Smart Justice
Maricopa County Attorney’s Race Candidate Commitments

The ACLU of Arizona does not endorse or oppose candidates.

We will track the candidates’ public statements and commitments on the campaign trail. To submit a statement for consideration, email [email protected]

Smart Justice Value: Decarceration

Policy: Set a Specific Decarceration Goal

Gunnigle

Julie Gunnigle

“My goal would be to bring Maricopa County’s incarceration rate in line with the national average over the course of four years…this…would represent an almost 26% reduction in our prison population..”

Source: ACLU of Arizona Candidate Questionnaire
Knight

Will Knight

“With my first year in office, I could reduce our prison population by more than 30%.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall

Smart Justice Value: Challenge racism within the criminal justice system

Policy: Begin race and ethnicity data collection explicitly as it relates to prosecutions.

Knight

Will Knight

“Our Deliverables: Partner with social science researchers to measure, evaluate, publish, and respond to factors contributing to the disparate impact of our justice system on communities of color;”

Source: Knight2020.com
Gunnigle

Julie Gunnigle

“To fix [racism in the criminal justice system], we must: 1) Be committed to transparent collection of uniform data and measurable goals of reducing racial disparities.”

Source: ACLU of Arizona Candidate Questionnaire

Policy: Stop pursuing cash bail

Ryan Tait

“Right away, prosecutors should stop recommending cash bail on nonviolent offenses when they are not a specific threat to community safety.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020

Tamika Wooten

“What I would do is make sure that the office looks at release conditions as far as on their own recognizance that’s going to be the number one go to.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020

Bob McWhirter

“The only purpose of cash bail is to assure appearance in court…You can create an entire system with a measure to say which person is a risk of flight and which person is a danger to the community and that’s how we assess people.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020
Gunnigle

Julie Gunnigle

“First on my agenda is…the elimination of cash bail.”

Source: Blog for Arizona, Aug 1. 2019
Knight

Will Knight

“Fundamentally, we need to depart from cash bail.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020.

Smart Justice Value: Champion Reform at the Legislature

Policy: Proactively support legislation that will reduce the prison population and vigilantly oppose legislation that creates new crimes or increases sentences.

Tamika Wooten

“I will lobby to reduce incarceration.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall
Knight

Will Knight

“The answer is yes.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall
Gunnigle

“It is definitely the job of this office to be a champion and cheerleader for criminal justice reform.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall

“I am going to make sure that the laws that are passed are the ones that are smart, instead of foolish.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall

Smart Justice Value: Build Trust Between Law Enforcement and Community

Policy: Creating an Independent Prosecuting Unit To Investigate Police Misconduct Cases  

“Only by collecting a diverse body of people, that are not connected to law enforcement directly that are involved, can we make a fair assessment of when these allegations of misconduct should be brought to charges.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall

“I want to develop a bureau that is specific to officer, basically looking into that misconduct, have prosecutors where that’s all they do is that type of law, as far as investigating and prosecuting police misconduct, have a team of investigators who I know are committed to justice as well.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020.
Gunnigle

“I am committed as a day-one, minute-one priority to an independent group of prosecutors that does not rely day-to-day on those same officers that they would seek to prosecute when they commit misconduct.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall
Knight

“We could have [AZ Post Certified Investigators]…serve as an independent investigating body for those rare situations where that needs to happen.”

Source: Equality Arizona Interview, Jan. 21, 2020.

Policy: Creating a Conviction Integrity Unit

“I have already expressed to my campaign team my desire to create a unit to review previous cases for DNA/prints inconsistencies to see if convictions should be overturned. So yes, that’s a day-one priority for me.”

Source: Twitter
Gunnigle

“On day-one, minute-one we create a conviction integrity unit…All over the nation these have been shown to work.”

Source: Jan. 30 Candidate Town Hall

“A conviction and sentencing integrity unit would be established to ensure that questionable convictions are revisited and overly harsh sentences are reduced.”

BlogforArizona, Sep. 10, 2019
Knight

“Our Deliverables… Implement a strong conviction integrity unit to seek justice for those harmed by yesterday’s misguided criminal justice practices.”

Source: Knight2020.com