Claycord.com alerted us to this report from ABC7New.com that $4.1 million in budget cuts to the Contra Costa District Attorneys’ office means that head prosecutor Bob Kochly will have to cut the jobs of 33 attorneys. And, apparently those attorneys mainly prosecute misdemeanors, which includes drunk drivers, petty thieves, minor drug crimimals, flashers...
So that means, if you follow the logic presented by this TV report, these crimes won’t be prosecuted in Contra Costa County.
Will Bob Kochly really allow his office to slide on charging drunken drivers? Even in the face of $4 million in budget cuts?
Just throwing out the question…
In any event, that’s the story—and it makes good headlines—certainly judging by the attention received by this rather heated, and, I must say, typically TV news chest-heaving report from ABC7.com:
“They’re calling it a ‘perfect storm’ in Contra Costa County. Their budget problems are so severe, crooks could go free. “
Crooks could go free!
So says KGO-TV’s anchors Dan Ashley and Carolyn Johnson and reporter Amy Hollyfield.
Okay, sure, there are probably elements to this story that are true and truly worrisome with regard to public safety. But, in my wicked, skeptical heart, I’m seriously trying to limit my eye-rolling as I read it...
The story goes on to quote Barry Grove, the president of the Deputy District Attorney Association: “I think it's horrible. I think it's absolutely horrible, and I can't imagine that government, whose highest purpose is the security of their citizens, would allow this to happen.”
Of course, there is a backdrop to all this: the Contra Costa County Supervisor’s are meeting over the next couple weeks to consider some big, difficult decisions about county spending. Not only are prosecutors’ jobs at risk, so are those of some 75 Sheriff’s deputies. Other agencies also face serious cuts--too numerous to list--but they include the employees and human services office, and the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
Kochly and his deputy DAs certainly have a political leg-up in this budget battle. They can play the “we’re-gonna-stop-prosecuting-drunk-drivers” card.
Okay, accuse me of being anti-law-and-order, anti-anything-having-to-do-with-going-after-drunk-drivers-public-masturbators-and-anyone-caught-with-a-misememeanor-level-drug-possession-charge.
Sorry, I just detect a whiff of you-know-what. As I said, I have no doubt that our local prosecutor’s office is facing tough times.
But, so is everyone in county government. So is everyone in the entire population!
I find it extremely hard to believe that Bob Kochly’s District Attorney’s office, made up of a bunch of lawyers—the most politically expedient animals on our planet—would not be playing this issue for all its worth. I've seen some of Kochly's prosecutors in action in courtrooms, and they sure know how to shape an argument and move dramatic tension to their advantage--however worthy their argument might be.
My prediction? There will be cuts to the District Attorney’s Office, as there will be to all county services. But the infernal fires of eternal damnation will freeze over before Bob Kochly—or his staff—political animals that they are—will allow drunk drivers and other misdemeanor perps to escape the consequences of their actions. If Kochly could, he would order his star homicide and gang prosecutors to slip in a few drunk driving cases before he'd allow such cases to slide.
C’mon: Kochly and/0r his politically aspiring minions have future elections to worry about!