecute property and economic crimes, and crimes that violate the public trust.  Property, “white collar” and other economic crimes deny us the fruits of our labor.  They deprive us of our “stuff,” our treasures, the things we work hard for.

We must stop thinking of these crimes as “victimless,” as the cost of doing business or as the price of owning property.  They are none of these things.  Economic and property crimes cost all of us, even if it isn’t our “stuff” that’s taken or our property that’s damaged.

Shoplifters steal merchandise worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from businesses in our community every year.  Dealers give addicts shopping lists of what to steal in exchange for drugs.  Taggers cause damage to public and private property that costs tens of thousands of dollars to repair.  Fraud and embezzlement deprive private and public entities of valuable resources.

We all pay the cost of these crimes through higher prices, higher insurance premiums and higher taxes.  We pay the cost when we or a co-worker or an employee must spend time dealing with insurance claims and repair people.  We pay the cost when these crimes deprive local businesses of the resources they need to hire more workers or pay better wages.  We pay the cost when entrepreneurs don’t pursue new ideas and when established businesses don’t expand.  We pay the cost when out-of-state businesses decide to locate elsewhere.

We pay the cost when shoplifters deny local government the gross receipts tax revenues they could use to fund needed programs and services.

We also pay the cost of public corruption.  We rightly hold those who seek and accept positions of authority and leadership in our community to the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.  Everyone appointed or elected to a position in government owes us a duty to follow the law.  When they ignore their duty or violate their oaths of office, they violate our faith in government and they abuse the public trust.  They must be held accountable.

I will deal aggressively with economic crimes because they impose costs on us today, and prevent investment in our future.  I will pursue public corruption swiftly and with certainty.

I will aggressively prosecute crimes committed against our first responders.  First responders risk their lives and the security of their families on our behalf every minute of every day.  They are willing to sacrifice everything in furtherance of the greater good.

These courageous heroes, and those who support them, deserve our respect, our admiration and our prayers.  We do them – and ourselves – a grave disservice when we treat crimes committed against them as “part of the job.”

Advocating for Meaningful Justice

As your district attorney, I will serve as the chief law enforcement officer and chief prosecutor for the First Judicial District.  The First Judicial District is not a place on the map.  It is the people of Los Alamos, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe Counties.  It is you, me, our families and our neighbors.

Through my commitment to the rule of law, I will advocate for meaningful justice for all of us.

I will secure justice for the victims of crime.  Crime deprives victims of their rights.  Victims of violent crimes may have suffered a painful and debilitating injury.  Their lives or the life of a loved one may have been taken.  Victims who have been robbed, or whose homes or businesses have been burglarized, are deprived of their property, their security, their peace of mind.

As your district attorney, I will secure justice for victims by holding those who deprive us of our rights accountable for their unlawful conduct in a timely manner.  I will take all available steps to ensure offenders do not re-victimize their victims, and that they pay restitution for the harm and losses they inflict on others.

I will secure justice for the community.  Offenders who commit a crime against any one of us deprive all of us of our rights.  We all lose the right to feel secure in our homes after a friend’s, a neighbor’s or a family-member’s home has been invaded.  We all lose the right to feel safe on our streets when a friend, neighbor, family member or visitor to our community is assaulted and robbed.  We all suffer pain and loss when a drunk driver takes the life of a member of our community.

I will secure justice for our community holding offenders accountable and by rejecting selective law enforcement.  Selective law enforcement invites more criminal conduct and causes harm to more victims.  As members of the community, we have the right to know that those who commit crimes will be held accountable and to know that everything possible has been done to prevent criminals from causing further harm.

I will secure justice for criminal defendants and offenders.  I will secure justice for criminal defendants by protecting their constitutional rights.  We must protect the constitutional rights of criminal defendants:  Their rights are our rights.

I will also secure justice for defendants by ensuring that the law is properly applied to their cases and by prosecuting only those cases where the evidence is legally sufficient.  I will secure justice for offenders by giving them the opportunity to undo the harm they have done, and to change their behavior through rehabilitation and recovery.

Experience that Matters

My experience and skills make me well-qualified to be your district attorney.  Throughout my decades-long career, and regardless of whether I was working as a volunteer, a private-sector employee, or a government lawyer – I have achieved substantial success through hard work, teamwork and a passionate commitment to service.

I have been a resident of Santa Fe County for more than twenty years.  Since earning my law degree in 2007, I have dedicated my career to criminal justice by serving the people of the First Judicial District and the State of New Mexico as an assistant district attorney and as an assistant attorney general.  Before earning my law degree, I worked for nearly thirty years in leadership positions in the private sector.

  • Our district needs – and you deserve – a district attorney whose decisions are grounded in established principles, respect for the law, and values that honor honesty, integrity and hard work.  I am that person.

My commitment to the rule of law means I will enforce the laws adopted by the legislature, I will uphold the societal values our criminal justice system promotes, and I will perform the duties of the office of district attorney with honesty and integrity.  It means I reject selective, politically motivated law enforcement.  It means I will pursue justice for all the people.

  • Our district needs – and you deserve – a district attorney who is a committed prosecutor, who is not afraid to prosecute even the toughest cases, and to take cases to trial.  I am that prosecutor.

During my four-year-tenure as an assistant district attorney and as an assistant attorney general, I aggressively prosecuted hundreds of cases including homicides, domestic violence crimes, child abuse, DWIs, white collar offenses and violations of probation.  I took dozens of cases to trial.  I have never been afraid to stand up in court and demand justice for victims, the community and defendants.

  • The district needs – and you deserve – an experienced and tenacious advocate to argue on your behalf.  I am that advocate.

During my years as a prosecutor and as an assistant attorney general arguing criminal appeals before the New Mexico Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals, I worked tirelessly on behalf of the rights of the people of the state of New Mexico.  During my decades of work as an advocate before U.S. and international government bodies, I successfully advocated on behalf of consumers, local and national businesses employing thousands of workers, and taxpayers.

  • The district needs – and you deserve – a district attorney who is a successful leader of people and organizations, a proven and efficient manager, and an effective team player.  I am that leader, manager and team player.

My decades-long track record of success and achievements in both the public and private sectors provide testimony to my leadership, management and team building abilities.  I have led diverse groups of individuals.  I have designed and implemented management systems to ensure the efficient use of resources and improve productivity and effectiveness.  I have built coalitions focused on collaboration and developing policies that accomplish shared goals, and that serve and advance the greater good.

I Need and Ask for Your Help

My election this November ensures that you will have a district attorney whose commitment to the rule of law will make our community a safer and more secure place for us, our families and our friends to live, work and prosper.  I respectfully ask for your support and for your vote on November 8.

Vote November 8, 2016

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