Will Decide Shortly On Endorsement!
Nicholas Sarwark is now running for County Attorney (Prosecutor) in Hillsborough County (Manchester/Nashua) New Hampshire. I endorsed Nicholas for Mayor of Phoenix!
Now one thing I think gives Nicholas an edge as a prosecutor is his experience in Colorado as a public defender. He’ll know both sides of the criminal justice system.
The NH ACLU did a survey and here it is:
Do you believe systemic racism in the criminal legal system of NH is real? Explain.
- In my 12 years of legal practice I’ve handled hundreds of criminal cases, including more than 35 jury trials. There are only a handful of times I’ve observed overt racism from a lawyer, judge, or law enforcement officer. Most people in our criminal justice system want to treat people equitably regardless of race or ethnicity. That said, the outcomes in the criminal justice system are worse for people of color. Lawyers, judges, and law enforcement officers have a responsibility to identify the root causes of the disparity of outcomes and work to build a system that lives up to our shared values of equal justice.
2. According to data released by the NHDOC, people of color make up a disproportionate percentage of the NH prison population. Do you believe people of color are disproportionately incarcerated in NH? What role, if any, do you believe prosecutors have played in the disproportionate incarceration of people of color in NH? If elected/re-elected, what will you do to end the disproportionate incarceration of people of color in NH?
- Data doesn’t lie. People of color are overrepresented in the New Hampshire prison system and they are often sentenced to a longer term of incarceration than similarly situated defendants who are not people of color. Prosecutors are responsible for setting policies for offering plea bargains to resolve cases outside of trial as well as for policies about what sentence to request after a guilty verdict. There may not have been any conscious effort from prosecutors to incarcerate people of color more frequently and for longer sentences, but that is what has happened and needs to be changed.
As Hillsborough County Attorney, I will seek equal justice before the law for everyone, regardless of race or ethnicity and establish that as a priority for all attorneys and staff in the office. We will do a review of cases that have been handled by the office to see if there are patterns of disparity that have occurred and work to eliminate disparities in treatment of defendants going forward.
3. If elected/re-elected, how will you promote police reform, specifically accountability for police misconduct including falsifying police reports?
- A prosecutor is called to seek justice, not just win convictions. Justice is served by prosecuting crimes within the bounds of the Constitution and the law, including fairness to the accused and not presenting questionable evidence. My office will not tolerate police misconduct, such as falsifying reports. If we discover it, we will inform defense counsel of the misconduct and work in cooperation with the law enforcement agency to ensure that it is corrected and that the offending officer is held accountable. We owe that to the people of Hillsborough County and to the majority of police officers who are honest and professional to not allow bad apples to spoil the bunch.
4. Do you support ending the enforcement of low-level drug offenses? Explain. If yes, would you commit to decreasing/deprioritizing the enforcement of low-level drug offenses in your county?
- As county attorney, I will take an oath to uphold the laws of the State of New Hampshire, which presently include criminal penalties for drug possession. The legislature is responsible for reforming or repealing those laws if appropriate and I will be happy to testify at the General Court about the effect of the existing laws on public safety in Hillsborough County. In talking to members of the community, they are most concerned about efficient use of limited resources and focusing on violent and property crimes that are the greatest threat to the quality of life that brought our family to the Granite State.
Every prosecutor’s office deals with limited time, staff, and money. The citizens of Hillsborough County expect their county attorney to effectively manage the taxpayer dollars they are entrusted with. That means focusing prosecution resources on those violent and property crimes that are the greatest threat to public safety, not simple possession offenses. Diverting people with a substance abuse problem out of the criminal justice system is less expensive and more likely to prevent repeat offenses than prosecution and imprisonment.
5. Do you support the decriminalization of sex work? Explain. If yes, would you commit to establishing a strong presumption against prosecuting pandering or prostitution related offenses in your county if elected/re-elected?
- Every prosecutor’s office deals with limited time, staff, and money. The citizens of Hillsborough County expect their county attorney to effectively manage the taxpayer dollars they are entrusted with. That means focusing prosecution resources on those violent and property crimes that are the greatest threat to public safety, not pandering or prostitution offenses. Helping those people who wish to get out of sex work find the resources to address their situation and divert them out of the criminal justice system is less expensive and more likely to prevent repeat offenses than prosecution and imprisonment.
6. Do you believe incarceration solves drug use, poverty, or homelessness? If no, what would you do if elected/re-elected to deprioritize the use of the criminal legal system in addressing these issues?
- Drugs are somewhat more difficult to obtain in prison or jail and incarcerated people have food and shelter, but incarceration isn’t a solution to the underlying problems that cause crime. Incarceration is the cost of not finding better solutions to drug use, poverty, and homelessness. Our entire community needs to come together to work on those solutions. Providing solutions without incarceration is a more effective use of limited taxpayer dollars than providing services inside of jail or prison.
The citizens of Hillsborough County want to reduce crime and recidivism in the most effective and efficient way possible. It is a much better use of taxpayer dollars to resolve a criminal case in a way that solves the underlying issues in a person’s life than it is to repeatedly lock a person up, just to have them reoffend when they get out of prison because the problems they are facing are still there. If an offense appears linked to underlying substance abuse, mental health, homelessness, or poverty issues, our office would work to make sure any case resolution addresses those underlying issues and save limited prison resources for serious offenses.
I like these answers. I think Sarwark has the proper handle on the issue. If he wins, a Libertarian will hold an important office in a leading jurisdiction in the state. He can help other LP members. So, as long as he does not take Soros money for DAs, he can have my support. We’ll check again just before the election.