In what way is this the proper position for the Legislature? Here are some facts (not opinion) that are relevant (based on YCSF and NYS data):
1) The crime, arrest and conviction rates have remained pretty much constant from 1984 'til today. In other words the introduction of a full-time DA had no significant effect on crime, arrest or conviction rates.
2) Crime rate and arrests have flat-lined since we went full-time DA, while costs have doubled.
3) We are now paying a huge (State mandated) salary to a DA who has only tried 2 cases in court since election, due to rise to $160,000 later this year. His last court appearance was in 2010 - the Controno case, hardly his finest hour (worth looking up the details)!
4) So we have a DA who now costs 3 times as much as his predecessor for doing 2 trials in almost 4 years.
5) There are 2 full-time Assistant DA's who actually do the work.
So the introduction of a full-time DA had no effect on crime but doubled costs. Why on earth not return to the old part-time DA? Do you like the present system of ever-increasing taxes?
I agree, reported crime has not seen an increase in Yates County over the years. (Thats my perception from working it, I don't have stats.)
When Susan Lindenmuth took over as the first Full Time D.A. it was like a breath of fresh air. Phone calls were returned, Investigators conferenced with the D.A. on cases and I felt that all the work that we as investigators and officers did in putting together a case was not going to be dumped because the D.A. was busy running a private practice.
In the "old days" I made a felony arrest and literally had no conversations with a D.A. until a trial date was set. It was clear to me that just prior to trial the D.A. figured the defendant would take a plea offer to a lesser charge. It didn't work and he lost the trial because he was unprepared and he had no help in what was going on because I was sequestered as a witness. That was the norm.
Over the years our crime fighting techniques and abilities improved. As I said previously there is no way it made sense to have a part time D.A. receiving paperwork from all the full time officers in the county.
Most cases are pled out or plea barginned. Thats the system. The number of trials held is not a good benchmark to use. If a case is put together well enough when presented to the D.A. a defendant will usually plea out to the charged crime or a reduced crime.
I have heard rumors that the present ADA's are doing alot of the work. I don't know how the current D.A. could be costing "three times" Susan's salary. The mandated salary could not have gone up that much.
I made alot of felony arrests my last 20 years, the only two that went to trial, that I remember off hand were two cases where a potential long term sentence was at stake. The defendants rolled the dice and both lost. One is serving 80+ years and the other ended up with 15-life as a persistant felon.
I would not have wanted a part time D.A. to be prosecuting those cases. That office needs someone committed to doing the job without the distraction of trying to make ends meet by running a law practice on the side.
To answer your last question, No I don't like the present system of ever-increasing taxes, there are other personnel positions that could be eliminated thru retirement-attrition or cuts.