Maricopa County Attorney debate
Maricopa County Attorney candidates Julie Gunnigle (D) and Rachel Mitchell (R) participate in a half-hour debate.
Julie Gunnigle has promised to expand diversion programs and conduct a “full audit” of the office. She has vowed not to prosecute abortions.
Rachel Mitchell has spent her career at MCAO. She has a tough-on-crime tack and wants to “make Maricopa County the number-one place for law and order.”
What Reform is Needed in this Office?
“What was needed when I took over that office was leadership, and a person who is present and communicating a vision to the office,” Mitchell said. “That office is not corrupt as Ms. Gunnigle would portray it. That office is full of people who are self-sacrificing, hardworking public servants.”
Mitchell emphasized that the office is about justice, which is a quality she strives to reach.
“In no particular order, what we’ve seen in the last several years is an office that will politically prosecute people to silence their opponents,” Gunnigle said.
One hundred and eighty cases are not prosecuted each year, and great deals for the wealthy are made, according to Gunnigle.
“This office is so out of step with national norms that if Arizona was a country, it would be the eighth largest incarcerator in the world. That’s how out of step we are. And that’s money that’s largely going into our private prisons and not to our public schools. We need to get our priorities straight” Gunningle said.
Is there Over-Prosecution in the County Attorney’s Office?
“I’m willing to look at cases with an open mind. But the vast majority of the cases in the office are not overcharged, they’re handled appropriately. This office is so important to our community. It’s important we prosecute homicide, sexual offenses, domestic violence– we keep the community safe, and it does a good job,” Mitchell said.