District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is overstating her conviction rate
As a resident of La Jolla for over 30 years and a reader of the
La Jolla Light
, I appreciate your paper’s commitment to reach out and write articles of importance to our community. As a retired appellate justice, I particularly appreciated your thoughtful article in the March 27
highlighting the importance of the election for San Diego District Attorney in which the incumbent, Bonnie Dumanis, for the first time in several years is facing a challenge by
Although Bob is a friend of mine, my support for him is based on principled considerations.
Notwithstanding the fact that the district attorney’s term is not legislatively restricted to two or three terms, the concept of term limits is important. This was recognized long before California’s recently enacted term limits for state elective office; Thomas Jefferson, drafting the constitution for the State of Virginia (later to be considered as a model for the new federal government), urged a limitation of tenure, “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office.” Jefferson’s concern is highlighted in Brewer’s campaign, as outlined in your article.
Remaining in office for too long seems to have influenced the incumbent to publish statistics in an inaccurate fashion. Dumanis’ alleged 94-percent conviction rate has already been reported as misleading.
The latest court figures (from Fiscal Year 2011/2012) show the district attorney filed 16,406 felonies. These cases resulted in 15,567 convictions. Significantly, however, a “conviction” or “disposition” means the case was resolved
at the trial court through trial or plea as either a felony or misdemeanor and 4,526, of the filings (over 25 percent), resulted in convictions of misdemeanors. Because there were only 11,041 felony convictions the incumbent’s conviction rate is more accurately 67 percent.
Obviously, there may be valid reasons for a district attorney to elect to accept a plea to a misdemeanor rather than a felony, but there is no reason for an incumbent district attorney to distort the conviction record of her office to influence the electorate.
Retired California Appeals Court Judge
La Jolla Town Council
will host a
with the DA candidates
during its next meeting, 5 p.m. Thursday,
at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. The candidates will field questions from attendees.
Future looks bright
for San Diego tourism
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the San Diego Tourism Authority, and we San Diegans have much to celebrate. After a challenging 2013, the Tourism Authority is back running at full throttle, aggressively selling San Diego across the country and the world, and booking meetings, conventions and hotel room nights.
We recently embarked on the city’s largest seasonal marketing campaign, a $12 million blitz featuring national television and digital campaigns, print advertising in cities across the western United States, as well as online promotions on a variety of travel websites.