Candidate Answer #6 Reinventing Debtors Prison
Is this a valid complaint?
Our local, county and state governments enact laws and ordinances as they see fit for the greater good of our society based on precedent. As members of the society, citizens are responsible for their behavior including observing the laws enacted by their representatives. Law Enforcement Officers have taken an oath to uphold the laws without discrimination. If a person, poor or rich, decides to break the law such as speeding and is given a ticket by law enforcement, then that person should accept consequences for that action and find a lawful remedy by addressing the citation immediately. The complaint as listed in the article appears to be a complaint geared more towards the judicial side of the system as judges have the discretion to work with the ticketed party to find a suitable resolution for the citation.
What is the solution?
Citizens must appear before the court and work with the court as soon as they receive citations. They must not ignore the citations which obviously creates a larger problem. The Judges that I have worked with are often quite sympathetic to each person’s situation and will work with them to satisfy the citation.
Question # 5 Refugee Resettlement
Candidate Answer #5 Refugee Resettlement
With the current situation in the Middle East that is causing this influx of refugees, Texas is not the answer. The United States government is using the states, including Texas, as a way to solve the refugee issue in the world. The U.S. government is unable to vet these refugees, and the State of Texas, county and municipal governments have no resources to vet these refugees. It is not a good policy to open our communities to unknown individuals that may possibly have terrorist ties. These refugees need to be given safe zones using United Nations Troops within their own country and not spend our tax dollars relocating them to the United States.
Question # 4 Overcriminalazation
Please review video Overcriminalization in 60 Seconds
Candidate Answer #4 Overcriminalization
From my perspective as Chief of Police for the City of Montgomery, I am responsible for enforcing the laws that our legislators pass while upholding the citizens’ rights provided by the constitution. I would do the same as your Sheriff. In order to determine if there is a relationship between overcriminalization and the growing jail population in Montgomery County, I would have to research the causes for arrest of each inmate over a period of time.
What response should society have to overcriminalization and prison overcrowding?
As a democratic people, we should hold our elected officials accountable particularly when passing and ruling on laws. If our representation at all levels of government pass laws that overreach, then we must make our voices heard by replacing our representation and/or having our representation repeal, replace or completely eliminate an overreaching (overcriminalizing) law.
Question #3 Filming the Police
With the advent of smartphones and amateur journalist blogging the filming of public interaction of law enforcement with the public has grown exponentially. The existence of these digital records can have a significant effect, either positive or negative on investigations and conduct of law enforcement as they go about their duties.
One recently proposed bill sought to create a misdemeanor for filming within 25 ft.
Police agencies are responding by drafting new policies that address the legal issues for the public and the members of law enforcement. Recently, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Dept. and Pct 5 Constables Office attended a NPPA Conference in advance of developing a policy for Montgomery County.
As a Lawmaker, Law enforcer or Law Judge,
What elements must a good policy include and what role should the public play in its development and implementation?
Candidate Answer #3 Filming the Police
As a “Law Enforcer”, I feel the public has a right to film police officers as long as it does not interfere with the law enforcement officers’ performance of their duties and the disruption of a crime scene. While the public should have input regarding a policy through means such as town hall meetings, the overall policy should be developed and implemented by the law enforcement agency’s administration with consultation from legal counsel and city or county governing bodies. Each policy should be carefully considered, crafted and implemented in order to be reasonable, effective and fair.
With regard to law enforcement policies such as one that addresses filming of law enforcement, it is up to individual agencies to determine what policies should be included in each department’s standard operating procedures and how to incorporate the policies within their jurisdiction. In a very general concept, elements of a good policy should include but are not limited to:
- Purpose for the policy
- Policy description
- Procedures (Actions) for personnel
- Officer/Deputy Responsibilities
- Supervisor Responsibilities
- Incident Response Protocols
- Administrative Process
- Reference to Relevant Legislation
In regards to whether or not the public should be involved in the writing of Police policy is a delicate decision as the police are public servants and our position is only there because the public elect to have a police agency to enforce the laws they have written through elected officials. As all that we do, each Police Administrator needs to consider both the needs of the public and the needs of the officers and their mission that the public is asking them to do. So careful consideration and discussion should take place between the senior police administrators, elected officials, and the citizens to develop a policy that fits the needs of the community. The appointment and or election of the proper person will be a large component in the development of these type of policies.
Question #2 The Nature of Law
During Texas 84th legislative session State Representative Mark Keough introduced HB 3184 a bill seeking to import the civil law process of mediation into criminal law. The law applied to some first time misdemeanor and felony offenders. The bill passed though the legislative process but failed to become law on veto by Governor Greg Abbott who stated “Making amends with the victim of a crime does not absolve the criminal of his legal debt to the State.”
Do you agree with the Governor? What is the purpose of law from your point of view as a Legislative/Judicial/ Law Enforcement official? Who is it intended to protect?
What should be the role or effect of private judging companies (such as Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service) in the judicial or incarceration system?
(answer should be based on elected office sought.)
Candidate Answer #2
Do you agree with the Governor?
While I agree that a convicted criminal should pay his legal debt to the State, I also believe that HB 3184 as written would have been beneficial to the criminal law process for the following reasons:
· The bill is aimed at first time offenders of lower level crimes (i.e. vandalism, shoplifting, criminal mischief) — those who have not been previously convicted of a felony or misdemeanor other than a traffic offense and have only been arrested for or charged with a misdemeanor or state jail felony.
· All parties must agree to participate in the program if the above requirements are met. It is a pre-trial mediation program that requires: the offender to satisfy the requirements of entering the program; the attorney representing the state to consent to the offender’s referral to the program; the consent of the victim to be obtained; and the offender taking responsibility for his or her actions to include issuing an apology to the victim, paying restitution to the victim, performing community service or both, paying restitution and performing community service.
· There is no additional cost to tax payers for the inclusion of this program as written in the bill. The costs associated with the program are paid for by the offender – court costs of $15 plus additional program participation fees such as testing, counseling or treatment.
· The case may be returned to the docket of the court and proceed through the regular criminal justice system if: the offender does not satisfy the conditions of the mediation program (entering into a mediation agreement or fulfilling the terms of the agreement), the mediator determines mediation to be ineffective, or the victim or offender no longer wants to participate or cooperate.
· The program allows victims to receive expedited justice and restitution, which they may not otherwise receive in the regular criminal justice system proceedings. Victims can reconcile emotional outcomes such as anger, fear and distrust with the offender, and reconcile monetary outcomes for damages and/or stolen property.
· Research in this area suggests that this program reduces recidivism among offenders, reduces jail overcrowding and saves money on court costs.
What is the purpose of law from your point of view as a Legislative/Judicial/ Law Enforcement official?
The purpose of law from my point of view as a Law Enforcement official is to maintain civil harmony amongst the population in a fair and just way. My goal is to protect and serve the citizens by enforcing laws that our legislators pass. Laws are implemented to protect each citizen and his or her property from harm or loss. Without law, anarchy and crime would be the rule of the day. Our job as a Peace Officer is to is to maintain peace and order so the citizens can work and live without the fear of crime or harm.
Who is it intended to protect?
What should be the role or effect of private judging companies (such as JudicialArbitration and Mediation Service) in the judicial or incarceration system?The role or effect of private judging companies in the judicial or incarceration system should be to support the system by alleviating the burden of low-level, first-time offender cases as laid out in the victim-offender mediation program to resolve cases in a more efficient, less costly process with improved outcomes for the victims and offenders. The goal of the victim-offender mediation program is to provide support for the victims by allowing them to meet in a safe and controlled setting with their offenders in an effort to heal and receive satisfaction from a restitution plan that addresses the harm caused by the offender. The program allows for first time offenders to understand the impact they had on victims and to take full responsibility for their actions while giving them an opportunity mitigate the impact of a criminal record on their future.
Question #1 Civil Asset Forfeiture.
Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett said “A generation ago in America, asset forfeiture was limited to wresting ill-gotten gains from violent criminals. Today, it has a distinctive ‘Alice in Wonderland’ flavor, victimizing innocent citizens who’ve done nothing wrong.”
Candidate Answer #1
No response submitted to this question.