One of the most important responsibilities of Lehigh County is to run the courts of our community. As an attorney, I have worked in dozens of courtroom settings, both state and federal, and want to work with the judges and the District Attorney to bring best practices from other jurisdictions to our courts. When elected, I will improve how justice is administered in our county.
First, we must ensure that the rights guaranteed to all Americans under the Constitution are preserved through our court processes. This means ensuring there are resources available for lower-income residents so they are advised on their rights and properly represented. Bolstering our Public Defender Office is crucial to do this. Too often, marginalized groups and individuals are not given their fair day in court within our community. Innocent people should not be incarcerated simply because they have low income. I would work with the court system to reduce or eliminate cash bail for non-violent offenses where there is no threat to the community.
Second, I would work with the District Attorney and the judges to borrow practices from our neighboring counties for the creation of Drug Court and Mental Health Court. Different problems require a different approach to reduce recidivism and victimization, and to rehabilitate offenders. Similarly, I would work with the District Attorney to push for restorative justice, giving victims a bigger voice in criminal proceedings.
In my time as an attorney, I have had multiple people express dismay at the lack of bilingual services for victims of crimes to report. I would push for more bilingual services in our justice system and pass other measures to ensure that there are no barriers to reporting a crime or coming forward as a witness.
Finally, I would work with local law enforcement and use state and federal grants for more trainings for local police for unconscious bias and diversity training. Further trainings would also focus on policing in the modern world, such as training as to how to spot and stop human trafficking.