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Collin County District Attorney Q&A

Recently, we sent out 10 questions to the DA candidates. I will go back and analyze some of the answers soon.
Unfortunately, my blog platform is having problems, and I am not able to edit these post very well right now. As soon as it’s back up, I’ll add more. Below is the first article by the Collin County Observer publishing those answers. —

 

District Attorney candidate questionnaire responses

The Collin County Observer, in a collaboration with the Frisco DWI Lawyer’s Blog recently sent all four District Attorney candidates a 10 question form designed to give the voters an insight both into the plans each candidate has for operating the DAs office and their approach to criminal justice.

The Collin County District Attorney is responsible for prosecution of all criminal cases in the county. The DA runs a large operation, divided into ten divisions. These divisions are: Intake/Grand Jury, Misdemeanor Trial, Felony Trial, Family Justice (crimes against children section, domestic violence section), Special Crimes, Appellate, Hot Checks, Investigations, Operations and Victim/Witness Assistance. The DA also may represent the County in civil cases.

The DA’s office has 116 employees and its 2010 budget is $10,775,827.

The questionnaire contained 10 questions. The first 5 involved the organization and operation of the department:

1. What do you think about the current structure/staffing of the ADAs? Would you shift attorneys around?

2. What do you think about the criminal special crimes section? Would you make changes in that section, and if so, specifically how?

3. Will you get in the courtroom and actually try cases? Why or Why Not?

4. In general, what changes would you be making if you became District Attorney?

5. Right now, only three people in the District Attorney’s office have authority to dismiss a case. The misdemeanor division chief for misdemeanor cases, the first assistant for felony cases, and of course, the elected District Attorney. What do you think of this policy? Would you allow misdemeanor court chiefs and or felony court chiefs to dismiss cases they feel should be dismissed?

The next question addressed the recent attempt by DA John Roach to arm a “Rapid Response Team” with automatic weapons and riot gear:

6. Current DA John Roach recently proposed using funds to purchase weapons and body armor for the Investigators in the office. What do you plan on doing with these weapons, and will your investigators continue to train to be a emergency security staff for the court?

And the last 4 questions with policies affecting the administration of justice:

7. Do you have any plans to expand or develop alternative/deferred sentencing programs? What programs have you seen or heard of that you would implement?

8. What lessons should the Collin County District Attorney learn (if any) from Dallas County’s experience with their Innocence Commission?

9. Do you believe our indigents are well served and fairly treated in our “Indigent Defense Plans”? What changes to the plans might you recommend to the Board of Judges?

10. Would you bar defendants from open pleas before a judge if a plea agreement can not be reached, or would you reserve the right to object if you thought the judge might be more lenient than your plea offer was? Which level of prosecutors in the office would be allowed to make this decision?

As of the deadline at midnight on Sunday 3 of the candidates had returned their completed questionnaires:

James Angelino’s responses are here

Jeff Bray’s responses are here

Greg Willis’ responses are here

The questions are specific and so the responses are long. The Observer offers this in-depth look at each of these candidates in the hope that the discerning voter will gain valuable insight into the plans and philosophy of each of these well qualified candidates.

The Observer thanks each of these gentlemen for taking the time to submit thoughtful answers to our questions. Our readers can look forward to further analysis and discussion of these issues in both The Collin County Observer and the Frisco DWI Lawyer’s Blog.

Bill