Full-Time Prosecutor and Public Accessibility
As the prosecuting attorney of Vigo County, I will commit my time to serve the community by being a Full-Time Prosecutor. Smaller, surrounding, Counties have a full-time prosecutor. So should Vigo County. Further, I will be Accessible to the public by being present at initial court hearings to ensure the defendant’s bond is fair and appropriate.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to justice. I pledge to devote my time to ensure each case gets the attention it deserves with a fair and compassionate resolution. I understand the law, I understand addiction, I understand the effects it has on family, and the compassion necessary to fully represent Vigo County.
There are situations where the defendant received a sentence that is not appropriate for the crime committed. Under my leadership, I will implement a sentencing integrity appeal program for defendants currently serving their sentences. This program will allow defendants to appeal to the prosecutor’s office for a sentence modification. A team, including myself, will review the circumstances surrounding the case, along with the sentence, and determine if it is proper for the defendant’s sentence to be modified.
Vigo County Informal Diversion Program
Under the new Vigo County informal diversion program, defendants without a significant criminal history would be considered to have their case not prosecuted immediately. Differing from the standard diversion program, the informal diversion program will allow the defendant’s charges to sit uncharged, pending no additional criminal charges, the act will not be prosecuted at all. Giving defendants who made a mistake not to have a criminal record or a more extensive criminal record. Prosecutors have prosecutorial discretion; this tool should be used to help the citizens of Vigo County.
Driver’s License Rehabilitation
Having the ability to drive is vital to every single resident of Vigo County. There are many Vigo County residents who have suspended driver’s licenses. A lot of these stem from simple fines that were not paid. Those with suspended driver’s licenses, excluding driving under the influence, will have their charges dismissed if they prove they are/will work to regain their driver's license.
Stop The Mass Pretrial Detention
Once the new jail is open and operational, it will be at 85% capacity. This is not sustainable. I know from experience there are people being held for simple drug possession charges for a period of 6 months only to ultimately be sentenced to In-home detention after pleading guilty. Those that are charged with low-level, non-violent crimes should not be detained. Doing so is not only unjust but also ineffective and inefficient. A lot of inmates detained cannot afford the bail given to them.
Although the prosecutor alone cannot overhaul the system, they do wield the power to initiate change. As prosecutor, I will fight to ensure the bond is fair and appropriate. Bail should only be used to promote the defendant’s appearance in court and to ensure public safety. Low-level, non-violent offenders should be offered a promise to appear in lieu of being detained. Giving the chance to appear in court without first detaining is the first step in addressing mass incarceration.
Additionally, there is a shortage of GPS trackers. Instead of detaining non-violent offenders, funding could be used to address the pre-trial detention problem. Lastly, pleas should be offered at a rapid pace, outside discovery issues. Finding resolutions to cases quickly will further curtail mass pre-trial detention.
In short, three things can be done to limit pre-trial detention: (1) promise to appear agreements for low-level, non-violent offenders in lieu of detention, (2) better use of GPS monitoring pre-trial, and (3) quicker resolution of cases.