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What will DA layoffs do to county’s already high crime rate?

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POSTED June 6, 2009 2:20 a.m.
On May 26, county officials handed out layoff notices to 12 deputy district attorneys.

yIt is imperative that county residents and business owners fully understand the implications of this decision which necessarily undermines the county’s ability to serve its most important function, ensuring public safety.  It is no surprise that our county has gained a national reputation, not for its lush agricultural countryside or award-winning wineries, but for a less coveted trait: violent crime.  Recently, the FBI ranked Stockton’s violent crime rate second among large cities in California, and eighth in the nation.  These statistics, alarming enough on their own, often obscure the surge of other crimes, such as vandalism, graffiti, drunk driving, and theft.

In fiscal year 2007-08, over 16,350 misdemeanors were prosecuted by the District Attorney’s Office.  In the latest fiscal year, that number is expected to top 18,000, with felony filings also expected to increase.   By ousting 12 deputies, the county has decided to eliminate every single deputy charged with prosecuting misdemeanors, as well as two experienced felony attorneys.  The numbers speak volumes: all seven deputies assigned to handle the 10,000-plus Stockton misdemeanor filings will be terminated; the two deputies who handle all 4,500 misdemeanors from the combined areas of Ripon, Escalon, Manteca, and Tracy will be terminated; the single deputy who handles all 2,500 Lodi misdemeanors will be terminated; and lastly, two felony deputies who handle crimes of the type that have propelled Stockton so high in the most disparaging of state and national rankings will be terminated.
Nicholas Scardigli
Deputy District
Attorney and Board Member of the
San Joaquin County Attorneys Association
June 5, 2009
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