Department of District Attorney

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1 Department of District Attorney FY Proposed Requirements: $9,805,684 FY Requirements by Division FY Requirements by Fund Alex Gardner District Attorney

2 Department Purpose & Overview The Oregon Constitution, Article VII, Section 17 creates the elected office of the prosecuting attorney, who shall be the law officers of the state, and of the counties within their respective districts, and shall perform such duties pertaining to the administration of law, and general police as the legislative assembly may direct. In summary, the Legislative Assembly has directed the following: Investigate and prosecute violations of Oregon criminal statutes, and Enforce child support obligations, and Assist the juvenile court, and Assist crime victims as required by the Oregon Constitution and the statutes, and Investigate homicide and other suspicions or unexplained death, and Perform other miscellaneous duties such as ruling on public records requests. The District Attorney s Office, once comprised of seven divisions, has been trimmed to only four with the separation of Kids FIRST, Juvenile and Civil divisions. The Criminal Prosecution Division prosecutes adults and juveniles for criminal misconduct. Family Law Division assists with setting, modifying and enforcing child support orders. Our Medical Examiner s team investigates and determines the cause and manner of all suspicious or unattended deaths. The Victim Services Program provides support to adult victims of crime.

3 Major Accomplishments & Achievements in FY Kids FIRST facilitated over 700 child abuse allegations. The Criminal Division investigated, reviewed and prosecuted almost 6,100 criminal cases. Victim Services provided services to over 3,800 victims. The Medical Examiner s Office investigated the cause and manner of death in almost 1,100 cases of unattended or suspicious death, taking jurisdiction of 412 cases. Anticipated Service & Budget Changes for FY Last year, although the office recovered a 1.6 FTE, the District Attorney s Office was forced to reject almost 1,800 felony cases due to lack of resources (staff) to prosecute them. We continue to apply for grants designed to fund staff for specific programs, some of which would help us creatively manage some of the work going undone. Current & Future Service Challenges The cumulative impact of several decades of staffing reductions has left the District Attorney s office without the staff required to fully investigate and prosecute crime in Lane County. As of this writing, almost all non-violent misdemeanor cases have been eliminated. That includes most wildlife offenses, and most cases involving forgeries, thefts or property damage of less than $1,000 in value. In addition, the DA s office is unable to prosecute over 25% of the viable (provable) felony case volume due to insufficient staffing. Most felony case filings result in conviction and subsequent sentences of probation with local community supervision. Failing to convict and supervise large numbers of felony offenders creates a substantial and compounding community safety risk. It also sharply reduces state funding for Lane County under the Oregon CCA (Community Corrections Act) and, now, HB Grant support for specialized felony prosecution will mitigate this damage if we re successful in getting it, but if our next corrections offender census drops as a result of persistent staff reductions in the DA s office, Lane County should expect a proportionate and continuing reduction in CCA payments. Also, since the offender population census numbers and state payments are adjusted by biennium, it will take years to recover CCA revenue rate/flow. The revenue damage we expect to experience between 2014 and 2016 was caused by staff in 2013 and before. A reduction of less than $2,000,000 per year in DA funding can translate into more than $4,000,000 in lost annual lost revenue that will continue or compound for several years after staffing in the District Attorney s office is restored. The District Attorney s Office and community partners continue working together on strategies to reduce property crime, but effective crime-reduction strategies require capacity to investigate, arrest, prosecute, supervise, incarcerate and treat offenders, and all of these activities require employees.

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