Interim District Attorney Paul Frasier has revealed that some laws are less important to him than others. Frasier has apparently declined to prosecute the owners of horses starved to death for animal cruelty and he will not prosecute two Coquille police officers for breaking a suspects neck.
He will, however, prosecute a sixteen year old kid for smoking a joint in the park, or an elderly citizen for not securing a seatbelt. He will prosecute someone for sleeping it off in his car because he may have had the intent to drive. These crimes must be like low hanging fruit for his office, but two egregious crimes he makes short shrift of.
Selective prosecution is well within the discretion of a district attorney but his office is charged with protecting the public. Stressing an already struggling working class with fines for petty violations may seem like a practical use of his annual budget but the impact to the taxpayer may not be. Presently Oregon spends 10% of its general fund or $684 million on its prison population compared to $648 million on education. Depleting meager resources from families will only contribute to the 1.1% growth of Oregon’s prison population from 2006 to 2007.
These are legislative issues but Frasier does have broad discretionary powers as we have recently witnessed. It is natural that he would side with the police, they are the fruit pickers after all. But what about the taxpaying citizens who pay his salary?
The status quo has held too long and Frasier merely offers more of the same. Register your desire for change at the ballot box and vote against Frasier even if you have to write in a candidate. And speaking of status quo make another change and vote for Bob Main for commissioner.