Reposted from www.louisvillepolitics.com
One of the political races I will be following next year rather closely is the race for Commonwealth’s Attorney right here in Louisville, Ky. As many know, and/or believe as I do, Dave Stengel has been nothing more than a political hack who protects his Democratic buddies at our expense. We need a Kentucky criminal attorney to investigate him. Need proof? The King case is one example, and there will be more forthcoming in that case soon, Jerry Abramson fallacies, and so on.
That’s my opinion and I am sticking to it.
While Stengel has always preferred going after cases he didn’t need to, remember the Stinson case at PRP?, in favor of using his office as a political tool by not pursuing anything against his Democratic colleagues, we have a chance now to correct that injustice.
With all this in mind I decided to start looking into this particular race a little early, even for me.
Enter Former Judge Stephen Ryan.
Ryan stood out on my radar for an obvious first interview for many reasons, but primarily because I have followed Ryan for years through the media and the courts, and have found myself siding with him more often than not. The smoking ban debacle and the Mel Ignatow case came to mind immediately.
Judge Ryan’s ruling on the smoking ban was dead on in my opinion thus denying Churchill Downs an unfair advantage. Why was this case important overall?
Because by making the ruling he did, he upset many status quo politicians such as former Mayor Abramson, and a lot of Democratic mafia hacks such as the horse industry and Churchill Downs folks. Knowing how his ruling would be perceived by the powers that be and still following the law proved much about the character of Ryan himself.
This case alone set him apart from the status quo political line we have become used to under folks like Dave Stengel. It is a sign that perhaps we may finally have a true candidate that does not put politics first for a change.
That in itself is refreshing.
I interviewed former Judge Ryan today and came away thinking that we may finally have the real deal for the office of Commonwealth’s Attorney.
I first asked Judge Ryan why he is interested in this job now after a long distinguished career of his own. Ryan explained that he feels there is much that can be changed within the office today citing one major example as the way we use the current diversion program. Ryan says the diversion program has been overused by the CA’s office and in some cases he himself had to deny diversions.
One example cited was a case he had where a defendant was recommended for diversion even though they had felony convictions from other states. Stengel’s office should have known that before even recommending diversion.
Ryan raised the issue that even though it may be a bit more costly in the short-term, doing a simple pre sentence investigation (PSI) could have saved time and money for the courts and eliminated this type of fallacy. Ryan also believes that the current Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office could aid in the overcrowding of dockets by being prepared for trial immediately thus eliminating long costly delays that tie up the dockets.
Additionally, Ryan says many judges are complaining that the diversion programs are overused. I would agree based on my own internal investigations.
Ryan also cited many things about his background that make me believe he could be the real deal as well.
When I asked why he felt the most qualified for this office his answers were immediate. Citing many examples he told me of his time as an MP in the Army, a probation officer while working his way through law school, a former Asst. Commonwealth’s attorney, and former District and Circuit Judge.
He also cited his good working relationships with the Judges and others within the system that will be beneficial to him if elected as our next Commonwealth’s Attorney.
I have to admit when listening to Ryan explain his history it is very impressive. He has the experience to see things from beginning to end and it creates a level of understanding we just aren’t used to from political hacks like Dave Stengel.
What was more impressive was the non assuming, matter of fact, non egotistical way he presented it. There were no “airs,” just facts and that was unique in itself.
I came away with some things about Judge Ryan that I did not know such as the fact that as a District Judge, working with the then Commonwealth Attorney, Ryan suggested the idea for the diversion programs currently used today. He also suggested the fast tracking program, commonly called the “rocket docket” by insiders.
Ryan also as Chief District Judge, working in conjunction with Judge Henry Weber, came up with the current drug court of which he was Judge for more than 10 years. When asked about the results from this Court, many believe it is not that effective, Ryan stated that of those who graduate from drug court there is less than a 20% recidivism by offenders.
When compared to those who do not complete the program those results rise to over a 60% recidivism rate.
Ryan believes that the drug court should be expanded with more focus being put on treatment and rehab versus incarceration. Ryan believes this will free up jail space, reduce our costs, while at the same time better utilizing our existing facilities.
All of which ease the budget pressure for the Commonwealth’s Attorney office.
Ryan pledges, if elected, to work closely with his attorneys, and the courts, to ensure that the laws apply equally to everyone, and that his office will be an open transparent one.
We hear that a lot from candidates who lie about this, remember Mayor Fisher‘s promises?, but in the case of former Judge Ryan, I actually believe we may get it.
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Thursday, December 8, 2011
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