Election 2014: District attorney candidates on death penalty, corruption, office-involved shootings

Published: Monday, Apr. 28, 2014 - 12:00 am

The Bee’s editorial board asked three candidates running to replace District Attorney Jan Scully about issues including the death penalty and how they might have handled reports that a legislator, Assemblyman Richard Pan, didn’t live in the district he represented. Scully is stepping down after 20 years from the nonpartisan office.

Maggy Krell

Deputy attorney general – Democrat

What’s your view of the death penalty?

I support the death penalty in the most extreme cases. I would make the decision after discussion with victim’s family, law enforcement and the defense. I’d ask for any information they could tell me about the defendant’s background. We want to use this as infrequently as possible. We want to be talked out of this. But it is the law and I would be willing to enforce it.

How would you handle public corruption, and would you prosecute legislators who claim to live in their districts but don’t?

I see a need to be setting up a task force with the Fair Political Practices Commission. … Residency issues certainly have been in the news with Sen. Roderick Wright’s case. It is a violation of criminal law that could wind up in the district attorney’s office and we’d have to evaluate. I really don’t know enough (about the Pan matter). I saw what was in The Bee. If there is nothing new, I don’t know that it would be reopened. I don’t know enough to give you an informed answer.

Would you restore the district attorney’s unit that investigates police-officer-involved shootings?

It’s essential that the District Attorney’s Office investigates and reviews officer-involved shootings, and restoring the integrity of law enforcement organizations that serve this county.

Todd Leras

Attorney, former deputy district attorney and assistant U.S. attorney – Democrat

What’s your view of the death penalty?

I do not favor the death penalty. The death penalty is broken, and I don’t see a way to fix it. It remains the law. Because of unfairness and differences among the 58 counties, I don’t see any uniformity, and as a result it results in real disparities. I can’t think of a worse thing than executing an innocent person. The voters of this state approved the death penalty. It remains the law. I tend to favor for moral reasons life without parole.

Would you restore the district attorney’s unit that investigates police-officer-involved shootings?

Officer-involved shooting review is one of the most important issues in the district attorney’s race. The vast majority of officers are honest and completely above board. But to say over the course of 20 years we’ve never had a shooting that raises serious questions is troublesome.

If elected, would you investigate the Richard Pan matter?

I’d take a look at it.

Anne Marie Schubert

Deputy district attorney – Republican

What’s your view of the death penalty?

Obviously Californians rejected Proposition 34, which would have abolished the death penalty. I’m not offended by a jury making a decision in any way that this person should or should not get it. I feel if somebody walks into a downtown theater and blows away 20 kids, it should be an option for juries.

I think it’s broken now. I’m absolutely adamant, if we don’t fix it in next couple of years, quite frankly I don’t blame the voters for getting rid of it.

Why did the district attorney not pursue the Richard Pan matter?

I can’t tell you the answer to that. I’m not part of management on that particular case. … I’m sure there are many people over in that Capitol building who are concerned whether their domicile is sufficient.

Would you restore the district attorney’s unit that investigates police-officer-involved shootings?

I would fully restore and send district attorney investigators to the scenes of shootings.

Read more articles by The Editorial Board

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