D.A.#039;s support Riley#039;s tax plan

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The District Attorney's Office of the 22nd Judicial Circuit has announced its support for Amendment 1, the tax accountability and reform proposal to go before the voters on Sept. 9.

"Sept. 9 will be a historic day for Alabama," said District Attorney Eugenia Loggins, "We have a chance to fix the problems that have plagued the criminal justice system for a very long time and move Alabama ahead. Alabama's district attorney's fully support Governor Riley's

efforts to reform our system and bring accountability to state government."

Loggins said that if the amendment fails to pass, it will mean at least a 33 percent cut to her office.

"That would be devastating to us," she said.

In a statement issued by the District Attorney's Office, the resolution goes on to say:

"Public safety is the most important issue we in Alabama face on a daily basis. Our citizens have the right to work, play and generally pursue happiness, but this right is empty if we are not safe and secure enough to enjoy these activities. Many Alabama citizens do not realize the condition of our criminal justice system; in truth, it is badly broken."

According to the D.A.'s resolution, crime has risen dramatically over the last decade, with felony cases up 54 percent, juvenile cases up 40 percent and misdemeanor cases up 25 percent.

"This increase in crime has dramatically outpaced the resources devoted to fighting it," the resolution stated. "Our duty is to see that murderers, rapists, child molesters and other criminals are dealt with swiftly and safely."

If the district attorneys have to make the 33 percent budget cut, it will mean the loss of approximately 350 prosecutors, investigators and support staff statewide. Cases that now require a year to 18 months to bring to trial would likely take two to three years. Victims would be forced to wait even longer to get any measure of justice, according to the resolution.

"In short," it reads, "the court system in Alabama would come to a standstill."

"The people of Alabama elected district attorneys of this state to serve and protect them," the resolution concluded. "Part of that responsibility is to ensure the strength of the criminal justice system. In our opinion, the only way to successfully fulfill that duty is to change the system; the best way is through the reforms proposed by Governor Riley."

The District Attorney's Office joins others in officially offering public support for Amendment 1. Earlier this week, both Opp City and Andalusia City school boards voted to express their support as well.