OREGON DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
LINN COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY
WHY DID YOU BECOME A PROSECUTOR?
Truthfully, I became a prosecutor by accident. However, I have remained a prosecutor by choice. Right out of law school I began my legal career doing tax law. I enjoyed tax law, but found the part of the job I enjoyed most was trial work. I kept hearing that if I want to do a lot of trial work then I should look into prosecution. I landed my first prosecution job working in the Lincoln County D.A.’s office. I quickly realized that I landed in my dream job.
I did this for a few years, unfortunately, prosecution does not pay as well as other legal jobs. So, I left prosecution and worked as an attorney for an insurance company – chasing the almighty dollar. I soon learned that money isn’t everything and that job/life satisfaction is far more valuable. So, when the opportunity presented itself, I took a pay cut and came back to prosecution. I’ve been here ever since.
I enjoy the people I work with and the service to the community I can provide in this job. As long as the voters will have me, I intend to continue doing this work.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING PART OF YOUR WORK?
Obtaining justice for the little guy. I know many attorneys fancy themselves as someone who stands up for the little guy. As I have worked in the criminal justice system, I have learned that the little guy is most often the crime victim. For good reason, the law provides a defense attorney, investigation resources, and high burdens of proof as protections for a criminal defendant. Unfortunately, the law affords crime victims fewer protections and services.
I see small child abuse victims, domestic violence victims, rape victims, victims of burglary and many other crimes on a regular basis. It is rewarding to stand up for these people. One of the most rewarding moments at my job is when a jury of fellow citizens helps vindicate crime victims by declaring through their verdict that they believe the victim and that what was done to them was absolutely wrong. I see how justice rendered through our system can help victims heal and move forward in the face of the wrongs done to them. Being a part of this can be very rewarding.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF YOUR WORK?
Being the recipient of personal attacks. Whenever a prosecutor makes a decision, someone is usually not happy. When we charge a case, there can be many people unhappy with that. When we determine that it is inappropriate to charge someone with a crime, others may also be unhappy with that decision. When we choose to take a case to trial, some will be unhappy with that. When we choose to negotiate a case and avoid a trial, some can be unhappy with that.
Prosecutors do their best to make the best decisions they can for the community. They seek to make decisions that promote safety, obtain justice, and respect rule of law. Sometimes disgruntled individuals will make their displeasure known through personal attacks. Although they are part of the job, when you try to do your best at something and someone attacks you personally, that is never fun.
WHAT DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW ABOUT YOU AND THE WORK YOU DO?
I’m not necessarily someone who likes the limelight, so I really don’t clamber to get out and have people take notice of me. I am actually a fairly private person. I suppose I would be quite satisfied if people knew that I work very hard at, and think deeply about my job. I would like people to know I am doing my very best to serve them.
I’d also like them to understand how very vital it is that society pursues Justice. When one person selfishly commits a criminal act against another, society has a duty to vindicate the crime victim. When society fails at that duty, rule of law breaks down and all of our safety is put at risk. I would like folks to know that the prosecutor plays a vital role in helping society obtain Justice.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE THE COMMUNITY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?
I wish the community better understood just how much crime affects real people. I meet daily with people who have had their home burglarized, their car stolen, had a loved one raped, or even killed. So much of the criminal justice system focuses on the criminal defendant. However, I think if more people could meet face to face with real crime victims then Oregon lawmakers would pass better laws that prevent crime and help crime victims obtain real justice.
DO YOU HAVE VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES IN WHICH YOU PARTICIPATE?
While I hesitate to share my volunteer activities because they are so personal to me, I understand as an elected official, that it’s important for the community to know how deeply intrenched I am in our community. So, here is what I do…I am active and serve within my church/faith congregation. I serve on the steering committee of Linn County Child Abuse Network, I serve on the Department of Public Safety and Standards and Training Board. I also donate my efforts to many of the requests posted on JustServe.org. Recently, a rewarding experience has been to serve as a volunteer with a non-profit group assigned to assist a wonderful refugee family from the Central Republic of Africa. I assist in teaching reading skills, daily living skills, and helping with orienting family members integration into schools and jobs.
DO YOU HAVE ANY INTERESTING HOBBIES, SKILLS OR TALENTS?
I really enjoy woodworking. With the help of a fine mentor, I built my own desk at work. (This was self-funded. No taxpayer money was used for this.)
I previously lived in Japan and worked briefly as a Japanese translator. I enjoy sharing my love of the Japanese people and culture with others. I enjoy making sushi for friends and family. I also enjoy visiting Japanese gardens. I love to go on hiking or backpacking trips. My kids and I have summited South Sister, Mt. St. Helens, Black Butte, Iron Mountain, and other mountains in our area. Lastly, I also enjoy memorizing noteworthy works of the written word: poems, quotes, or bits of dialogue from Shakespeare’s plays.
OF THE WORK OF YOUR OFFICE, WHAT MAKES YOU THE MOST PROUD?
Linn County is blessed with some excellent employees in the Linn County DA’s office. Each of them care deeply about the safety of our community. They work tirelessly to protect the public by delivering justice. Each of them has a core of compassion and professionalism that is inspiring to me. That is what I am most proud of.
Diversion Programs and/or Alternative Sentencing Programs and Community Engagement Programs.
Drug Treatment Court
Domestic Violence Court
Mental Health Protocols
Family Drug Court
Juvenile Accountability Court
Peer Court for Juveniles
P&P Departure Incentive Program