Lin Goetz

  Oakland County

Question 1

Why are you running for prosecuting attorney in your county? What do you want to accomplish as prosecuting attorney?

Oakland County was one of the safest places to live, work and play. Our community deserves to have the best prosecuting staff. For the people here to have the best, assistant prosecutors need training, and to be placed in the areas where they can perform to their highest ability. In addition, the office must evolve to use sobriety and treatment courts. Lives depend on this. Victims deserve a public integrity unit to make sure, when new evidence arises, that the convicted individual is the right person who committed that crime. Defense attorneys, law enforcement, and others need to have open communication, especially when there are new or changed laws in place. To have law and order for everyone, there must be communication. These things are not happening as they should, and that must change.

Question 2

Do you believe that prosecutorial practices have been responsible for racial disparities in the criminal legal system?

No Response
Please explain.
Racial disparities in the criminal legal system are the result of a number of different factors. History plays a part. People have obvious or more latent biases in many positions throughout our community, throughout groups within our communities, and throughout various positions in the criminal justice system. I do think, however, that a prosecutor, as the chief legal officer in a county, can make a difference in this area.

Question 3

Do you pledge to take steps to eliminate racial disparities caused by prosecutor conduct in filing charges, plea bargaining and sentencing?

No Response
Please explain.
I pledge to treat each victim, defendant, law enforcement officer, and witness in every case with the same and equal respect as any other member of the community. Each case will be treated on the merits of the evidence in that case. To improve in this area will require more education, training, and community involvement over an extended period of time to address factors that bring a disparate number of one race or the other into the criminal justice system.

Question 4

Where there are longstanding patterns of significant racial disparities in arrest rates for low-level offenses, will you work with local police departments to eliminate those disparities and decline to file charges for those low-level offenses where a department is unable or unwilling to address them proactively?

No Response
Please explain.
No Response

Question 5

Do you believe prosecutor practices can impact the problem of mass incarceration?

yes
Please explain.
Prosecutors can support diversion programs to reduce the number of non-violent offenders going to jaiI or prison. For instance, I strongly support veterans treatment courts, sobriety courts, mental health treatment, and a number of statutory first offender diversions such as Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. These diversions reduce offenders in custody, and save lives.

Question 6

Do you pledge to implement practices that will reduce the jail population and reduce state prison commitments by a specific percentage by the end of your first term?

no
Please explain.
I pledge to strongly support the above diversion programs, but will not play percentage games. It is not fair to the community I will be serving who deserve a prosecutor who will treat each person fairly and make decisions based upon the merits of the evidence in their case. The prosecutor has a duty to seek the truth and justice. While I can educate and set goals, the ultimate decisions must be made based upon the merits of the case in the pursuit of truth and justice for the people.

Question 7

Will you support marijuana expungement applications for amounts that are now legal, and support statewide legislation that creates automatic and retroactive expungement of marijuana charges?

no
Please explain.
As prosecutor, I will support the law. Any and all expungement applications will be evaluated on the merits of the request, and the law that applies at that time.

Question 8

Do you pledge to stop using prior felony convictions to automatically enhance sentences?

no
Please explain.
The Prosecutor's job is to enforce the law as passed by the legislators the people have elected to make those laws including the habitual offender and other sentencing enhancement law(s). However, the prosecutor does have discretion in arguing for an enhanced sentence, or to support a sentencing departure where there are extenuating circumstances.

Question 9

Will you invest in alternatives to incarceration for people with mental illness, people with substance use disorder, indigent defendants, and veterans?

No Response
Please explain.
Unfortunately, we have a State that is facing huge deficits due to covid-19. It is likely the County will also have financial deficits to address. Therefore, there may not be funds to invest available. However, that does not lesson my commitment to prosecutor participation and support of our treatment courts, veterans treatment courts, mental health treatment or in dealing fairly with low income participants in the criminal justice system. It just means we will have to be innovative with the staff and finances as they exist when I take office.

Question 10

Do you commit to expanding diversion courts including those that address substance use disorder, mental health, juveniles, first offenders, and veterans? Are there specific diversion programs you plan to join or create?

yes
Please explain.
My husband and I have supported veterans treatment courts and substance treatment courts as well as first offender programs and mental health treatment for many years, and will continue to do so as these programs literally save lives.

Question 11

Do you pledge to adopt policies within the jurisdiction of prosecutors from the Michigan Task Force on Jails and Pretrial Incarceration?

No Response
Please explain.
The Michigan Indigent Defense Counsel grants have now placed attorneys at the courts for assistance at the arraignment phase of a criminal case. They are the attorneys making a difference in these arraignment/pretrial bonds, and getting more personal recognizance bonds. Many times, a prosecutor is not even present at arraignment; only the officer or presentence investigator, jurist, defendant and their attorney. Having said that, there are times when individuals are a risk to public safety, and jail/jail alternatives to secure the safety of the public are appropriate. In addition, bond condition violations must be evaluated with the safety of the public in mind. As a prosecutor, I will commit to following the law and court rules on this issue with an eye towards justice.

Question 12

Will you stop recommending that judges set cash bail, and instead recommend the use of other proven tools to ensure compliance with the system?

No Response
Please explain.
Please see my above answer.

Question 13

Do you pledge to preserve the speedy trial rights of defendants post-arrest, and dismiss cases that are delayed longer than 18 months?

No Response
Please explain.
I support the constitution, laws, court rules and case law relative to this issue. Some cases take longer, especially where a defense attorney has requested multiple adjournments for various reasons or where developing forensic evidence takes time to be properly addressed. Again, each case will be handled fairly, and according to the law in order to seek justice for our community.

Question 14

Will you pledge to not prosecute people under 18 as adults and eliminate the use of juvenile waivers into adult courts?

no
Please explain.
Part of evaluating the merits of a case include consideration for a victim. In violent offense cases where victims are traumatized or killed, their loss does not depend on the age of a defendant. A 16 year old who murders someone is just as guilty of taking a life as a 60 year old. The real consideration in deciding these waivers has to evaluate the impact of the crime while ascertaining the ability of a juvenile offender to understand the nature of the actions they have taken. In addition, to make this type of pledge may open juveniles to the influence of adults using them to commit their crimes.

Question 15

Do you commit to expedite re-sentencing hearings for juveniles sentenced to life without parole, taking into account the Miller factors?

yes
Please explain.
A prosecutor's job is to enforce the law while seeking truth and justice. Part of seeking justice is to comply with appellate court rulings as soon as feasibly possible.

Question 16

Will you decline to seek life without the possibility of parole, including for any person under 18 at the time of the offense?

No Response
Please explain.
Please see my answer above.

Question 17

Will you create a community advisory board that meets monthly and represents impacted communities including immigrant communities, formerly incarcerated communities, communities of color, and the LGBTQ+ community within the first 100 days of your term to determine the priorities of your office?

No Response
Please explain.
As I discussed with Michigan Liberation representatives from Pontiac, I am committed to having community feedback from various groups and organizations, but have not yet decided what form that ongoing communication will take. We have all experienced that situation where everyone says some meeting would be a great idea, but then few show to the actual meeting when its scheduled, or only people with no real authorizations show. I want ongoing communication, whether its a regularly scheduled meeting, or in another format, and am leaving that more fluid for now. In the first 100 days, I will be dealing with setting up public integrity unit, reviewing juvenile cases referenced previously, and assessing/assigning prosecutors to their strength areas, in addition to many other tasks. During that time, direct and ongoing communication with the above groups may be more effective.

Question 18

Do you commit to holding quarterly meetings, which are open to the public, to discuss community concerns?

No Response
Please explain.
Please see my above answer. I am committed to communication with our community, but want to implement the manner that will actually mean something to interested parties.

Question 19

Do you pledge to collect and post online quarterly statistical information disaggregated by race and gender on all key stages of prosecutorial decision making? For example, felony and misdemeanor charging decisions, bail decisions, declinations to charge, diversion program placements, and convictions.

No Response
Please explain.
Given the financial circumstances that I will likely be walking into on day one of my administration, resources will likely be stretched to the maximum. I will commit to following the law, and enforcing the law in a manner that seeks justice, but will spend resources on actually handling these cases before compiling statistics.

Question 20

Will you create a Conviction Integrity Unit that reviews innocence claims, due process violations, corrupt law enforcement practices, and excessive sentences?

No Response
Please explain.
I will create a public integrity unit to address conviction integrity, review delayed juvenile hearings to bring the office into compliance with the appellate court's order on this issue, and to improve communications with defense counsel, law enforcement and others on new or changing laws/court decisions and cases. The unit will go farther than just review convictions with new evidence. It will also seek to reduce confusion or guessing over how the prosecutor's office will enforce new/changed laws. There was a monumental failure in communication by the prosecutor's office over medical marihuana concerns.

Question 21

Will you publish all office policies and protocols online?

no
Please explain.
Again, deficits make this very unlikely. In addition, as laws change/evolve, policies may also change. In addition, a prosecutor has discretion. Policy may indicate a starting point for a case, but individual case circumstances may vary greatly. Further, employment decisions and employee concerns warrant caution in this area. I will commit to improving communications between the defense bar and the prosecutor's office.

Question 22

Will your office hold police accountable by maintaining a list of officers who are engaged in patterns of misconduct, including racial bias, excessive force, or dishonesty, and make the list available to defense counsel and decline to call those officers as witnesses in any criminal prosecutions?

No Response
Please explain.
Officers are not above the law. Having said that, many officers want to do a great job and then go home to their families. If a case is presented to the prosecutor's office where we can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt (same standard as any other defendant at trial), that an officer used unjustified excessive force, that officer may be charged. Once convicted, the court keeps the final judgment on record for any defense attorney to review. Further, all attorneys have an ethical duty to not put any witness on the stand who that attorney knows is going to give false testimony. That duty includes officer witnesses.

Question 23

Will your office appoint an independent investigator in all cases of police-involved shootings and make the investigation findings transparent when deciding whether to charge the officer with a crime?

no
Please explain.
There are protocols already in place for review of police involved shootings from the way a scene is handled all the way to presentation for the prosecutor's office to review. In addition, the prosecutor's office has investigators on staff should additional information need to be developed or new information reviewed. Finally, should a conflict of interest arise, the prosecutor may request for a different office to handle the case.

Question 24

Do you pledge to adopt written policy and training encouraging staff to consider the unintended immigration-related consequences of prosecutorial decisions at all stages of a case?

No Response
Please explain.
No Response

Question 25

Will you create a streamlined post-conviction procedure for non-citizens to limit immigration related consequences of a prior conviction, including access to pre-plea diversion programs?

No Response
Please explain.
No Response