Hi Reddit! My name is Geneviéve Jones-Wright and I'm running for District Attorney in San Diego. Elections are Tuesday, June 5th! AMA!

Check out my campaign site here: https://www.joneswrightforda.com/


Edit: We had scheduled for this AMA to go until 9:30pst, but I'm having such a great time answering all of your questions, I'm gonna hang around a little longer! I'll have to sign off around 10:30, but will absolutely come back to answer as many questions as I can asap!

Edit 2: Thanks everyone! It's 11 now, so I have to run, but I'll do my best to come back and answer as many questions as I can over the course of the next few days. Thank you so much for the fantastic questions! And, if you're in San Diego County, don't forget to vote on Tuesday, June 5th!

Comments: 849 • Responses: 33  • Date: 

ocrespo42454 karma

Do you have plans to make body cam footage more accessible? I'm not really sure where SD is regarding the procedures to release of body cam footage but in general it seems pretty limited.

JonesWrightForDA485 karma

Hi, ocrespo42! I have a plan to release body cam footage in an established timeframe. As DA, my priority will be transparency and accountability. This is but one part of it. The public should know that they can expect body worn camera footage in a timely manner according to a set policy. There would be a built-in exception to the general timeline for the release of footage if it is part of an ongoing investigation that would be compromised by the release of such footage. The general rule, however, would be to release the footage to the public in a set timeframe.

fastandthorough375 karma

Hi Ms. Jones Wright! Unfortunately we have been hearing from sex workers that the passage of SESTA/FOSTA is endangering them in various ways. As DA, will you be able to take measures to protect consensual sex workers in San Diego? I believe you have mentioned the importance of not conflating sex trafficking with consensual sex work. Thanks for your time.

JonesWrightForDA604 karma

You are exactly right. I believe that conflating sex work and sex trafficking is dangerous and ineffective. Sex trafficking is clearly defined as involving coercion, fraud, force, or underage individuals. Sex trafficking is a serious crime and if we want to crack down on it, we must first understand what it is and what it is not. Reality says that some people voluntarily participate in sex work. This is important so that we do not cast a wide net and take time and resources away from combatting sex trafficking. With regards to SESTA/FOSTA, law enforcement was using Backpage and other sites to monitor activities online that now have been driven deeper into the shadows. We are making it harder for sex workers to do their jobs safely and are putting them in more danger. As DA, I will care about keeping communities truly safe for everyone (not just the people I see as deserving of safety), instead of what my conviction rate is. This is something that is a priority for me.

11181514174 karma

Hi Genevieve.

Many people including myself, my friends, my family members, and other people in the San Diego subreddit have received unsolicited calls, text messages, and voicemails from your campaign along with the campaign of at least one of the people you're running against. While this would be illegal for businesses, apparently there is a loophole that allows political calls of this nature.

Why do you think it's acceptable to reach out to individual people on their cell phones even though they've never opted in to receiving these sorts of solicitations? Don't you think abusing this type of legal loophole reflects poorly on you as a candidate running for district attorney?

For reference, here is a message someone on the SD sub received:

"Hey [NAME], this is Stacy volunteering w/ Real Justice. There is an upcoming election on June 5th where San Diego County will have a chance to replace our Republican District Attorney with a progressive Democrat. Geneviéve Jones-Wright is the only Democrat in the race. She's running to take on mass incarceration, hold police accountable + end the county's backlog of untested rape kits. Does that sound like a candidate you would support?"

JonesWrightForDA43 karma

Hi! My campaign has not actually engaged in text messaging voters. And there is no coordination with PACs. While this practice has proven effective with voters, I am so sorry for any inconvenience.

vikinick172 karma

How has your background as a public defender affected your views? Summer Stephan has experience in prosecution, for instance, and likely has very different views of the world than you because of it.

JonesWrightForDA362 karma

As a public defender (that has practiced in different counties and different jurisdictions) I see first-hand how the policies that come out of the DA's Office affect real people. I represent people, not numbers, and that is the perspective that I will bring to the DA's Office. A DA's Office's conviction rate is no measure of success. Rather, it must be how many children did we keep from ever becoming justice-involved and how many people did we help get on track so that they never return to the justice system. That is the true measure of success. We have seen time and again how my opponent's career as a lifelong prosecutor has clouded her judgment. Her office, under her watch, opposed bills to help children who were being human trafficked and HT survivors get rid of their convictions, whereas my association (the CA Public Defender Association) made the right call on these same bills (and more) because we have a less myopic view. It is because of my diverse work experience and my personal experiences within the justice system that give me a balanced perspective, one that my opponent lacks.

SoupGFX127 karma

How much money did George Soros contribute to your campaign?

JonesWrightForDA-5 karma

Hi, he has actually not contributed one cent to my campaign. All donations are public record and you can view them online.

the_night_queue108 karma

Could you comment on the Stephanie Crowe case? Your opponent led that wrongful prosecution that ended up costing the cities of Escondido and Oceanside $7.25 million dollars in a settlement. How you plan to prevent prosecutorial misconduct in your office?

JonesWrightForDA190 karma

Hi there! As a defense attorney, I see the effects of prosecutorial misconduct every single day. The way to prevent it is through hiring practices, making sure that the prosecutors who are hired understand that justice is not about winning or losing. I will have ongoing training on ethics and the role of the prosecutor. I will also make sure that there is accountability when prosecutors engage in misconduct. As it stands now, most prosecutorial misconduct goes unchecked by the bench, the State Bar, and DA Offices. This must change.

There is a lot to say about the Crowe case but I will say this: This case is a prime example of a miscarriage of justice. Young boys were falsely accused, illegally interrogated, and imprisoned for months because of a haphazard prosecution theory that blinded the person who was to seek justice. To this day, the killer roams free leaving no justice for the victims. Justice failed this family because of a "win-at-all-costs" mentality of the prosecutor on the case. My opponent did not give Brady (exculpatory) evidence over to the defense attorney (which is a tremendous violation) and did not test DNA evidence from the start. What's more is that to this day she has not apologized to the family. She hasn't even taken responsibility for her role in the case. This is a failure on so many levels. We can't talk about victim care only when it serves the prosecution. The parents, grandmother, and siblings of Stephanie Crowe are victims and have never been acknowledged as such by the very person who mishandled the Crowe case--my opponent.

MenShouldntHaveCats94 karma

Do you really feel that a DA should actually be a political position? Meaning we have laws, are a country of laws. Shouldn't it just be the DA's job to prosecute those who are accussed? Not enforce their own political ideology upon the courts?

JonesWrightForDA41 karma

Hi there, thank you for your question. I do believe the District Attorney should be an elected position because the DA is a public servant. When the District Attorney files charges, they do so in the name of the People, and as such, we the People should have a say in who represents us. The policies of the District Attorney's Office impacts whole communities and it is important for those community members to have the opportunity to elect their District Attorney.

XO-Skel82 karma

How do you feel about decriminalizing sex work?

JonesWrightForDA69 karma

Hi! I answered a question about a similar topic here. My job as DA will be to keep everyone safe and that includes sex workers.

Manumitany79 karma

You should link to your campaign website! I googled it, and here it is for others in case some rule prevents you from doing so: https://www.joneswrightforda.com/

On your website, you discuss a culture of political retaliation in the current DA's office..

A change in policy at the top is valuable and welcome, but it can stumble in the implementation -- you won't be able to inspect every single decision that your individual prosecutors make, for example. From my own experience, being an agent of change can be extremely difficult when faced with an entrenched culture that sees nothing wrong with what it does, or has decided that that is "just how it works." From a managerial standpoint, how will you go about trying to bring change to an office that is in such a state? Have you faced this sort of challenge before, and how did you deal with it?

JonesWrightForDA64 karma

Hello, Manumitany! As the only public defender/defense attorney on San Diego's Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention, I chair the Gang Documentation Committee. Lots of people believed that somehow my addition on the Commission that includes all of the top law enforcement agents would upend the work of the Commission. That has not been the case. We've done great work together, even with me pushing for reform in my own way. This is important because it shows that I can work with anyone and still bring my values, perspectives, and desires to the conversation and have fruitful results--even in situations where the individuals I work with would appear to be unlikely allies. That being said, and as it relates to the DA's Office, there will be a shift of culture when I become the leader of the office. But, just as with the Commission, I do not believe that there will be an inability to affect the change that is needed. One, I believe most prosecutors want to seek justice as a daily goal. Two, I have support inside of the office (which is unseen because of the lessons learned the last time the DA was challenged by her seat). Also, it is no mystery that the DA does not go it alone. There are Chiefs and supervisors who will help the implementation of the vision and the policies.

sequoia_driftwood55 karma

You have never tried a murder case. Why are you qualified to make decisions on them?

JonesWrightForDA79 karma

Hi there! It is always interesting to me when qualifications are framed so narrowly. As a defense attorney, I prepare for trial as soon as I get the case. As a public defender, I must be ready to go to trial at all times. It is my clients' decisions whether to proceed to trial and my clients' alone. I have had clients charged with murder plead guilty in the trial department after pre-trial motions were decided, right before the jury came in. Was I not prepared to go to trial? To answer your specific question, I am qualified to make decisions on/in murder cases because I have experience handling murder cases where I've had to negotiate plea bargains, write motions compelling discovery (and winning them), cross-examine homicide detectives and medical examiners, etc. I have even gotten charges dismissed at preliminary hearing (mini-trials without a jury) after cross-examining prosecution witnesses. Not knowing if you are a fellow practitioner, I hope I have given you a good picture of what makes me qualified to make decisions on all cases. I did not want to get too technical.

icanseejew245 karma

Hi! Two questions:

As a DA you will be responsible for managing an office full of legal professionals and also working with police. Do you have a plan or strategy for how to manage a DA's office? What experience do you have managing large teams and communicating across government agencies?

What are you thoughts on how difficult and expensive it is to start a marijuana related business in San Diego? Everything from the licensing process to finding a financial institution to work with is very difficult and I really wish it were easier and less expensive. As DA, what would you say to marijuana entrepreneurs about this?

Thank you!

JonesWrightForDA66 karma

Hello! I answered a bit of the first question in response to another answer. I hope you have seen that response by now. Long of the short is, I am already working with law enforcement. As to experience, I have started successful non-profits from the ground up which is much more work than going into an already established office and having an entire team of professionals in place around you. I sit on statewide councils where I work on statewide initiatives to impact the diversity pipeline. I have written policies for Commissions and nonprofits. All of these skills are transferrable.

As it relates to starting canna-businesses, I have spoken with industry professionals and community members to get a better understanding of the hurdles for starting such businesses and how to better implement Prop 64. I think it is important for elected leaders to know all sides of an issue before making decisions that will affect people. The only thing I would say to marijuana entrepreneurs is that I wish other elected leaders took time out to learn and educate themselves on the issues before making policies, like me. And that when you see that elected officials have not done the same thing, vote them out.

the_fickle_pickle44 karma

The past decades have seen politicians sell retributive justice ideas like being "tough on crime" to get elected. How do you sell utilitarian policies, which don't have the same appeal to emotion?

JonesWrightForDA66 karma

Conversations like this one, and with community members in their homes and at town halls, really help. We can't be afraid although the other side fearmongers. Truth moves fear. Relationships establish trust. That's what I've been doing this whole campaign. It's always my pleasure to engage. Thank you for engaging.

orangejulius44 karma

How do you plan to end mass incarceration as an elected DA?

JonesWrightForDA96 karma

Hi, orangejulius! In order to end mass incarceration we have to make concerted efforts to address problems like mental health, substance abuse, and homelessness at their root. As DA, I will invest in more diversion programs which will guide individuals away from incarceration and into programs where they get the help they need--and without having to plead guilty even in most cases. I will advocate for more inclusion into our Collaborative Courts and not argue for termination from such programs because a person relapsed. Common sense approaches are fundamental to ending mass incarceration. A person on the journey to sobriety will fall some times and a DA should understand this. Also, I will invest and expand our Restorative Justice programs. As DA, my bottom line will be not using our jails as the "go-to" option for low-level offenses and offering help not handcuffs when it makes sense to do so.

Mr_CIean37 karma

As DA, I will invest in more diversion programs which will guide individuals away from incarceration and into programs where they get the help they need--and without having to plead guilty even in most cases.

Question about this: What are the current funding for projects like this? What ability or steps would you have to increase funding if you found it deficient?

JonesWrightForDA71 karma

There is a wonderful program called RCC that takes referrals from the Public Defender's office, the DA, Probation; and now SDPD is on board. The aim is to steer our children away from our court system and to implement the Restorative process. There is funding for the project currently as there is significant buy-in since completing the pilot phase with incredible results to back up the program's success. As DA, this program and others like it, would be a priority so I would devote funds out of the budget to ensure the success and expanded reach of the program. Just a note: The DA's Office currently has a budget of $190 million so there is the ability to fund such programs. And with collaboration across the Public Safety Group and with community organizations and leaders, there is the ability to increase funding and get greater buy-in.

Mr_CIean25 karma

Great thanks for the answer. I had no idea the DA had budget for programs like that so that's very interesting to learn. Good luck with your campaign.

JonesWrightForDA52 karma

Yes, the role of the DA as set out in our Government Code (Section 26500.5 to be exact) is to "sponsor, supervise, or participate in any project or program to improve the administration of justice." There is wide latitude there to enact programs. It's all about the right perspective and priorities. And thank you.

itsDANdeeMAN43 karma

Do you consider hot dogs to be sandwiches?

JonesWrightForDA78 karma

Absolutely not.

m1st3rs41 karma

Who was your favorite high school teacher, and why was it mr. Carroll?

JonesWrightForDA60 karma

Hi, m1st3rs! Are you Mr. Carroll?

m1st3rs40 karma

No, but he was the best

JonesWrightForDA54 karma

Don't tell Mr. Baldwin or Mr. Ojeda! Or Blair Hambuechen. We had so many good teachers.

orangejulius34 karma

How do you feel about gang enhancements? Guilt by association or is it a valid tool to keep people in prison longer for having gang ties even if their crime as a stand-alone wouldn't necessitate a harsher penalty?

JonesWrightForDA35 karma

Hi again, orangejulius! I have seen the overuse of gang enhancements as well as a other "gang laws" that promote this "guilt by association" problem. PC 182.5 is a huge "guilt by association" trap. I have seen the wide latitude in a prosecutor's use of gang enhancements, even as to young men who are not gang members and for people who may be in a gang but who did not engage in the charged crimes to benefit a gang. Prosecutors add the gang enhancements for good measure it seems without clearing even the lowest standards. For instance, even after getting two separate judges to dismiss a gang enhancement in a young man's case (under a low evidentiary standard at preliminary hearing), the Deputy DA handling the case argued for elevated for supervision under Probation's Gang Suppression Unit and got it after the young man pled to having a fight. Not only is this a waste of resources but it makes no sense. And yes, these laws are also used to keep people in prison longer when the crime would otherwise not warrant such a stiff sentence. We have to get away from tacking on gang enhancements for the sake of tacking them on. This is also key to ending mass incarceration.

MoscowInDecember31 karma

Do you smoke a weed? It's not a trolling, just a question.

JonesWrightForDA130 karma

Hi, MoscowInDecember! I actually do not smoke marijuana. However, I fully support the implementation of laws that provide for the legalization of cannabis for adults. There are many reasons legalization versus criminalization makes sense.

3dprinterdicks126 karma

What are your thoughts on bail reform?

JonesWrightForDA54 karma

Thank you for your question - this is a very important issue that I have been discussing since Day One of this campaign. I 100% support bail reform. The cash bail system disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income communities. We must shift the focus away from the ability to pay your way out of jail, to addressing if someone is indeed a danger to the community. We have far too many people who sit in jail, having never been convicted of crime, simply because they cannot pay bail. We cannot allow a system that criminalizes poverty to continue. When elected, if bail reform has not yet been achieved through our state legislature, I will make it a reality in San Diego County through my policies as District Attorney.

SteelersBnGG24 karma

How do you feel your work with the Innocence Project has shaped your views?

JonesWrightForDA57 karma

Working to help free wrongfully convicted men and women has given me an up-close and personal view of what is needed to remedy wrongs that have taken place in our justice system. My experience with CIP gives me a perspective that is needed in the DA's Office. I see how hiding evidence, using unreliable informants, and having a narrow view of justice in general adds to the "win-at-all-costs" mentality that pervades most DA Offices. My work with CIP gives me insight into how the business as usual practices do not inure to justice, which should be the goal in every case. I believe that the role of the DA must be to right the wrongs of our justice system. Exonerating innocent people is therefore necessary.

SamElliottsStache23 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA on here Geneviéve. There has been some discussion recently about the donation your campaign received from George Soros, just googling it now I fond this scaremongering attack ad of a website: https://www.threattosandiego.com I am curious to hear your thoughts on Soros and the public perception/paranoia surrounding him and other mega donors but mostly I want to know what you think of this method to discredit mainly progressive candidates as weak on crime, opposed to law and order and by extension a threat to public safety?

JonesWrightForDA-26 karma

Thank you for asking this! I saw this on the other page and will gladly answer it here as well. Criminal justice reform is needed because it’s not weaker on crime, but because it’s smarter on crime. It is unfortunate that people are using fear-mongering Trump-like tactics to distract from the real issues facing San Diego County. I am determined to make the county safer for everyone, wherever they live, and we need someone with my unique experience in office to bring a much-needed and balanced perspective. I am glad that criminal justice reform is getting the attention it deserves and the voters of San Diego have a choice to elect someone who agrees with them on progressive reforms.

Mr_CIean19 karma

What do you feel like the learning curve will be moving from being a public defender to the DA's office? Are there any steps you have taken or would take to minimize that transition?

JonesWrightForDA37 karma

Hi, Mr_CIean! As a public defender I have to know the same things that a DDA handling a case has to know. I must be able to counter their arguments in motions, preliminary hearings, at trial, and even to my clients. As a public defender, I have to know the elements of every crime charged in order to ensure that the DA is not overcharging. I have won countless dismissals and acquittals because I was able to show judges and juries that the charges did not fit the facts. I have to know how to negotiate cases on behalf of my clients which takes knowledge of the law. Really and truly, I feel that I have to know more than prosecutors because I am safeguarding my clients' rights. I take my job very seriously. So, to answer your question, I don't think the learning curve will be steep at all.

JimOfSomeTrades17 karma

Thanks for making this AMA! I support your candidacy and like your stated policies, but I'm a little concerned by what seems like antagonism for the SDPD. Since a DA is most effective with the cooperation of the police, how do you aim to gain their trust?

JonesWrightForDA25 karma

Hi there! I don't believe that my stance on accountability is antagonistic to SDPD. As a matter of fact, I am endorsed by a few active and retired SDPD officers/detectives. What I know is that bad officers make good officers less safe. And bad officers make communities less safe. No one is above the law. That is an idea that everyone should get behind. I've answered another question more thoroughly as it relates to my work with law enforcement on the Commission on Gang Prevention and Intervention. I will try to link you to that answer.

Caputtohsi15 karma

How do you feel about tax breaks for businesses that hire felons?

JonesWrightForDA-26 karma

Great idea!

uncoolcentral14 karma

How do you think campaign finance reform in San Diego should be implemented? … What would the limits be?

JonesWrightForDA16 karma

Currently, we have limits of $800 per person, no PACs, in county elections. This is vastly lower than other jurisdictions. We are the 5th largest county in the nation and that is small dollars to reach each of the 3 million voters. But, we are doing it $5 and $10 at a time.

Ey_Yo_Gurl9 karma

It's refreshing to see someone from the PD's office running for D.A. One of the current problems with our justice system is too many D.A.'s and judges are former prosecutors, which I think can skew things against defendants in the court room. I personally believe we need to see more D.A.'s and judges with a better idea what it means to be a criminal defendant, and I think people from the PD's office are uniquely qualified in that regard.

I'm curious if you think there is more that needs to be done to hold police officers accountable for the shooting of unarmed citizens. Two such incidents that occurred in San Diego are the shooting of Alfred Olango in 2016 and the shooting of Fridoon Nehan in 2015. I understand the need for a high bar for prosecuting officer involved shootings, but it seems to me the D.A.'s office does its best to withhold information from the public in attempt to avoid transparency. Would you plan to be more transparent by releasing information (such as video of the incident) to the public in a timely manner when incidents like this occur? Or do you think the D.A.'s office has handled these cases appropriately given the circumstances?

JonesWrightForDA36 karma

Hello Ey_Yo_Gurl - thank you so much for your question. To your first comment, I believe that my work as a Deputy Public Defender makes me uniquely qualified to be the next District Attorney of San Diego County because I will bring a much needed balanced approach to our judicial system.

As to your second comment and question - thank you so much for asking this question because it is something I am very passionate about and something I have been discussing since Day One of this race. When we talk about justice, fairness, and equity it has to apply to everyone. No one is above the law, not even if you wear a badge. When we talk about officer-involved shootings we must have a larger and more comprehensive conversation. I would like to see San Diego Police Department and the San Diego Sheriff's Department increase de-escalation training, racial bias training, and cultural sensitivity training. I believe these trainings are crucial in reducing the number of officer-involved shootings and should be taught not only once, but on an ongoing basis. I also believe we need to increase funding of PERT (psychiatric emergency response team) so that when a family or community member calls the police for help with someone having a mental health issue, trained professionals can be the first to respond and provide help. I believe both of these are crucial and much-needed steps to prevent officer-involved shootings from occurring. I have also discussed my plans to create an independent unit within the District Attorney's Office to investigate all claims of police misconduct - this would include not only officer involved shootings, but also perjury, hiding evidence, falsified police reports, allegations of sexual misconduct, and use of excessive force. Making this unit separate and independent from the Deputy District Attorneys who work closely with our law enforcement officers every day will ensure the public has trust in the process and there is transparency. We can and must do more to reduce officer-involved shootings and I believe these are the much needed steps to move San Diego County in this direction. Thank you for your question.

cameljocky266 karma

Do you think you will have problems within the office of the DA regarding employees not liking you or resenting you because of your work as a PD and possibly seeing an unwillingness to cooperate with you, I think this may be a serious problem, so what do you think about this issue ?

JonesWrightForDA12 karma

Hi there! I just saw your question on the other page, but just to make sure you see it, I have answered similar questions here and here.

CorpCounsel0 karma

Do you think that the DA has a role in addressing the epidemic of mass shootings in our public school systems, and if so, what would be your plan to limit the rate of murder in the public school system in your district?

JonesWrightForDA-56 karma

Hi, CorpCounsel! Yes, the DA has a role in all things public safety-related. Keeping our children safe is a public safety issue. The DA has a strong voice and should use it to help pass legislation that would keep our children safer in our schools. I, as DA, would use my position and influence to lobby our leaders to pass gun sense legislation as well as other laws that would help on this front. Also, the DA should be using the laws that are now on the books to keep guns out of the hands of folks who should no longer be trusted with guns (that could be due to mental health issues or domestic violence crimes). It is not enough for leaders to stand by and send thoughts and prayers every time a school shooting happens but take no actions to prevent future shootings. I should add in light of recent events that it is extremely difficult to accept a DA's social media post saying that her heart goes out to the last school shooting victims when her inaction and endorsements say something else.

ocrespo42-7 karma

What's your Hogwarts house?

JonesWrightForDA15 karma

I'm a proud Gryffindor!

Norbythemixeduprobot-11 karma

A few years ago, Will Walters lost his life to suicide after being prosecuted for public nudity - the simple crime of having a human body and showing it in public. Can you promise to refrain from prosecuting people for the simple "crime" of public nudity - the "crime" of having a human body - so this type of tragedy never happens again?

Keep in mind that we have public nudity every day at Black's Beach, and that there is no problem with that.

JonesWrightForDA30 karma

Hello! I do not know the specific facts of that case and have not had the opportunity to read the article you linked. (I do apologize.) What I can say is that we have to use common sense in prosecution. Just because we can prosecute does not mean we should in all instances. This case reminds me that we also have to bring care, compassion, and concern into our justice system. No one should lose their life because of the shame of being prosecuted.