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After wake of mixed official message, DA Ravitch felt compelled to remind the public that ultimately the decision to file criminal charges lies with the office of the District Attorney.
After wake of mixed official message, DA Ravitch felt compelled to remind the public that ultimately the decision to file criminal charges lies with the office of the District Attorney.

Sonoma County District Attorney, Jill Ravitch Keeps Focus on Saving Lives, Enforces Health Order

May 30, 2020

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We have all been doing a delicate dance on the head of a pin as we watch the impact of COVID-19 on our community – both with regard to infection as well as the impact on our economy.

Unlike the fires and power outages, there seems to be no clear signal that will allow us to resume our lives. We are adjusting to new protocols as we continue to wait and slowly explore safe opportunities. On Monday, June 1st, the Superior Court will open all criminal courtrooms, bringing hundreds of involved parties to a courthouse which has been all but empty these last few months. While anxiety is high, extensive preparations have been made, and every possible tool in the toolbox is being utilized to ensure citizens have safe access to justice

Jill Ravitch, Sonoma County District AttormeyTo add to the confusion and fear, our Sheriff has now said he will no longer enforce the Public Health Order. Yes, it is difficult to enforce and at times may seem arbitrary. That said, the Sheriff and I both know our role is not to make policy but to enforce the rules. We can play an effective role in developing policy, but at the end of the day, our primary responsibility lies with the enforcement of those rules

Because the Sheriff’s position is at odds with other law enforcement agencies and creates unnecessary inconsistent messages throughout the county, I feel compelled to remind the public that   ultimately the decision to file criminal charges lies with the office of the District Attorney.   I am trained in law not science, and will rely upon the experts to navigate a safe path forward for us through this time. Thus, I will work with other law enforcement and community leaders to educate, and where necessary, enforce the orders issued by our Public Health Officer. 

I am hopeful we can continue this journey in a reasonable and responsible manner, watching out for each other while putting the smallest number of people at risk.  We are tired, scared and worried, but we are resilient and we must be vigilant. Rather than arguing about rules and orders, let’s keep the focus on saving lives. 

 

 

Comments:

May 31, 2020
I disagree. Not with your statement of your authority but with the notion that we as Sonoma County citizens shouldn't argue about rules and orders that are deeply affecting our lives. These rules and orders are being applied capriciously from county to county--different interpretations, same science. Health is one consideration but not the only one. Economic viability is as great. Your journey is different. You continue to be paid, your health insurance is being covered. We are not journeying together..
- Mary LeVesque
May 31, 2020
This decision by the DA is necessary and appropriate.
- Kathleen Finigan
Jun 1, 2020
I completely agree with Mary! We are not journeying together in this! Further, this violation of our constitutional rights needs to end! We need to get back to our lives! When I left but I half a percent of people have contracted this virus and even less than that have passed away, and the information provided does not clearly indicate but what people have actually died from is the virus and not other health issues, it's ludicrous to think that the other 99.5% of us should have to hide from our lives! You said the district attorney is the one who can file charges, yet it is the police department and Sheriff's Department that have to bring us in and I resent your further need to scare the public with that information
- Candace Taylor
Jun 1, 2020
Also what science are they referring to. The CDC already admitted and apologized to huge errors in tally’s from every direction time frames, double and tripling positive and death rates. They asked for our patience while they figure out a system. In the mean time all the numbers are wrong and we are being forced to stay home. No work. No pay. No health insurance. Unemployment is a mess. Still can’t get through on phone or email and still have not received a dime. But I bet the Sonoma County public health director is getting her pay check.
- Tanny Baker
Jun 8, 2020
I stand with Sonoma County's courageous Sheriff. Unequal enforcement of the law, allowing demonstrations, but making it a crime to drive to the beach, has no place in a free society. We don't need bigger government, we need a citizenry United behind the Constitution. End the power grab by our overlords.
- Carl Voss
Jun 13, 2020
Jill Ravitch is correct, the sheriff’s duty is to enforce law. When law or policy does not reflect the will of the people we have the responsibility to seek change. It takes effort that inconveniences us. It taxes us. But when that effort results in change it means something. It means the design of the constitution is still relevant. Do we as a county really want to see law “enforcement” selectively determine what laws and ordinances get enforced? Can you imagine a time or situation where such “courage” on the part of an enforcement officer would result in harm or injustice? I love the beach too, but shouldn’t our focus now be upon uniting to find solutions for business owners AND public safety?
- Lindsey Dixon

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