Carson City’s two candidates for District Attorney sparred over delays in prosecuting sensitive cases, victim services and other issues at the League of Women Voters candidate forum Monday night.
Jason Woodbury said one of his principal issues is inexcusable delays in prosecuting cases where children and the elderly are the victims.
He said he would “take ownership of that issue” and ensure prosecution isn’t delayed unless necessary.
But Assistant DA Mark Krueger said the problem is being caused by some of Woodbury’s supporters — members of the Public Defender’s staff.
“Those same defense attorneys are the ones that cause the delay in cases, the ones that go before the court and ask for the delays,” he said.
Asked if they support creating a child advocate system for Carson City, Krueger said the office has a victim and witness services team but that he would support a child advocacy center.
“We need to be realistic in what we can expect,” said Woodbury. “Carson City is not of a size that could support a child center.” Woodbury said the capital has a CASA program and individuals in the community to help with those services.
Woodbury said one of his concerns is the turnover rate in the current DA’s office.
“When over 40 employees have come and gone in a 21 person office, that tells you something is wrong,” he said. “It’s going to take a culture change.”
Krueger said most employees left for better jobs or retirement. He said the team in place now is strong and stable.
Asked about the open meeting law Krueger said the Board of Supervisor meetings are open, but the city manager “has the opportunity to meet (privately) with his department heads.” Krueger said he would make certain the open meeting law is followed to the letter.
Woodbury too said he would ensure the open meeting law is followed but he supported the ability for the manager to have private meetings with members of the board.
“These individual meetings have value,” he said. “We need supervisors to have a lot of information that can’t necessarily be conveyed in a public meeting.”
Both touted their backgrounds. Krueger said he was chief deputy in Lyon County for six years before becoming assistant DA in Carson City two years ago and is now preparing for his 40th major criminal trial.
“I’m a team leader and have the ability to make this office run smoothly if given the opportunity,” he said.
Woodbury said after law school, he was a clerk for District Judge Mike Griffin before being hired by then-DA Noel Waters. He was a prosecutor for four years, mostly handling criminal matters. After that, he signed on with Kaempfer Crowell, a major Nevada law firm with offices statewide and now handles primarily commercial business litigation.
He said he would enhance training within the DA’s office and open up opportunities for employee advancement.
“It’s not a stepping stone,” he said. “I don’t want to be judge. I don’t want to be on the Board of Supervisors. There’s a job to be done and I want to be elected to get that job done.”