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CANDIDATE  SURVEYS 

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Maricopa County Attorney Candidate Survey:
Rachel Mitchell

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Are you a precinct committeeman? If yes, for how long?

 

No

 

 

Please describe your political ideology. Are you conservative, moderate, pro-liberty, etc.?

 

I am conservative.

What is the proper role of government?

 

The role of government is to serve and protect the people by preserving their rights

 

 

Why are you running for Maricopa County Attorney?

 

The County Attorney’s Office has suffered under lack of leadership and vision. This has led to people leaving and fewer applications of new people. This has led to low morale, dropped cases, and dedicated employees having to triage cases. Lack of oversight has led to some bad decisions being made.

 

 

What qualifies you to be the next Maricopa County Attorney?

 

I have served in the MCAO for 30 years. I have handled complex caseloads, spending most of my time prosecuting crimes against children and other sexual offenses. I have supervised others as bureau chief and division chief. I also have served as chief deputy and acting county attorney. I have worked with a multitude of other professionals and worked extensively on legislation to protect victims of crime.

 

 

Describe your platform. If elected, what do you plan to accomplish as Maricopa County Attorney?

 

We must first restore integrity to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. People must have faith that the criminal justice system will protect them and act fairly. I will do this by being present and clearly communicating these expectations to staff. I will restore relationships with law enforcement so that they understand that we support law enforcement. This is not to say that we will blindly back law enforcement. We will hold them accountable as well. And we will hold ourselves accountable.

 

 

What criminal justice reforms do you support and/or oppose?

 

I support common sense reforms, not leniency for the sake of leniency. There is a big difference between someone who has a substance abuse problem and a dangerous criminal. The current system acts like it does not know the difference by releasing people on low or no bail. People, including law enforcement officers, in Maricopa County have died because of this. We must fight for high bonds where appropriate. The “catch and release” game is putting strain on an already overtaxed system by allowing people back out to commit new crimes. We also need to get people with substance abuse issues into treatment more quickly.

 

 

What do you believe is the role between the County Attorney's office and the local police departments?

 

The two are partners in protecting society but they are not the same entity. They must work together and support each other’s efforts but not at the expense of holding each other accountable.

 

 

What do you believe is the role between the County Attorney's office and federal law enforcement departments?

The two are partners in protecting society but they are not the same entity. They must work together and support each other’s efforts but not at the expense of holding each other accountable.

 

 

Should riots break out again in our cities where property damage, theft, and violence occurs, how would you handle it as the chief prosecutor?

The key is to be prepared. There needs to be a plan ahead of time to properly handle these cases. I would push to establish a protocol that would outline best practices on how cases would be handled by police and reviewed by prosecutors so that we could avoid issues of “cut and paste” probable cause statements and charging without proper evidence. I also would involve community leaders in the development of the protocol so that we are prepared to 1) hold lawbreakers accountable; and 2) honor citizens’ rights to peaceably assemble.

 

 

As violence continues to surge in our County, what role should the Maricopa County Attorney play in making our communities safe again?

 

MCAO plays a vital role in community safety. We must rebuild staff numbers in our office so that we can prioritize violent crime prosecution. We also must fight for higher bonds for violent and dangerous offenders.

 

 

What role should the Maricopa County Attorney's office play in preventing and providing justice when violent crimes against children occur?

 

This is what I have spent 25 years of my career working on. We must insist that best practices are followed when it comes to the investigation and prosecution of these offenses. We must work with the legislature to make sure that laws are appropriate and cover ever-changing technology to address those who would victimize children in a digital world—including using digital media to traffic children and others. We must take a leadership role in developing regional advocacy centers to best distribute resources while providing services to victims of crimes. We must educate other professionals on what is needed from an investigation to be successful in court.

 

 

What role should the Maricopa County Attorney's office play in protecting election integrity?

 

MCAO should prosecute people who violate election laws. We also must provide legal advice and guidance to the County Recorder to make sure that elections are conducted fairly.

 

 

What role should the Maricopa County Attorney's office play in preventing and providing justice when domestic violence crimes occur?

 

We need to make sure that prosecutors who work in this area are educated on victim needs so that they can work with victims to achieve a just outcome.

What benchmarks will you use to measure the work ethic and performance of your prosecutors as the Maricopa County Attorney?

 

I will ensure that supervisors actively oversee individual outcomes of cases. The job description of a prosecutor is “to do justice”. Sometimes that means helping people with addictions, etc., through the use of diversion. Sometime that means seeking incarceration. It is critical to have a leader who is present to constantly remind all staff of those expectations.

 

 

Please feel free to add any additional information you would like primary voters to know about your candidacy.

 

There is no question that I am the most qualified person to lead the office: I have led the office. I am the only person who works in the office—and I know how desperately it needs to change. I was one of the 5 supervisors who asked the former county attorney to step down because I know how much the office needs a leader. I am balanced in my approach and know the difference between someone who suffers from addiction and someone who is a danger to society. I support diversion for the former; I support incarceration for the latter. I have put more dangerous offenders in prison for lengthy and even lifelong terms than any other candidate. In appropriate cases, that will not change.