Victor M. Minjares is our Democratic candidate running for Thurston County Prosecutor.
In 1935, Supreme Court Justice Sutherland wrote, “the interest of the Prosecutor…in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win every case, but that justice shall be done.” But in our prosecutor’s office, justice has been forgotten. Turning over all evidence to the defense for plea or trial is routinely left until just before trial. Our jails are full; overcrowded with poor people who cannot make bail. Our courts' schedules are clogged by trials, hearings, and motions.
It is said that "Justice delayed is justice denied." For Thurston County, it is also very expensive. 75% of our County's General Fund budget now goes to law, police, jails, and courts, and the cost climbs every year. Because of mismanagement in our justice system, Thurston County is heading towards insolvency.
Today our deputy prosecutors make life-changing decisions without a prosecutor’s policy manual, operating procedures, criminal charging manual, or ethical office guidelines. None of the time-tested criteria or guidelines used by modern prosecutor’s offices since the early 1990’s are in place. The only sentencing guides they use are for crimes like driving under the influence and driving without a license.
In short, today the Thurston County Prosecutor’s Office still operates in the same ways as prosecutors did back in the pre-civil rights era of the 1950’s. That’s not good management, or even adequate management – it’s an absence of management.
Victor believes in even-handed justice, prosecutorial ethics, and using one’s professional judgment in service of the common good of the public – which includes not wasting tax dollars. He wants to shine sunlight into our justice system, review convictions for integrity, and create an efficient, just system that respects the rights of all.
To reform the Prosecutor’s Office, and change our law and justice system for the better, Victor needs your help. Together, we can do it!