Transcript: 2007 JFP Interview with DA Faye Peterson | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Transcript: 2007 JFP Interview with DA Faye Peterson

Interview by Adam Lynch

Speak on the Hinds County Drug Court, would you?
In 1997, when I started working at the public defender's office, I got hired when they were trying to create this drug court prosecution thing, because drug cases were lingering on the dockets, they were not a priority, so they hired two ADAs, two public defenders to work on drug cases. Then, a few years later, they began the treatment aspect of the drug court program. When I became DA in 2001, the human aspect of the program had been in place maybe about two years. It was kind of struggling, but I liked the concept, because it gave people the opportunity for treatment under a court order.

It needed to be massaged a little more and I've seen that program flourish so well. Being able to give folks treatment, it's amazing how people look at the beginning and then how they look at the end of it. But it requires a commitment from this office, that we will be able to make those types of recommendations. Sometimes we have to change the charges a little bit so that they will be eligible for the program. We have found that those who have completed it—I don't know of anybody who has offended who has had to go back through the program. They look so different from then end, because they've got their life back.

Did you say that you don't know of anybody who wound up back in the program?
Not that I know of. Now I know of people who didn't make it through, but those who actually complete the program, it has been wonderful, getting them a job, getting them a second chance, helping them get treatment, and the cost is so little compared to incarceration. We get so much out of the program. It's one of the best programs we got going on in Hinds County. I've done whatever I could to strengthen the program. I've always had assistants assigned to it, which you have to have in order for the program to work, and to make sure they're committed to it, committed to doing that type of holistic criminal practice.

Did I hear you say you have to talk some sentences down in order to take advantage of it? What kind of people are you releasing back onto the street here?
Nothing major. No violent offenders can get into the program. For instance, you might have a person who was a corner boy, who was selling but who was really more of a drug user and dealing just to support his addiction. After looking at his record, we may change that sell charge to a possession charge so he can qualify to get into the treatment program. Simple things like that. You may have people with possession of stolen property, shoplifting, things of that nature, but no violent offenders, no sex offenders, no child abusers, no possession with intent--and you have to actually be a user to get into the program.

They're tested for it in their system?
Yes, the screening process is pretty rigorous. We've expanded it so that you have treatment providers who can help even with the mental health issues. It's expanded to include even the needs of those families with members who are going through it. Hinds County, I think, has one of the better drug programs.

How many treatment places do you have in the city?
You mean how many in the county. They're all over the county. Brenda Mathis has done a good job. That's why we have to attend all those conferences so you can understand what your community's needs are and the different types of substance abuses out there and what kinds of types of treatments are out there, understand that some people have dual diagnosis, and how do you isolate what kind of mental health needs they really have. With some people, drug abuse is a symptom of a bigger problem. Many are self-medicating their psychological problems with street-level drugs. There's a challenge there, but it's been successful. The trick is staying knowledgeable and getting the funding for the programs. Writing the grants and so forth.

Where does it come from?
The state gives some money and there's federal funding as well. Plus the participants, at some point, do start paying into the program, making it self-funding as well. It took a lot of work and cooperation to get this together.

You'd said earlier that you can't afford lobbyists. Are you borrowing somebody else's lobbyists?
You work with other groups. You work with the prosecutors association, the Drug Court Committee. Congressman Thompson has always been a supporter, and if you have a good program that works, and you're clearly aggressive in pushing it, that encourages more funding.

Did Judge Parker have anything to do with the drug program.
He did. He was over it until he went to work for the District Court level and he put a lot of energy into it. With his help we started to be able to help people with more complicated dual diagnosing, assisted housing. He really took drug court to another level. He was committed.

So what's the pre-trial intervention program. I always thought PTI and drug court was the same thing.
Two different things. You have some first-time offenders, non-violent, non sex offenses—that you can also rehabilitate. It's specifically for first time non-violent offenders, shoplifting, embezzlement, paper crimes. No house burglaries. There's a whole new level of felony offenses that most people don't even realize are being committed that we place in PTI. A lot of college student credit card fraud. We balance it between the two, and, in the process, keep the jail population as low as possible and prisoner costs to a minimum.

Tell me about the court facilitator. You brag a lot about it.
The Criminal Court Facilitator, Ken Lewis, from Clinton. That has worked out so incredibly well. I found, when I first got to office, that law enforcement agencies could make arrests, and take their time getting the case over to us. We wouldn't know sometimes if they had made an arrest or that the case wasn't over, or did they have an indicted charge versus an unindicted charge.

Because there was no centralized way to compile the information you could convict somebody on one charge and they'd have another charge that was outstanding that they're waiting on and they couldn't move on to the next stage of the process.

The criminal court facilitator is a conduit of information from the law enforcement agencies, the jail to this office, so we can streamline folks through the system.

Say someone is arrested Jan. 1 by the sheriff's department on a drug charge. At 90 days, if you're eligible for a bond you need to either bond out, or you're on our radar because we need to get you through the system. The facilitator then notifies law enforcement if we have not received the case, so we can let you know that we have not received the case, the purpose being we can get it to the grand jury sooner. It serves as a reminder to law enforcement agencies that they need to get the case to us and we can get it to ADAs. If they have to return it, usually the turnaround time is a week, meaning if we send it back for follow-up questioning we'll get it back within a week. Before then, sometimes we'd even forget we had sent it back to them, it was so chaotic. That was back when everybody would jump into the finger-pointing. Stop the finger-pointing. We got a person whose job it is to make sure everybody knows what to do.

The facilitator makes sure a case gets to an active trial docket. He also stays on top of the lawyers in this office, reminding lawyers of dates that cases are due before a grand jury.

Did the facilitator ever find himself riding the back of cops trying to get a case through? That must have caused some resentment.
At first, there was resistance. That's when Doug (Jones) was doing it, but lately agencies have become dependent on the facilitator to help them get their cases moving. At first they thought the facilitator was there to call them out on messing up something and dropping it into the news, but that was not the purpose of that. The purpose was just to get things moving, to get the cases indicted sooner, to get the people convicted sooner so we can move them out of the county and into MDOC or wherever else they need to go. Combining that with having Judge Hilburn down there once a week to hear pleas, bonds and other matters really gets things moving. The facilitator makes sure cases are placed on the docket for him. We'll get some people saying, 'Look, I haven't seen my lawyer in four months.' He'll set him on the docket so the lawyer will show up and tell him something. That's how we've kept the jail numbers down. We have peak seasons when the numbers go up, but we just work them right back down again.

How well do the cops work with Lewis?
Every law enforcement agency has their contact person that works with the facilitator. They'll send that person over here and they'll go through cases. At one point, they used to have meetings all the time, but these are grown folks. They didn't have to be micromanaged. After the meetings stopped, they kept it going without having to be told to do so, because they knew what they needed to do. They come over and sit down and they go through the JPD cases, they go through the Clinton cases, the guy from the sheriff's department will come over and it makes things so much better.

What was the name of the guy ahead of Ken Lewis?
Jones. Doug Jones. Then he died and Ken Lewis replaced him.

Did Jones spend a lot of late nights crying while this thing was coming together?
It was tough. When you're first trying to implement something, it's hard. It's funny to me when I hear somebody just say, 'I'm going to do this or that.' But how do you get the nuts and bolts together? It's much more complicated than what I think most people realize. What's your ultimate mission, what step here, who's going to be on A, who's going to be on B, who's going to be on C, but then you realize that you may need to go back to the drawing board and revamp a little bit here or there. The first six months of that were interesting, because we were in uncharted territory, but then finally the system started to click and we started to see the results. That's why every time we come up with a new concept, it usually takes at least six months to get it together. When we started with Judge Hilburn going down to the Raymond Detention Center once per week, it was an idea we had to just have a judge available once a week, to do pleas, bond and revocations.

Did you have to persuade him to do it?
No, he wanted to. He really was a supporter of Hinds County and he really wanted to do it, and the first few months of that, figuring out how to get the dockets scheduled, who was going to receive information on the dockets, who's going to schedule this. We had three of the four judges putting their cases there, and then finally we got it administratively where we could do it and now it's become part of the routine at Hinds County. Now its something that everybody knows. They'll call on Thursday asking, 'Can I put this on Hilburn's docket for Monday?' And for a county this big, you've got to have things like that.

What are the numbers at the jail, usually?
The jail count now hovers around 500, never above 550. That's the danger zone. If you hit 550 you need to come screaming because we've got a problem. We need to keep that way down.

What was the average before?
The average before was 592, and that was felony arrests. There was no discussion about misdemeanors because you couldn't hold a misdemeanor. Before, a misdemeanor case could be turned out just like that because you couldn't hold them at all.

Did you ever claim to have only lost two trials since you became DA?
Only two, since I've become DA. I put myself on Judge Green's docket to work the homicide cases on that docket. My role is administrator and also as trial lawyer. We had a lot of homicide cases pending on Judge Green's docket. I decided I would take the homicide cases. With my time constraints I couldn't do any more than that. I'm not on that docket anymore, though I use it to train some assistants. I mentioned my own personal experience as a trial lawyer because my opponents have never tried a rape, a capital murder, a murder, an armed robbery. They've never tried any cases that I have tried.

Your personal record doesn't reflect that of the whole office, though. Your office has lost more than two.
Because we are an aggressive office. Any time you don't cherry-pick your cases, you open yourself to losing trials. There are some prosecutors who take the stance that you should never walk into a courtroom with a case that you know you're going to lose. Well, we've tried some cases that were some pretty close calls and won. I'm a fighter. If I've got some evidence, and I believe in that case, I'm going to try you. If the jury doesn't convict then I've done everything I possibly could. Sometimes there's nothing you can do.

Have you kept a record of trials?
I do. We don't have a statistician in the DA's office but I've kept a record over the last few years. Come around and see.

(Peterson pulls out a phone book-sized pile of numbers and begins flipping pages)

You have to be real careful looking at these numbers. For instance, this defendant Adrian Willard. He had a three-count indictment. That's one defendant with three counts. The first was capital murder, second count kidnapping, the third count aggravated assault. Well the jury found him guilty on capital murder,which gave him life without parole, and guilty on aggravated assault, which was 20 years, but they didn't find him guilty on the kidnapping, but that's just one trial, with one jury. Some of these cases have multiple co-defendants. Even though there's just one jury in the box, that's one trial, even with three co-defendants--and with multiple counts. It's complicated counting this down. Some of these cases weren't even tried by my office. Some of them are tried by the AG's office, and occasionally the U.S. Attorney's office tried cases in Hinds County, so that's more cases that you have to distinguish in your counts. Then when I looked at the report for 2006, it left off the cases tried by Judge Gowan and Judge Parker, so I had to go back to another report. Sometimes you see a mistrial, but we went back and got a verdict on them.

Since we got the numbers in front of us, tell me about the 200 case dismissals?
When you first called me about that, I took this report and I went through to find everybody remanded to file, that's a dismissal. For instance, Roland Anderson--he's four counts remanded, right? This defendant was the one who was wrongfully convicted under the previous administration and was released. Then I counted every one of them. Joe Agee. We remanded his meth charge but pled him guilty on another charge. As part of his plea deal we may remand one count, and plead you to the other charges. So he pled 10 years on this count. As part of his plea deal, we agreed to remand the second count. That's plea negotiation. That's a defense attorney working on behalf of his client to get the best deal possible for him.

That 200 only represented 111 people because some people were indicted on multiple counts. Forty-six of them pled guilty to other charges, so their cases weren't dismissed totally. Thirteen of them went to drug court or PTI, eight were re-indicted, so we had to dismiss that and represent, and some of them paid restitution on bad checks. That was eight people, so we've got about 34 folks that possibly had their cases dismissed, and one was somebody who was wrongfully convicted, usually through insufficient evidence. So when they throw out these 200 numbers, that's not accurate.

What's the case backlog these days?
We've gotten the backlog far ahead from where we were. When I started in 2001, there were over 2,000, just drug cases, and it took a lot of elbow work from the judges to give us court time, and our staff had to put in a lot of time and hours to get those cases ahead, and it really paid off.

What's the case backlog, then?
About 2,000 cases. At one time we used to have categories of cases with the courtrooms. That helped us specify a target from arrest to conviction, who was going to handle the case. It worked well with law enforcement agencies because they know who was going to handle murders, who was going to handle armed carjacking, but Judge (Swan) Yerger made a decision recently, at the behest of Chief Justice Jim Smith, to take that feature away, and we're starting to see the impact of that.

What's the impact?
Not good. I've asked repeatedly to go back to specialization. You can spread around some categories but we need specialization on some crimes because it helps to streamline the work. You have attorneys who are best with asbestos litigation, attorneys who are best with murder litigation, and they can move those cases very well. It's the same with prosecution. I have attorneys who are very good at homicides and others who are very good with armed robberies, attorneys who are best with sex crimes and attorneys who are best at child abuse. That specialization meant law enforcement officers knew who to call for their particular investigation. They knew the attorney who would work that case from beginning to end, and it really helped. Hopefully, prayerfully, we'll go back to that specialization again.

Did you say you'd increased the number of ADAs up to 11?
Yes. This is actually a state office, not a county office, so it's primarily funded through the state of Mississippi, like all the other attorney offices. When I took office, there were nine ADAs allotted to this office. That's what the state would pay. Anything above that you've got to scratch and beg for. I've been to the Legislature twice and been successful in getting the number of ADAs up to 11. That means that if Hinds County went broke and couldn't help fund attorneys, Hinds County would still have at least 11 lawyers to work the docket.

I've seen you there more than twice.
I work on a lot of different issues with the Legislature, on issues like getting crime laws passed and supporting interest groups, especially those who help law enforcement, like funding for the state crime lab, or funding for investigations, or funding for sheriffs. I'm always looking for something.

It's more than just me asking. You have to have other groups and other legislators helping you with it. Safe City, they helped a whole lot. They really used their influence.

Mark McCreery and company? They helped you?
Yeah, they did. They did. They understand that if you don't have enough folks, then you just don't have enough people. I'm really appreciative of their efforts, and we're going to do something with that as far as property crimes. I'm glad they bought into it, so I'm optimistic. But that takes working relationships. It doesn't happen just because you're elected DA. They have to see that you know your community and that you have some sense of integrity--

We are talking about politicians, right?
Well, the person asking, you know, has to show some integrity, and we have a record showing that we can work with very little so when I'm asking for something its clear that I really need it, that we're not just asking for it to hear our chops knock together. I can show that if we get it, then we're going to be resourceful with it. For instance, the Supreme Court had been supportive by continuing to allow Judge Hilburn to keep coming back and we've got good stats showing that we're not wasting his time and that the state's money is being well spent. If people give me something, I want to make sure that I'm appropriately using what they've given. Hilburn started out just hearing pleas, but now he hears trials every week, and a lot of defendants, if they know they've got a trial date, they'll go ahead and plead.

You know, it sounds like the system's already set up, so that anybody walking in behind you could just pick up where you left off.
No, they couldn't. They could not. Effective January 1, they'd have to re-initiate every program that I've put in place. It's not just changing me out. You change out the entire office. They'll have to figure out how to make it work. My work product is copyrighted material. I don't have to tell anybody how I did anything. It took a lot of work to get these things in place, and I think there's some people who think you're just change out your DA. No. You're changing out this entire staff, every interlocal agreement that I have made to get all these programs in place. They'll have to start over Jan. 1 with all of that and figure out how to do it, including the court facilitator.

It's copyrighted. Those are my ideas, those are my blueprints and I'm not obligated to give them to anybody.

Your opponents say they can prosecute cases faster by working better with law enforcement. You see the implication with that. Do you fight with cops often?
That's not true. We have a good working relationship with law enforcement agencies. Otherwise, how could we be trying as many cases and doing what we do? ... The violent crimes units all know how to call me. When you look at those cases where we've gotten convictions, that's us working well with the authorities. ... Everybody in the world doesn't like you or me, but, as a whole, we work together just fine.

Yeah, but one of your opponents says they're going to offer police training to the cops.
The Hinds County District Attorney's office is responsible for every community in Hinds County. Every other law enforcement agency, particularly the big ones, like Clinton and Jackson, all have multi-million dollar budgets, and they all send their officers through law enforcement training. We don't. We can assist them with resource development. We've done training for law enforcement agencies ... on statement analysis or crime scene analysis. I can't teach them to read or write, but if I can give them some essential tools for investigation, we will do that. I've gone to every recruit class and done training on court procedures; however, those agencies all have a budget through which they can do training.

How did you pay for officer training in the past?
It cost about $7,000 and we trained about 80 officers from every agency in Hinds County. It was paid for through seizure funds. We can only use certain seizure funds for a very limited purpose. There is money in the seizure accounts but we seldom ever touch it. It's very hard money to come by. It can't be used for payroll. It can't be used for attorneys, or for a whole lot of things. If you go and spend it up, you'll never know when you'll get any more.

When was the last training class held?
March of this year, I believe. It came out of an idea of one of my investigators, who had been with the JPD. He'd gone to investigative training, and he thought the speaker was dynamic. We got from the officers that the training was a success.

Can you make any pledge to work better with law enforcement?
I submit that we already have a good relationship with law enforcement. That comes from backing them, and working with them when they're having difficult cases. People are always trying to say that I've never worked with them. I've always been a supporter of law enforcement agencies because my father was a law enforcement officer and I know how tough their role is. I know they get frustrated when they don't have all the resources they need to do what they have to do. I know they get stumped on cases. I know they want certain defendants really bad, and when they come talk to us, we have to say to them that the law won't allow us to arrest them, we know. But I support those officers that are committed, and I know a lot of them are. They never get enough appreciation. I will often send letters over telling them when they've done a good job in court. We've had days when we've gotten four guilty verdicts and the police are just excited as we were saying, 'That was my case. That was my case!' Jimmy Roberts, when he was doing two cases at the same time, he was bouncing between courtrooms, and when both cases came around his chest was stuck out like you wouldn't believe. So don't tell me that we don't have a good working relationship with them, because we're real proud of them. They're bulldogs.

That's a horrible misconception. That's not true.

Has the new administration in Jackson strained any relations with this department?
No. The DA works more closely with the sergeants and lieutenants and the ground troops than the administration. I work with the administration on big policy projects. Funding grants. I sit on the funding board with the U.S. Attorney's office on certain grants and determine who gets what money for projects like Project Safe Neighborhood and things like that. Any of that other stuff doesn't affect my decisions on spending plans for the police department.

How much training do you give your lawyers? Your opponents say they'll focus on training their people.
If you look around my office, you'll see where I've gone to a lot of specialized training, with the National College of District Attorneys, the National District Attorneys Association, and the American Prosecution Research Institute, learning things like how to prosecute gang violence cases. You go to law school and learn dome things, but when you come here you might spend the first year or so trying to get a feel for the office and how to be a prosecutor. I usually start attorneys, even one of my opponents, on drug cases. If you've never done any jury work or prosecuted on a felony level, I always start individuals with drug cases and property crimes so you can learn trial strategy, voir dire, instruction, the nuts and bolts that they don't teach you in law school. If you work here, you are expected to go to some of these national training seminars, some of them a week long, some two weeks long, so you can learn how to prosecute felony cases, some things about DNA evidence, forensic evidence, jury selection, cross examination. Neither of my opponents, even when they had an opportunity, have ever gone to those training courses. Going to Mississippi's local prosecution meetings isn't training.

How long was Purvis with the office?
Two years.

You offered the training to her?
It's open to everybody. It's paid for. Just apply to the course, and if you're accepted in it's like Club Med for lawyers. It's where prosecutors go to get trained. They have training all year long. It's necessary. You cannot just wake up in the morning and do this job. You've got to be trained for it. ... Trials are so technical. You ask the wrong question and you've blown your case and you can't try it again. I hear a lot of naive statements being made, but at this level of prosecution I have a training track for employees, they're assigned to an ADA, they work in a courtroom group to groom them.

How well did you and Purvis get along when she was here?
I never had any personal problem with her. She was assigned on Judge Kidd's docket and she tried two cases. (ADA) Stanley (Alexander) tried to put her on a person crime on aggravated assault.--

She only tried two cases?
Yeah, she tried a drug case, which she lost and an aggravated assault, which had three mistrials—that's one case four times before it went to a verdict. Because she'd asked the wrong question or something would go wrong and they had to start all over again.

If she only had two cases, did she have a lot of plea deals?
Not a whole lot of those either.

What did she spend her time doing?
I'm not a micromanager. I'm really not trying to--I have some attorneys in this office who are very aggressive, but what I observed was that Ms. Purvis had an opportunity to serve this community as a prosecutor and to make a difference. I gave her an opportunity, but I didn't see any aggression or anything of note in her service to the community.

Do you recall the year of those two cases?
I believe one of them was in 2004, and the other was in 2005.

One a year?
And I found that out from the assistants after she left.

I didn't see that on your campaign Web site.
I don't run dirty, negative campaigns. I don't do a lot of bashing, but if I'm asked a question I will answer. That's why I think sometimes that voters need to wonder what candidates are not telling. They're not telling that they've never tried these things, they're not telling that they've never been an administrator, and that they know nothing about the budget of this office, and that they've never done any community service at all.

Your opponents claim you're not taking property crime cases to court. What's your reaction?
When we prioritize the dockets, because we have to take what time the judges give us, we're going to put those personal crimes on first. I'm not going to apologize for that. I'm going to put on those murderers, those aggravated assaults, those armed robberies, the rapes, the crimes against children, then we'll try drugs and property and things like that. But even judges who give us a lot of time, they still insist on us pushing those person crimes first. ... I would have a hard time telling a victim of an armed robbery that I'm not trying their case because we're going to try an auto burglary.

But you've got personalities like Mark McCreery arguing that property crimes are making a huge impact on the quality of life in Jackson.
It is. It is a big problem, but he's also aware that we only have so many resources, so many judges.

Tell me about your office's communication with victims.
Every office has a victims coordinator. Ours is Miss Nancy Lee, who has been here more than 20 years. She's the only Victims Assistance Coordinator for all of Hinds County. When I took this job in 2001, I said that we were going to do things differently for victims. My attorneys know that before they go to trial on a case or plea on a case, they're going to make every effort to contact that family and get them in here and discuss with them the case, the sentencing options and get their input, and before the trial you're going to have a pre-trial conference with them to go over the evidence and explain everything in the case. Now, we have so many cases, most weeks the attorneys are in the courtroom and they're not sitting at their desk. If they are at their desk they're probably returning phone calls, or managing their dockets. The only report I require them to give me is every time they plea a case or jury trial, they send me an e-mail letting me know what they did and who they convicted. It's more important to me that they report to me about their convictions. The victims assistance coordinator send out letters to the victims. She keeps them informed on what's going on with those cases. That statement made by Miss Purvis that we're not responsive to victims is a flat-out lie. Of all the statements, that one is the most offensive because I have always had one day a week where I do nothing but meet with victims, and sometimes you can tell them good news and sometimes you have to tell them something they don't want to hear, but I'm almost honest with folks. You're calling victims in this office because that's what you're expected to do.

Might I assume that Miss Purvis was very much a victim's advocate while she was here?
No. Even on the aggravated assault case that she tried, I spent more time talking to the victim than she did, but that sounds messy. I don't remember her doing a stellar job with victims while she was here. I don't have any recall of that, because she was mostly assigned to drug cases and just a few person crimes to test the waters on that.

One of your opponents says he could save jail space by better prioritizing cases, like violent crimes. Sounds brilliant.
That's just a sound bite because that's what we already do. ... Part of the problem is the defendant's decision on how his case is handled. We may a defendant in the jail who wants to make a plea deal. 'I haven't seen my lawyer. Can I get a court date? Do I have a plea offer? Can someone call me?' is what we always hear. The facilitator takes that information and passes it along to the attorney saying, 'Look, you need to call your client.' This office can't talk to defendants, only their lawyers. If a lawyer doesn't trot down there and work it out or get in on trial docket, we're stuck. We get calls from family members all the time ready to make a deal, but we can't hand them out like that.

What's the average amount of time between arrest and indictments?
On average, I'd say three to four months between arrests and indictments. ... We might have problems if we need autopsy reports or test results, but other than that, we'll get them in there within two grand juries of their arrests. Not perfect, but the majority.

What about in cases of murder?
That depends. Some murders are open and shut cases. If law enforcement is able to get the witnesses interviewed and everything typed up and over here in a timely manner, it can go within two or three months of the crime happening.

What are your opponents' connections to Melton?
I have observed individuals very close to the mayor--like Stephanie Parker-Weaver and Carolyn Redd--assisting Michele Purvis during work hours. Mr. Smith, himself, is close to Frank. He's represented Michael Taylor, Darnell Turner, Marcus Wright, whoever else Frank wanted (defended) and was co-counselor in his case, and he's supported by Dale (Danks) and Ed (Peters) and Frank Bluntson, and my understanding is they've been seen in places where Frank was with him, so it looks like it. It looks like Frank has divided his friends and said, 'Some of you go over here and help this person, and some of you go over there and help this person, and I will have plausible deniability.'

Why would Melton want you replaced?
I'm an independent. Being district attorney is hard because you have to be independent a lot in order to enforce the law. I don't write the law, I don't investigate the cases. I just have to do my job, and it is difficult at times when situation occur. ... People say, 'Well you (indicted Frank).' No. Whenever you go out and you break the law, you have to be held accountable for your own actions and be adult enough to accept that. A jury gave him a second chance; this office did all it could not to say anything about him, but I'm going to enforce the law. I'm going to do that and respect all persons.

Why does he want me replaced? Because he can't run me.

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