Our community deserves to be safe. Safety means that residents of Wyandotte County should be safe from violence when they carry on day to day activities, such as dropping off kids from school, buying groceries, or waiting at a red light. Safety also means that residents should not live in fear of falling victim to the legal system. As District Attorney, I will truly serve the community through the following:
CONSISTENCY in treatment of similarly situated individuals
The cornerstone of justice is consistency. The outcome of a case should be fair and should not depend on the prosecutor assigned or how much money someone has to retain an attorney. I will set policies that require consistent treatment of similarly situated individuals to ensure that everyone who comes in contact with the criminal justice system in Wyandotte County is treated fairly.
Fairness starts with consistency in charging, consistency in plea offers and consistency in case resolutions for individuals charged with crimes. The current practice of charging a case that cannot be proven at trial, and then offering an absurdly low plea offer to inflate the office’s stats, needs to end. People’s lives are impacted negatively by this practice.
Fair treatment of victims is essential to build and maintain trust within the community. All crime victims should be treated with respect and compassion. Crime victims have a right to be informed from the beginning, what to expect of the criminal justice system and they should be notified of hearing outcomes before they happen. No one deserves to find out a case has been charged or resolved through the media.
REDUCE CRIME through a community-based strategy, including intervention with our youth
I will advocate for a community led crime reduction strategy focused on targeting violent crime and building community relationships. True crime reduction starts by bringing community members together with community leaders, prosecutors, law enforcement, service providers, educators, businesses and other stakeholders focused on reducing violent crime and building community wealth and partnerships to move forward together. Community engagement with our youth and access to restorative justice alternatives for young offenders who violate the law is also key to improving outcomes and making the community safer.
IMPROVE COMMUNITY SAFETY through consistent and diligent prosecution of violent criminals
We are experiencing a dramatic increase in violent crime with homicides up 55% and aggravated assaults up 40% from 2019. Meanwhile, the number of jury trials handled by the District Attorney’s Office is down over 50%. More repeat violent criminals are being given low plea offers to resolve the case and inflate office statistics.
REFORM current practices and reduce risk of re-offense
Non-violent offenders who cannot afford bond should not have to choose between staying in jail or accepting a plea offer. Forcing non-violent offenders to sit in jail for months because they cannot afford bond only to receive a dismissal or probation only creates barriers for them to re-enter society. Losing employment, housing and family support make it much more difficult to be successful upon release. Bond is requested by the District Attorney and set by the Court. I will ensure that a bond schedule is implemented to ensure people are not incarcerated solely due to their inability to pay.
Further, we must work as a community to address gaps in felon reentry services. After you have served a prison sentence, you have paid your debt to society. It is critical that we have supports in place so that returning felons are able to reenter our community and lead safe, productive, and peaceful lives.
TRANSPARENCY in charging decisions and cases on law enforcement use of force and misconduct charges
The current District Attorney has held many press conferences to announce charging decisions. However, when those charges have been quietly dismissed, as they have been in at least three high profile cases, there have been no cameras. My goal is to open that process up. If a case is charged, I will make the outcome public once the case is resolved. For cases that are submitted but not charged, I will release a public explanation outlining the law and facts that were applied in reaching a decision.
MAINTAIN AND IMPROVE the Conviction Integrity Unit
Cases asking for post-conviction relief should receive high priority, just like current trial cases. The District Attorney’s Office received a large amount of money for this important unit, however, the unit is ineffective. The review process should be free from the influence of the prosecutor who handled the original trial and free from the influence of defense attorneys. The unit has not been effective because the first person appointed by the current District Attorney to run the unit was not licensed to practice law in the State of Kansas. The employee was unable to perform the duties of the job for months while cases sat waiting for review. I will ensure that a neutral process is put in place and that qualified staff are appointed to the office.
Paid for by Kristiane Bryant for Wyandotte County District Attorney, Martin Cervantes Sr., Treasurer
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