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D.A. boasts of drop in crime

• Cooley speaks to Republicans

Posted: June 20, 2008 1:32 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.

If county District Attorney Steve Cooley continues to succeed in criminal trials, he may soon be out of a job. That may not be such a bad problem to have for the county's top attorney, whose responsibility is to represent the interests of the public in proving that alleged criminals actually committed the crimes they were charged with.

Cooley boasts that the current crime rate in the county is the lowest it has every been since 1956. While he does not take all the credit for the decrease in criminal activity, he does take pride in the idea that his office is doing all it can to ensure public safety.

Speaking in front of about 40 Republicans at the Canyon Theater in Newhall on Thursday evening, Cooley explained what his office is doing right.

"We are performing very well," the third-term district attorney said. "Our office has high morale, and we've hired some very qualified people."

It is that high morale and well-qualified office that, according to Cooley, is keeping criminals off the street and "corrupt individuals" out of public office.

He specifically focused on corrupt politicians and the murder rate.

"Murder rates are at an incredibly low, historic level," Cooley said.

With regard to politicians, Cooley said several "thugs" managed to get elected into office and, among several wrongdoings, appointed their equally "corrupt" cronies and accepted bribes.

Yet, Cooley pointed out that his office was very aggressive in seeking out "corrupt individuals in public office," adding that he has nearly a 100 percent conviction rate in corruption cases and filed the highest number of such cases in the history of the county.

In additional, Cooley said that he was instrumental in drafting Proposition 69, a 2004 ballot measure that required certain felons to submit their DNA to law enforcement. It was drafted with the intent of identifying serial rapists and murderers.

According to Cooley, the proposition was vital to his office's prosecution of certain sex crimes. In particular, he mentioned a case of a Long Beach rapist who allegedly raped about 40 women.

"If we had Prop. 69 back the, we may have saved 38 women from falling victim to this person," he said. "This is the ultimate in crime prevention. I am committed to it, and my office is committed to it."

The county district attorney did express some compassion for those he convicted, stating that sending criminals to prison should not be the final step in the criminal justice process.

"The product that comes out of the system must be rehabilitated," Cooley said. "We just can't have a revolving door."


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