In response to the recent viewpoint from my opponent, attorney Mike Cummins, I am compelled to provide my perspective. I’m proud of my office, my team and the work we do on behalf of crime victims. Along my side are 105 public servants who take pride in our mission to hold people who break the law accountable and to protect the rights of crime victims.
I’m duty bound to keep our community safe today and for future generations. Unfortunately, violent crime has reached our doorstep and the fight is far from over. As your district attorney, my only mission is to bring justice for victims and their families.
Facts aren’t something that should be misrepresented, especially when it comes to public safety. I’m proud of the real facts and statistics of our office and I’d like to share them with you.
In 2017, our office received 14,114 criminal cases from law enforcement and 12,224 were deemed worthy of spending taxpayer dollars seeking prosecution. In 87 percent of the cases submitted by law enforcement, we sought conviction. Of those prosecuted, nearly all resulted in conviction because of the strength of the evidence. Only 47 cases (less than one half of one percent) required a jury trial. These are the very few where we cannot reach agreement, the evidence is close, and justice requires a jury from our community to decide the outcome.
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When seeking justice, especially in difficult cases, sometimes the evidence does not prove guilt. And yet, justice has still been done. One hundred percent conviction rates don’t exist. During my time serving in Iraq and Kosovo, I witnessed firsthand governments that don’t provide a right to a fair trial or the presumption of innocence. Thankfully, our Constitution protects us from that kind of so called “justice.”
Today’s criminals are more sophisticated than ever before; sexual predators disguise themselves as your child’s Uber driver and victims of human trafficking sadly go unnoticed for too long.
With 12 years as a career prosecutor, I’ve virtually seen it all — but the recent life sentence conviction of the county’s first two human trafficking cases shocked even me. To know that our office made it possible for a 17-year-old girl who was sold into sexual slavery to be given her freedom and her captors receive life sentences, makes me hug my children a little longer.
I’m an Army veteran, career prosecutor, husband and father. I’m not a career politician, but I’m honest and I’m willing to admit I don’t have all the answers for society’s ills. What I do have is my word; my record; and my team; each of which I proudly stand behind. You deserve and should expect the truth from your district attorney. This is something I’m extremely proud the people of San Luis Obispo have come to expect from me and that will never change.
Dan Dow has served as San Luis Obispo County’s district attorney since 2015.