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Santa Clara County, CA June 6, 2006 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Karyn Sinunu

Candidate for
District Attorney; County of Santa Clara

This information is provided by the candidate

The Office of the District Attorney is non-partisan, by law. As the chief law enforcement executive in the county, the District Attorney represents all the people, even those she prosecutes. The office is independent from all other governmental entities, such as city councils and police departments. Independence is crucial because the District Attorney is responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes committed by anyone, regardless of position or profession, who violates state law. Accordingly, I have pledged my loyalty only to the fair administration of justice for all.

I am a registered Democrat and consider myself moderate. Personal choice and privacy should be protected from governmental interference. In fiscal matters I support a healthy economy which fosters individual prosperity, freedom and public safety.

The chief law enforcement officer must make community safety her highest priority. That means more than just being "tough on crime."

I embrace the "broken windows" theory of community safety. The dynamic starts with a broken window. If left unrepaired, it attracts another broken window and yet another, which attracts littering and graffiti. If these seemingly minor crimes are ignored, the result is a blighted environment fostering illegal drug sales, abandoned cars, and violence. And once an area is crime-ridden, businesses fail. Prosecution of minor crimes is the key to ensure prosperous and safe neighborhoods.

Although we do not know all the causes of criminal behavior, family violence is one. Children who suffer abuse directly as objects of physical or sexual abuse, or vicariously, as witnesses to domestic violence, are more likely to become adult offenders or victims. Vigorous prosecution of domestic violence and child abuse will be guided by these truths.

Effective rehabilitation works as way for many people to rejoin the productive, law-abiding community. But those who cannot be rehabilitated - sexual predators, violent or repeat offenders and career criminals - must be sequestered from the community for as long as necessary. I therefore endorse the principle of "3 strikes," with one caveat: cases in which the triggering offense is simple drug possession, and there are no aggravating factors, such as weapons, involvement of minors, or intent to distribute, will not result in a life term.

Practicality and Fairness: treatment for addicts

The most effectve deterrent to drug law violations has proven to be treatment of the underlying health issue: addiction. Drug treatment courts, where judges have an ongoing, active role in monitoring defendants' progress, are working in our county to rehabilitate addicts and reduce recidivism. I support drug treatment courts.

Compassion: victim rights

Victims of crime have rights, to be heard on sentencing issues and to receive restitution and state compensation. I wrote the book for prosecutors on victims' rights. And I fully support the newly instituted Restitution Calendar in Superior Court, which the District Attorney initiated.

Openness and Accountability

Government should operate as openly as possible, without compromising security or privacy interests. The District Attorney works in the public view every time we appear in court. Most of what we do becomes public record because whenever we file a case, the court file is a public record. We try our cases in courts open to public attendance. But we cannot publish, for example, results of ongoing investigations, individual criminal histories, or results of investigations that do not result in court filings.

And yet I will do more to promote openness. I will create a District Attorney Advisory Forum at which representatives of community interest groups will voice their constituents' law enforcement-related concerns to me. I will, in turn, share the concerns of the law enforcement community to create a dialogue between the people of Santa Clara County and the Office of the District Attorney.

In sum, as District Attorney, I will discharge my duty to ensure public safety independently, intelligently and vigorously, with fairness, compassion, and accountability.

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: May 31, 2006 14:24
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