83°F
Sponsored by

Candidates Debate in Fresno County Judge's Race

The June primary is two weeks away. And Monday night candidates vying for Fresno County Superior Court judge squared off in a debate. The candidates met at Fresno State.
The June primary is two weeks away. And Monday night candidates vying for Fresno County Superior Court judge squared off in a debate.

The candidates met at Fresno State.

They focused on their experience and how each candidate would improve efficiency in the criminal justice system, including jail overcrowding.

Former prosecutor and current law professor Rachel Hill says a judge should consider alternatives to jail time, such as one or two year drug treatment programs.

"There are a lot of low level offenders that can be diverted through other means, that don't need to be taking up valuable space in the jail. And we can actually effectively treat them, more effectively, more efficiently and it's just a win win for everybody," Hill said.

Defense attorney Charles Magill favors alternatives to jail - such as ankle monitors.

"The reality is the judges need to recognize it and only take violent felons and leave them there. And start talking about releasing the people who are non-violent and giving them an opportunity. Not to go out and steal seven or eight more cars, but to come up with ideas to deal with the problem," Magill said.

Chief deputy district attorney Lisa Gamoian says a judge can make an impact by moving cases through the courts more efficiently. She supports construction of more jail beds.

"For a diversion or any honor release or any ankle monitor system to work you have to have bed space. Because if they break the rules, if they don't do the program, there has to be a consequence. Otherwise it's meaningless, we are setting these people up for failure. That makes no sense," Gamoian said.

Administrative law judge Steven Smith says Fresno County needs to hold attorneys accountable to be prepared.

"Making sure that we are running an efficient court room. That is moving all the cases through thoroughly. Not wasting civilian officers or attorneys times," Smith said.

Fresno County prosecutor Jarrett Cline says courts should update technology to increase efficiency. He's come up with a smart phone application to schedule court dates.

"The DMV has a 30 minute wait time estimate. I don't understand why we couldn't have that. A vast majority of Fresno's cases go by a template some take more time and more energy. But I believe that we need to look at it with a fresh pair of eyes," Cline said.

The race could end up in a run-off in November between the top two vote-getters, unless one candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote.
Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus
YLEH-small_300_white-back.png