Interview – Jason Woodbury, Carson City District Attorney
(vs Mark Krueger)
This is a non-partisan race. Both candidates are Republican.
This is an open seat
Please submit a short personal resume:
- Born in Reno, raised in Elko
- Graduate of University of Nevada and University of Utah School of Law
- Served as law clerk for Judge Michael Griffin, 1998
- Worked in criminal and civil divisions of the Carson City District Attorney’s office under Noel Waters, 1999 to 2003
- Instructor at Western Nevada College in courses on Criminal Law, Evidence and Criminal Procedure
- Private practice since 2003
- Named Partner in statewide law firm, Kaempfer Crowell, in 2009
- Boys & Girls Club board member since 2003; President in 2008
- 2011 graduate of Leadership Carson City
- “AV” preeminent rating (highest available) by Martindale-Hubbell peer review
- Named as Nevada Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite” – 2013
- Best Lawyers in America® in Commercial Litigation – 2013
- Married to Stacy; Children: Noah Jennings, Chloe and Peter Woodbury
1. This is an open position. Define your strengths and why you would better serve Carson City in this position than your opponent.
My broad base of experience has prepared me to be District Attorney. Eleven years ago, I was a veteran deputy in the Carson City D.A.’s office under Noel Waters. I had worked in both the criminal and civil divisions. I was a pretty darn good trial lawyer—never lost a jury trial as a prosecutor, in fact. And I suppose if someone had asked me whether I was ready to be D.A., I would have said, “yes.”
But I would have been wrong.
I have spent the last 11 years in private practice. During that time, I have represented all sorts of clients—from one person shops to the largest businesses in Nevada, from people charged with crimes to children removed from unsafe homes. This experience has sharpened my skills and matured my judgment—allowing me to consider all perspectives and craft innovative solutions.
I have the benefit of lessons only small business teaches. I’ve learned how to recruit, develop and respect personnel, and to build a team and instill within them personal pride in doing first-rate work. I’ve managed tight budgets without sacrificing quality of work.
Some say you can’t run the District Attorney’s office with the same professionalism and standards of a private firm. Watch me.
2. Under what circumstances, if ever, do you believe a plea bargain is appropriate?
Without question, some criminal cases simply must go to trial. There are occasions when a crime is so horrific or a criminal is so depraved that only a jury’s verdict can extract justice. And in such circumstances, the attorneys in my office would not consider a plea bargain.
But when utilized sensibly, plea bargains complement and promote the paramount objective of the criminal system—justice. More sledgehammer than scalpel, the law sometimes treats very different conduct as if it was the same. For instance, take the mother who steals food to feed hungry children. She has technically committed the same crime as the thief who steals jewelry to feed only his own greed. Obviously, those cases do not warrant the same punishment. A plea bargain affords prosecutors an opportunity to fashion a punishment which fits the crime. And the criminal.
Finances play a role, too. According to the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Uniform Crime Report, the Carson City Sheriff’s Office made 2,732 adult arrests in 2013. If every one of those arrests resulted in a criminal trial, each of the four adult courts in Carson City would have to complete, on average, almost three criminal trials per day to process all those arrests through trial. That’s practically and fiscally impossible.
If I am elected, I will closely monitor cases to ensure plea bargains are sensible and fit the circumstances. But rest assured—when a case needs to go to trial it will be tried.
3. As the Carson City District Attorney, what do you believe would be your three or four greatest challenges and how would you address them?
- Office instability
The District Attorney’s office has 21 employees. Since 2007, over 40 have left. Some turnover is expected, but this alarming rate means something is wrong. This extraordinary turnover affects work quality, is inefficient and results in higher costs to taxpayers. Solving this problem requires more than a tweak from current management. It’s going to take strong leadership, fresh ideas and renewed commitment.
I plan to address this problem in three ways. First, we will be proactive in hiring—recruiting the people we want in the office, not passively settling for job applicants. Second, we will revitalize the training process to ensure team members have the tools they need to succeed. And third, when we have well-qualified, well-trained people in place I will trust them to do their job. Get good people, instill within them personal pride for their work, give them policy direction, trust them to do their job, and just watch what this office can do for Carson City.
- Justice Delayed
Justice has two sides. Criminal defendants are entitled to a fair, speedy, public trial. So are victims. But sometimes victims are re-victimized by a frustratingly slow system. An eventual conviction is no consolation to victims forced to endure such a lengthy prosecution that they no longer care about the result. Cases which involve children or elderly persons deserve special attention to ensure swift progress.
If elected, my office will closely monitor the pace of prosecutions. We will work with people involved in the justice system to review procedures and ensure they permit only those delays which serve the interest of justice. Most importantly, we will maintain constant contact with victims about the progress of cases.
- Community Watchdog
Most folks are busy living their lives and don’t have time to watch local government very closely. As the City’s civil lawyer, a big part of the District Attorney’s job is ensuring officials follow laws which protect the public trust. If elected, my office will offer annual presentations to City officials explaining their legal obligations. An attorney will be continuously available to answer questions, research issues, and offer advice. Most importantly, a citizen who calls the D.A.’s office with concerns will not be treated with hostility. Concerned citizens can be assured I am as interested in addressing such issues as they are. If they are willing, we will work together to understand, investigate and resolve the concern.
4. It is a long campaign season. Many accusations and assertions are made by candidates. Are there any specific charges or assertions made by your opponent, or others, that you feel are inaccurate or unfair that you would like to answer to?
This is my first run for office. And from day one, I have been guided by the three campaign principles articulated by Nancy Bilyeu when she was chair of the Nevada Republican Party:
- Respect your opponent.
- Discuss the issues.
- Treat voters as adults.
Rumors, gossip and personal attacks have no place in my campaign. And I trust the voters to sort fact from fiction and to determine what information is relevant to my qualifications and abilities to serve as District Attorney.
5. Please use this space to elaborate on any specific issue(s) of concern.
When you rise in a courtroom and say you represent the people of Carson City, the hair on the back of your neck should stand as you recognize the magnitude of this responsibility. To me, the District Attorney’s office is neither a stepping stone nor a career. It’s a mission.
Too many good people have left our D.A.’s office. Too many cases are taking too long to prosecute. Carson City needs to fill this open seat with a District Attorney who will improve relationships with courts and law enforcement, someone who has successfully practiced in the private sector, controlled a budget, made a payroll and managed personnel with respect.
I would appreciate your vote.
I have asked Republican candidates in the Carson City District Attorney and Supervisor races & the Lyon County Sheriff’s and Commissioner races to participate in an online interview
The interview responses will be posted in full, unedited as submitted on NewsDesk (www.ndbynd.com), the CCRW website (www.ccrwclub.org) and the Carson City Central Committee website (www.ccrccgop.com), and all other GOP associated websites that wish to do so. The responses will be emailed to the membership of each organization, with reposting of any interview by interested parties strongly encouraged.
The purpose of these interviews is to allow our Republican candidates the opportunity to state their positions in their own words, describe how they differ from their opponent’s positions and why they would better serve their local government better than their opponent.
Nancy Dallas, Publisher/Editor NewsDesk (Est. January 2003)