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Author Topic: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?  (Read 147989 times)

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Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #30 on: January 16, 2008, 05:32:34 PM »

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Offline 02Tundra

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #31 on: January 16, 2008, 06:27:04 PM »
Here's the most recent article in the DG about this subject. 

Prosecutor responds to commission critics

Published: Tuesday, January 15, 2008 3:19 PM CST
E-mail this story | Print this page
 
 
Darrell Todd Maurina

A visibly angry county prosecutor told county commissioners Monday morning that she wasn’t happy to learn Sunday morning at church that the commissioners had criticized her handling of cases at Thursday’s meeting.

“You guys got to assassinate me all over the place,” said Pulaski County Prosecutor Deborah Hooper. “When I took office I said I would aggressively prosecute cases. I am doing that … I work on Saturdays and I come in on Sunday afternoons and I believe I owe it to our community to keep us safe.”

 
Hooper said she wasn’t happy that Presiding Commissioner Bill Ransdall objected to her work at a commission meeting to which she had not been invited.

“I don’t read the Daily Guide and I didn’t get the due process of you telling me you would ask these questions,” Hooper.

Ransdall had questioned why Hooper filed only a total of 977 criminal cases in 2007, of which 191 cases were changes-of-venue from other counties that don’t generate court fee revenues for Pulaski County. According to Circuit Clerk Rachelle Beasley, the former prosecuting attorney, Laura Kriebs, filed 1,709 cases in 2006, 1,522 cases in 2005, 1,516 cases in 2004, and 1,496 cases in 2003. Before the office became full-time in 2003, part-time prosecutor Michael Headrick filed 1,823 cases in 2002, 2,070 cases in 2001, and 2,459 cases in 2000, Beasley said.

 
 
Hooper said it’s not fair to judge her performance by the number of cases filed.

“My job is not to give you numbers, my job is to prosecute cases. You need to know that first and foremost,” Hooper said. “These are all bad check cases that were filed by my predecessors, and I would say they were filed to keep the numbers high.”

Hooper warned commissioners that the practices of her predecessors could cause a lawsuit against Pulaski County if she filed charges that led to people being arrested and thrown into jail and those charges didn’t meet legally required standards of probable cause.

 
 
Hooper told Ransdall that her predecessor as prosecuting attorney left her cases in such bad condition that many were unprosecutable and others took hours to clean up. In some cases, defense attorneys had filed court motions requiring “discovery” of the evidence against their clients that weren’t being followed.

“We had literally hundreds of requests for discovery that weren’t put in case files and were in piles of junk,” Hooper said. “I had volunteers come into my office and my employees working on weekends and trying to get through all of the discoveries.”

Hooper held up the file on a single drunk driving case which she said required nearly 20 hours of staff time for 15 minutes in court.

 
 
“There’s a lot more to prosecuting a case than just filing it,” Hooper said.

Faster warning letters to people who write bad checks have also helped cut the number of cases that have to be taken to court, Hooper said.

“The difference is when the auditors came in they said there was a mess in there and I had to wade through that mess,” Hooper said. “If you are a good businessperson, and I know you are, Bill, the earlier you send out the bill the sooner you get your money. The later you send out the bill, the chance you won’t get paid increases exponentially.”

 
 
Hiring a part-time clerk to handle bad checks helped, Hooper said, but that person, Rosalie Butterfield, wasn’t hired until March.

“The first thing we instituted was to get the dang letters out as soon as possible,” Hooper said.

Ransdall asked Hooper how much money she collected from bad checks in 2007; Hooper said her office took in about $185,000 in 2007, compared to Kriebs’ record of about $196,000 the previous year.

 
 
Other problems, Hooper said, included poor police work on cases, poor reports, and poor documentation by some business owners.

“If you can’t identify the person who wrote the check, you can’t prosecute the case,” Hooper said. “I had the misfortune of the defense hitting me on this all the time because they had cases filed all the time that they couldn’t identify who wrote them.”

About 300 cases were reviewed by Hooper’s office and she made a decision not to prosecute them, she said.

 
 
“We need to look at the cases and see if they’re prosecutable. If they’re prosecutable, we prosecute,” Hooper said.

Reports submitted by state troopers are usually well-written and give her what she needs to prosecute, Hooper said, but that’s not always the case with local law enforcement agencies. There are also problems, she said, getting state lab results back on drug cases, though sometimes the fault isn’t with the state lab but rather local police who have lost the lab results.

“I came back from court and said, ‘This is freaking ridiculous that we haven’t got the lab work back in two years.’ So I got on the phone with the highway patrol and found the lab work had been sent to the agency long ago,” Hooper said. “You can’t prosecute if you don’t get the evidence and the evidence isn’t being provided by law enforcement.”

 
 
Hooper had also been criticized Thursday for failing to file some traffic tickets until the end of 2007. There’s an easy explanation for that, she said — sometimes people pay traffic tickets that her office decided not to file for lack of evidence, or for tickets that weren’t filed because the person had also been arrested on a more serious charge.

“Sometimes these guys will be kind enough to send in their money anyway,” Hooper said. “My policy is if they send in their money, they’ve admitted their guilt and waived any statute of limitations or probable cause issues.”

Only about 80 such cases were found, Hooper said.

 
 
“That’s not a large amount,” she said.

Ransdall told Hooper that he wasn’t trying to attack her, but said the total number of cases filed affects many other items in the county budget.

“It appears to me that you are either saying that your criteria for filing a case is higher than your predecessor or law enforcement is not providing what you need to file a case,” Ransdall said.

Hooper agreed, but said a third factor is that new state laws controlling access to the ingredients of methamphetamine have causes a dramatic drop in the number of meth cases being filed. When cases are filed, a lab report is crucial, she said.

“I can’t get past a preliminary (court hearing) without a lab report,” Hooper said. “We’re trying cases a lot faster than they used to file cases, and I can’t file if I don’t have a lab report.”

Commissioner Bill Farnham didn’t like that answer and asked why the field tests used by police to detect drugs weren’t enough to file a charge

“You can’t use the field tests they have?” Farnham asked.

“The field test is acceptable for probable cause, but it’s not enough to take the case to court,” Hooper said. “There is case law from the supreme court that says you can’t use that.”

“We weren’t out to prosecute you,” Ransdall said.

“Well, it certainly felt like it,” Hooper replied.


Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #32 on: January 16, 2008, 07:56:14 PM »
That's the most recent "on line" article but there is another in today's hard copy available at news stands in you local community.  It will be on line tonight.

Offline john q public

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #33 on: January 16, 2008, 08:54:53 PM »
Cowboy was talking about pay raises in the middle of terms.  The recent Pulaski county audit found that two county officials received a pay raise effective Jan 2007. It was against state law and auditors told the county to ask for the amount of the raise to be paid back to the county.  I wonder if the money has been returned....money is tight in the court house.

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #34 on: January 16, 2008, 10:01:44 PM »
It was a total of $1334 for both and I would guess is was all paid back in 2007

Offline jsb66763

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #35 on: January 17, 2008, 06:08:11 AM »
I will not slam the PA because I think she wants to do a good job.  I will say she is very disorganized, from my experience in dealing with her.  I applaud her for the extra hours worked but also believe she should spread the work load to her assistant. 
I will say I am livid about the report comment in the paper.  I have been in law enforcement for over ten years, at least full-time.  I take great pride in my report writing abilities and quality of investigations.  That being said, I have worked with four different PAs and have obtained numerous charges and convictions for serious offenses. Some of the PAs have tried numerous murder trials. 
I believe the PAs job is difficult, at best, but there are many cases that have been dismissed that are waiting to be refiled [some for a year].  There are cases that are waiting for criminal charges that are serious felonies, some for as long as five months.  I believe it is a slap in the face to a crime victim to have their case not filed on without a reasonable explanation.
If crime victims, law enforcement, and the public, in general, would be more involved in the criminal justice system, the bugs could be worked out, maybe.  I don't know how many times a report has been taken from a victim and no follow ups are made to be sure an investigation is still active.  New information is not relayed to the investigators, prosecution, etc...
 

Offline meforme

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #36 on: January 17, 2008, 12:37:31 PM »
Well I must say I was livid too.  I was a clerk that got some of that discovery last year.  Some of these so called  law enforcement should just carry a tape recorder,cause they couldn't write a report to save anything. Prosecutors got to have evidence "beyond a reasonable doubt". 
 
About the raise, I believe the Auditor pointed Ms. Hooper's salary was suppose to be increased LAST YEAR, but Mr. Ransdall said THE BUDGET WAS ALREADY DONE, so we'll see next year.  It's next year, I bet Bill and the commissioners got their set raise and increased mileage.  Shackleford got a raise that wasn't even on the books.
 
You go D Hooper.  I voted for you the last time and I will vote for you the next time.
 @

Offline matrsnot

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #37 on: January 17, 2008, 02:34:39 PM »
You can bet La Commissione got their raise.  Pretty good for part time work.  For the 3 of them over $92K.  But then, they can justify it too.  Right?  Just like Hooper can I am sure.  She makes more than all three of the part timers put together.

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #38 on: January 17, 2008, 03:30:10 PM »
  Well everyone remembers the pay raise that the elected officials voted last December.   Do you also remember that none of them will get the raise during their term in office.   In other words you vote a raise for your replacement.  

Offline jsb66763

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #39 on: January 17, 2008, 03:41:17 PM »
meforme, I will agree that there are officers that need some extreme remedial report writing classes.  However, when she first took office, she did some things that made me go hmmm.  But being the fair person I am, I said give her a chance.  Now, I have had a chance to evaluate her work history and think she has done a mediocre job.  Will it get better, I can only hope so.  At this point, I wouldn't vote for her again if Satan was her opposition.

Offline blissfullybusy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #40 on: January 17, 2008, 03:56:53 PM »
Having worked for the PA of a much larger city I really think all officers could use some report writing skills. LOL Even in a big city.

"Ain't" should NEVER be used in a police report, nor should any double negative.

I understand that most people write how they talk but those reports should be much better written. JMO

I have nothing against LEO in this county, trust me, I would just like to see some English or grammar workshops for them in addition to all the training they are receiving. *wink*
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Offline eli

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #41 on: January 17, 2008, 06:19:21 PM »
meforme, I will agree that there are officers that need some extreme remedial report writing classes.  However, when she first took office, she did some things that made me go hmmm.  But being the fair person I am, I said give her a chance.  Now, I have had a chance to evaluate her work history and think she has done a mediocre job.  Will it get better, I can only hope so.  At this point, I wouldn't vote for her again if Satan was her opposition.
I believe satan held that job once didn't he?

Offline 02Tundra

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #42 on: January 17, 2008, 07:20:45 PM »
From the sound of it, it looks like she isn't filing many cases.  I don't understand how that makes the County Government money, but I guess it must be tied to the court costs charged to each case.

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #43 on: January 17, 2008, 08:26:04 PM »
Also if someone is found guilty and sent to the DOC its $21.50 per day for time served in pulaski jail,

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #44 on: January 18, 2008, 06:49:55 PM »
Also if you read today's DG you"ll find that with all the counties financial problems there is also about $9000 that must be refunded this year because of our brilliant PA didn't file the cases.  Will this womans good work ever end ? Maybe she needs to work 8 days a week.

Offline Margarita

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #45 on: March 11, 2008, 06:45:27 PM »
Has anyone heard rumors about Hooper not being  the prosecutor anymore?  I have heard this from several people lately, and was wondering if there is any truth to it.
Until the day God hands over the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven, no one on Earth has the right to judge anyone.

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #46 on: March 11, 2008, 07:43:17 PM »
It sounds like a good idea we need someone that can do something instead of make excuses. She should have filed about 250 cases by now to get back on track --  just wonder what the actual number is.?

Offline Jax

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #47 on: March 11, 2008, 08:10:53 PM »
I just saw her in the court house today .

Offline FedUp

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #48 on: March 21, 2008, 03:08:06 AM »
I was raised if you can't something good about something don't say anything at all so I will be quiet (until she's up for reelection). 

Offline OLDigahmah

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #49 on: March 22, 2008, 12:52:48 AM »
Someone posted on another thread that she was out of town and Gifford was acting in her place.  Didn't say she was gone for good though.

Offline FedUp

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2008, 05:19:39 PM »
Gifford would be better, maybe she should stay gone for a few months.  I hope folks who read this threat remember that when paperwork doesn't get done in a PA's office, warrants get issued that sometimes shouldn't get issued usually for traffic tickets and the like.  Now you can give her the benefit of the doubt or anything else, but when your hauled in on a warrant that should not of been issued in the first place, you'll have a better understanding of how important that paperwork is.  And YOU are the one that has to prove it was a mistake because PA Hooper NEVER makes a mistake as you can tell from the DG.  And when you hear about her complaining because the LE folks aren't doing their reports correctly, etc, remember it's her who should be training them to the standards she needs in an effort to build a case.  Didn't mean to rant, but here is an example of someone getting elected based on political party, not competence.

Offline FedUp

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2008, 05:20:46 PM »
Sorry, first sentence should read thread not threat. 

Offline Yankee Trader

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #52 on: March 23, 2008, 12:10:12 AM »
Gifford would be better, maybe she should stay gone for a few months.  I hope folks who read this threat remember that when paperwork doesn't get done in a PA's office, warrants get issued that sometimes shouldn't get issued usually for traffic tickets and the like.  Now you can give her the benefit of the doubt or anything else, but when your hauled in on a warrant that should not of been issued in the first place, you'll have a better understanding of how important that paperwork is.  And YOU are the one that has to prove it was a mistake because PA Hooper NEVER makes a mistake as you can tell from the DG.  And when you hear about her complaining because the LE folks aren't doing their reports correctly, etc, remember it's her who should be training them to the standards she needs in an effort to build a case.  Didn't mean to rant, but here is an example of someone getting elected based on political party, not competence.

Bad thing is that folks that get arrested by the Sheriff's Dept. blame them and all they do is enforce the warrant as ordered by the court.  Their hands are tied even if a person showed them the receipt they have to execute the warrant.

Offline FedUp

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #53 on: March 23, 2008, 05:47:57 PM »
Yankee I understand your point.  I'm not a LE officer, but I have a lot of respect for those that are.  Most are always professional, courteous (even to those that usually don't deserve it) and do their job to the best of their ability.  That's why I said in this public forum that PA Hooper needs to be training the officers on what her standards are to build a case. It has to be very frustrating to an officer to make an arrest, do the paperwork, then find out the PA won't file because she doesn't like how the paperwork reads.  Again, it's her responsbility, not the officer or the Sheriff's, to train LE folks on her standards.  Or, in your case, to have to arrest someone who has complied with the law, go through a cussing only to find out the PA's office didn't do their paperwork (and their answer is it wasn't important enough). 

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2008, 08:44:45 PM »
Someone posted on another thread that she was out of town and Gifford was acting in her place.  Didn't say she was gone for good though.


I agree we need to get Hooper out of there but I think this is blown out of proportion.  As I understand her and her lawyer type helpers left Wednesday night  for a conference at the lake and will be back Monday.  I'm not sure why two days at a conferace should make the paper and they way it was written it sounded like she would be gone or had been gone for a while.

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #55 on: April 15, 2008, 05:57:48 PM »
If you think we had trouble before wait till you see todays daily guide.   The PA got a mistrial on a slam dunk case because she lost evidence, did not tell the public defender of witnesses and the list goes on.   This is a TV show are you smarter then a 5th graders.   No the PA couldn't even make this.   Recall at the budget review she brought out these thick files on all that was required to do a case and her case work was low because she worked so hard and no one would give here good information.   What a crock.   Hooper has no idea what she it doing.   David Day needs to contact Jay Nixon and get this woman on the way out before she does any more damage.   We can not afford to have someone with so little capability in the PA job. Get  Hooper out of there now  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &&*&^

Offline Coyote

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #56 on: April 15, 2008, 06:11:21 PM »
I heard from the horses mouth that the only reason she wanted the job was to get medical insurance...which I don't understand because her husband is retired military and they should have tri-care.
....and that night as the moon crossed the mountain, one more Coyote was heard...

Offline cowboy

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #57 on: April 15, 2008, 07:15:53 PM »
she was military also remember she was a big JAG lawyer

Offline 02Tundra

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #58 on: April 15, 2008, 08:20:48 PM »
Yes, but I don't believe she retired, so she wouldn't have medical benefits through the military.

I saw the article, but haven't been able to read it yet.  Looks like I should do some reading this evening to see what's happening in Pulaski County.

Offline OLDigahmah

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Re: How's the Prosecuting Attorney Doing?
« Reply #59 on: April 15, 2008, 09:33:48 PM »
Do you know what the background of that person was?  Maybe that person had a history of shoplifting and stealing and gotten away with it time and time again.  Don't you know that everytime someone shoplifts from a business it costs money?  And guess what?  It is passed on to YOU -- the consumer.  Don't you know that if someone gets buy with a small crime, they gradually work up to bigger and bigger crimes?  Don't you know that if that person had gotten away with that crime, maybe the next thing would be armed robbery or even murder.  It could have been one of your loved ones.  You know, I was taught that as Christians we are to love one another, and be tender-hearted towards each other.  So I would say to all Christians, "He that is without sing among you, let him first cast a stone at her".  How about being more supportive of her, encouraging her, and praying for her rather than persecuting her.  How about telling her when you see her "in church":  "Hey, Sister, I appreciate all you do, and I'm praying for you."

this has nothing to do with sin or Christianity, it is all about incompetance which last time I read my Bible it wasn't a sin.  Maybe the people she hired need more training, but they are probably friends or friends of friends if she hired all new people.  I don't think getting a shoplifter from wal-mart is going to affect the "good old boys" around here at all.  Yes he should have been caught and punished but I wouldn't check that off as a big win for the prosecutor.