Walsh’s record is dismal! In 2010 and 2011, over 61% of all cases with mandatory prison charges were either dismissed prior to trial, or pled out to different charges… and released on probation. This statistic points to an abysmal failure to carry out the duties of the County Attorney’s office.
What is absolutely mind-numbing is that these statistics do not include Aggravated DUI’s, Escape, Smuggling or Methamphetamine charges. These offenses often carry mandatory prison sentences, but under Walsh’s administration have mostly received probation. This problem is not with the individual prosecutors, as Walsh wants to imply. I cannot, and will not, allow my opponent to “pass the buck” to avoid accountability. Something as basic as designing a proper office policy so that cases are handled in the most vigorous way possible was not done under Jim Walsh’s administration.
The shocking 61% statistic does not include the vast number of cases turned down by the county attorney’s office. Cases should be turned down when there is little to no chance of conviction; but the number of cases declined by the Pinal County Attorney’s office is abnormally large and statistically significant.
I am outraged by this – and Pinal should be too! I ask you, why is my opponent comfortable with flat-out dismissing a case or amending the charges so that dangerous defendants are released on probation? We’re talking about crimes like Kidnappings, Shootings, Assisting a Criminal Street Gang and even Homicide! After prosecuting for about a decade at the Maricopa County Attorney’s office, I’ve learned that releasing dangerous felons on probation only increases crime. My opponent brags that his office continues to charge more and more crimes since 2005 – that’s nothing to brag about – it’s something to be ashamed of. Look at our neighboring county, Maricopa – in that county prosecutions have decreased by almost 10% over about that same period of time, and that’s a good thing. A study by the Arizona Prosecuting Attorney Advisory Council stated that as prison sentences for violent first offenses increases, the Arizona prison population decreases! It’s a shame my opponent doesn’t understand this.
When Pinal’s dangerous felons are not being sent to prison, of course Walsh’s work load has increased since 2005. That’s a statistic of ineptitude. Based on my opponent’s own admission, more of our tax payer dollars will be spent on charging these violent offenders instead of putting them in prison the first time…and decreasing the costs of repeat violent offenses, additional victims’ restitution, retaliatory crimes and multiple other increased costs. His lack of actual prosecution experience creates much higher taxes for our Pinal residents. Let’s not forget that prosecution is more than 90% of the county attorney’s work.
My team and I will continue to research Mr. Walsh’s record. His way of doing things and my way are worlds apart. I have seen prosecutors get lazy – sometimes they just want to “coast” as impending retirement nears, or they become afraid to prosecute because of threats of violence. Sometimes it’s outright mismanagement, or worse.
This has nothing to do with being a Democrat or Republican; it has to do with what’s right and what’s wrong and the ability to do the job that the electorate has charged you to do. His record is unacceptable. The people of Pinal County deserve better.
Walsh says that he is “stepping up the pace in 2012”. May I ask, “Is he playing politics again?”