Andrew McCullough's Blog

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

"Reforming" the process for choosing our AG

August 5, 2014

My Facebook friend Robert Gehrke wrote an article in Sunday's Trib about suggestions for changing the AG election to being nonpartisan, or appointing him, to take the politics out of it. I wrote him a letter telling him why we should not do either of those things. Here it is:

Just read your article on "reforms" suggested for the Utah Attorney General, including appointment of non-partisan election. As you well know, I have been a candidate for this office several times. It all started when a close friend was arrested and strip searched over an allegation of driving under the influence of marijuana. My beautiful friend actually had a speech impediment, which caused her to speak a little slowly, and caused the officer to write in his report: "The lights are on, but nobody's home." After the drug tests came out negative, they sent them back to the lab and told them to try again. Only at the last minute did they drop the DUI charge for lack of evidence. We sued, and the AG fought tooth and nail to protect the incompetent and vindictive officers. It seemed so simple to me that a serious mistake had been made, my client had been strip searched in a misguided attempt to find the drugs that were not there, and that the state should pay compensation. The AG did not agree. the very small settlement we got in the end only made me more angry, and I decided to run for the office myself.

Why? Because I wanted to make some major changes in the way the office operates. I want the AG to represent the people, not law enforcement. I want them to stop the mean spirited attacks on gays, and I want them to stop trying to fill our prisons with marijuana users. The way justice is administered is indeed political. A criminal prosecutor has the discretion to either prosecute to the fullest or to show mercy (and sometimes common sense) in being more reasonable. The AG has great influence in the legislature on adopting laws which may result in long prison sentences, or to suggest alternatives like rehabilitation. Many people may see me as a bit of a kook for running for this office several times without a real chance of winning. but one thing continues to motivate me in doing so: the way things are run now needs change. The war on drugs is a disaster and needs to end. Militarization of police is a terrible mistake that needs to stop. Somebody needs to say these things, and give people alternatives. It would be a serious mistake to make the office "nonpartisan" on the assumption that all we need is a good lawyer at the helm, and that it is not important to know that lawyer's philosophy concerning the use of force by the State.

Thanks for listening.

W. Andrew McCullough
Libertarian candidate for Attorney General


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