by: Douglas N. Keener, Retired Chief Deputy District Attorney
I have lived in Vallejo for over forty years and I am concerned about prosecution of crime in our community. With over 34 years of law enforcement experience and as a retired Chief Deputy District Attorney for Solano County, I have been carefully following the race for DA. We need a change. I know both candidates and their work ethic. I am convinced that Krishna Abrams’ work ethic and prosecutorial experience makes her the best candidate for the position. It is time to elect a real prosecutor as the Solano County District Attorney. Krishna Abrams is that person.
“Accomplishments”? – The incumbent reminds me of the Roman Emperor Nero, fiddling away while Rome burned. During his term, violent crime has continued to climb throughout the County. In the past six weeks alone, there have been over 30 shootings, with two more in Vallejo yesterday. Yet, based on his campaign mailers, his accomplishments are:
Truancy Court (128 parents, is that 64 students?…a mere drop in the bucket versus the total of all truants in Solano County)
Family Justice Center (200 in one mailer, 400 in another mailer of persons served… again a mere drop in the bucket versus the annual number of crime victims)
Real Estate Fraud (no cases listed).
What happened in violent crime cases? No mention about his prosecution of these cases was made in any of his mailers.
Felony Convictions – The incumbent tells us “actions speak louder than words”. Yet, he repeatedly refuses to address his abysmal conviction rate, his outrageously high rate of plea bargaining and his outright dismissal of felony cases. The most recent official state report from the Judicial Council of California states
|Felony Conviction Rate||24%||73%||72%|
|Felony Plea Bargain/Dismissal Rate||68%||24%||27%|
Perhaps the incumbent believes that bragging about an unknown number of real estate fraud cases will divert voters’ attention from the explosion of violent crime in Solano County. You live here in Solano County. You probably know a victim of crime here. Do you even know of a victim of Real Estate Fraud? You are certainly aware of the escalating crime rate. Are these your priorities for the county’s chief law enforcement official? His priorities are definitely not ours. Do you feel safer with the incumbent as your District Attorney?
Mishandling of Evidence – A District Attorney has a legal obligation to disclose all evidence to the defense and the courts. In multiple homicide cases this obligation was ignored by the incumbent. The incumbent’s self proclaimed “gold standard” policy on discovery has been severely tarnished by both his and his staff’s willful violations of law. This so-called gold standard has caused one Superior Court Judge to state “policy has no value when prosecution’s deeds do not match its words” and most damning, “If this is the gold standard then God help us all,” the Judge was quoted as saying.
Failure to Address Responsibilities – The incumbent has failed in the following areas, as well:
Brown Act (Open Meeting Law) Violations and Training for Public Agencies – Ignored
Cold Case Homicide Unit – Eliminated
Investigative Unit – Drastically Reduced
Officer Involved Shootings – It is the direct duty of the elected DA to thoroughly review each and every officer involved incident in a timely manner. An officer who is required to use deadly force deserves the personal, individual and prompt attention of the elected DA. The victim and the family deserve this personal review, as well as the community, in a timely manner. Until the incumbent came into office this was the practice. Under the incumbent the responsibility is passed off to staff and, in many instances, more than a year has passed without resolution.
Victims’ Rights – The incumbent says he is “a strong leader in his support of victims’ rights” and touts the Family Justice Center having served 200 people. The District Attorney’s in-house Victim Assistance Unit, which has provided direct services to tens of thousands of crime victims since the early 1980s, has been virtually ignored by the incumbent. Perhaps this is why every member of the DA’s Victim Assistance Unit and every local victims’ group is endorsing Krishna Abrams.
Lack of Appropriate Experience – The DA should be someone who has prosecuted the most serious cases and who knows the law and the rules of evidence. The incumbent has never tried a murder case. Solano County deserves a District Attorney with real prosecution experience. Krishna Abrams has tried 20 of Solano County’s most complex murder cases over the past few years.
Inability to Understand Duties of District Attorney – The incumbent asserts that he is “committed to ensuring every child receives his or her legal right to an education.” Is he running for school board? The District Attorney has no jurisdiction to ensure education rights. That is the responsibility of local school officials and is enforced by the California Attorney General. Perhaps the incumbent is again trying to mislead voters by talking about a few truancy cases but telling us nothing about what he has done to address the hundreds of juvenile crimes that occur in Solano County each year.
Lack of Law Enforcement Support – The DA should be a leader among law enforcement officers, respectful of their work and responsive to their needs. With the incumbent’s record of “accomplishments,” it should be no surprise to anyone that every local law enforcement group that gave an endorsement in this election is supporting Krishna Abrams. The incumbent has NO backing from rank and file law enforcement.
Seeking to retain a Title – It seems that the incumbent is desperate to keep the title. As of today, the incumbent has poured $400,000 of his own money into his campaign. Why would a candidate personally pay over twice the annual salary of the position to be re-elected? It is apparent to me that he enjoys the trappings of the office, but not the day to day responsibilities of the position.
Need for Change – Those of us who support Krishna Abrams believe that the DA should be a leader in the justice system, setting the example of fairness and justice for all. The DA should be a leader in the community and a strong advocate and voice for victims, focusing efforts on prosecuting the most serious and repeat offenders, putting them in prison for as long as possible, and making it clear to criminals that violent crime will not be tolerated in Solano County. The incumbent’s conviction, dismissal and plea bargaining rates speak for themselves.
The incumbent’s lack of honesty, credibility, and integrity, along with his repeated dereliction in the performance of his duties as the chief law enforcement official in the county, all show that his actions do, indeed, speak louder than his words. He has had enough time to demonstrate any abilities and accomplishments, but instead we see only misdirected efforts and persistent failures. We can’t afford another four years under this incumbent.
Please go to abrams4da.com to see an exhaustive list of local law enforcement and fellow citizens who support her. As a resident of Vallejo since 1972 and active member of the community, I wholeheartedly support Krishna Abrams for District Attorney, and encourage all citizens of Solano County to join me in voting for KRISHNA ABRAMS.