Hopkins: The district attorney needs criminal law experience

The attorney who is elected district attorney in the coming election this year, must have serious depth of experience in criminal law practice to successfully run the District Attorney's Office.

I speak from a career as an attorney of almost entirely criminal practice on both sides from 1972 until 2018.

The voters of Lake County need to understand the importance of having an elected district attorney with actual experience in the criminal justice system at a high level. The district attorney must know what they are doing!

The Lake County District Attorney’s Office is woefully underfunded and everyone is overworked, so the head of the office has to get their hands and elbows into the work!

As an uninvolved boss in title only, the district attorney cannot ask for all of the staff to go all out to represent the interests of the people who live in Lake County when it comes to the crimes committed against them as individuals and as members of the community.

How long do you expect these overworked people to sacrifice and give it their all if their boss exhibits no leadership, has no experience, is just along for the ride and does not pitch in to help with the load.

Also quite importantly, if the district attorney has no experience in coordinating with law enforcement agencies and personnel, no experience handling serious criminal cases, and no experience making decisions affecting the entire criminal justice system, how can this boss even intelligently participate in important decisions affecting the entire system and county population?

How could such a boss convince all of those others involved how important the district attorney’s view of the issues is with respect to success in dealing with criminal behavior.

The district attorney’s position is not a figurehead in the criminal justice system; it is an extremely important leadership position and critically impacts the ability to successfully deal with crime and protect the people who live in Lake County.

The importance of leadership and experience cannot be overemphasized when choosing a district attorney!

Jon E. Hopkins is a former Lake County district attorney. He lives in Lakeport, California.