A new partnership with law enforcement to bring stronger cases and hold criminals accountable
I have spoken with law enforcement, attorneys, and concerned citizens about the criminal side of the Prosecuting Attorney’s responsibilities, and a recurring theme is that the incumbent has a hard time telling the good guys from the bad guys, choosing too often to prosecute felonies as misdemeanors—or not at all—while going after good people on technicalities. Recently, the Mayor of Rigby publicly endorsed me, in part because of that recurring pattern of rejecting the city’s felony cases.
I have also heard responses from the incumbent’s office: that in such cases the police work is inadequate, and they cannot in good conscience bring the case—doing so could be unlawful or unethical. They argue that refusing to bring such cases is the only way for them to do their duty.
Regardless of whose side we may take, here is my analysis of the situation: On the one hand, rejecting bad cases may be the ethical thing to do, but it does not change the fact that some crimes have been committed for which no one has been held accountable. On the other hand, blaming the incumbent’s office does not eliminate the need for law enforcement to be teachable and to adapt their practices so that more of their hard work results in prosecutable cases.
What would I do differently? First, I would form a new partnership between law enforcement and my Prosecuting Attorney’s office, continuing to build the relationship of mutual trust and respect we have started. Next, my Prosecuting Attorney’s office would train law enforcement in the aspects of the law where their prior cases might have fallen short of legal standards. Law enforcement is open to this, and while the incumbent has talked about doing it, such training has not occurred. By rebuilding the partnership, we would be more effective at working together to prosecute even the most difficult cases and protect our community.
Efficient, accountable, and transparent use of county attorneys and taxpayer dollars.
Efficient: Jefferson county is near the top of the list of the fastest growing counties in Idaho—the fastest growing state in the nation. Besides prosecuting criminal cases, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office is the legal advisor on civil law issues to the county commissioners and the other county departments (like Road & Bridge, Planning and Zoning, etc.). The Prosecuting Attorney negotiates and prepares the county’s contracts, prepares ordinances and resolutions, and advises on personnel matters and taxation. Our growth has created a huge need for that civil law enforcement and advice.
The current Prosecuting Attorney recently hired a third, full-time criminal attorney, yet only has one part-time deputy for civil law issues, whose main duty is to advise the Commissioners. To try to fill the civil law void, the incumbent has assigned one of his criminal deputies to spend less time prosecuting crime and more time advising Planning & Zoning. Unfortunately, it is not his expertise and not an efficient use of the county’s legal resources.
It would be more efficient to have me advising the county on its civil law needs and eliminating the part-time civil position (returning its $67,000+ salary back into the office’s budget). This would put the focus of the two deputies back on their criminal expertise.
Accountable & Transparent: I have also heard complaints about the incumbent hiring the third, full-time attorney without showing publicly that the office’s caseload justifies it. There are citizens who have requested the current Prosecuting Attorney’s caseload records, records about his decisions not to prosecute cases, and explanations for why some commissioners’ meetings have gone into nonpublic executive sessions. The Prosecuting Attorney’s office has denied those requests.
I believe citizens have a right to know the decisions that their elected officials are making on their behalf and why. As your Prosecuting Attorney, I would act consistent with that belief.
Protection of our shared conservative values rooted in personal liberty and self-reliance.
Many consider Idaho to be the most conservative state in the nation, and people are moving to our county because they are conservatives who want to live with like-minded people. However, growth brings challenges to preserve our way of life that is attracting people here in the first place. The county would be better served with me advising county departments in ways they can protect our shared conservative values and prosecuting civil cases consistent with those values.
I have nothing against Paul Butikoffer personally; we are not acquainted with each other.
This is a simple summary of what I have learned. In choosing to run for prosecuting attorney, I’m offering you an informed choice to elect someone with 11+ years of prosecutorial experience and recognized good judgment. I strongly encourage you to VOTE with your absentee ballot to secure the future and safety of Jefferson County by voting Mark Taylor for Prosecuting Attorney.