How the Anchorage district attorney’s office is doing more with less
Anchorage saw a record number of homicides in 2016. The 34 murders have meant more work for Anchorage police, but also for the district attorney’s office at a time when the office is already downsizing because of budget cuts.
Dozens of case files and a handful of hearings are all in a day’s work for Anchorage District Attorney Clint Campion.
“This is a case where we’re preparing for trial, we’re negotiating with the defense attorney about whether or not we’re going to resolve the case through a plea agreement,” Campion said, sifting through his caseload.
With the state’s budget crunch and the increase in crime, Campion’s office has been flooded with cases. And because of the courts’ mandatory furloughs, there are fewer days to try them. Campion said doing more with less means rethinking how his office handles cases, including sometimes opting for plea agreements instead of lengthy trials.
“We looked at all of our cases and said, ‘OK, which cases can we try to reach plea agreements on that will ensure the community’s safety, hold offenders accountable, provide some closure to victims and some justice to the community?'” Campion explained.
The Anchorage district attorney’s office covers more than just Anchorage. Because of an unfilled district attorney position in Dillingham, Campion’s office is responsible for prosecuting state cases in Bristol Bay, the Aleutians and the Pribilof Islands.
Campion said the office currently has 55 open homicide cases. On average, each one takes two to five years to close.
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