I’m on a Mission to Fight and Protect Victim’s Rights, Transparency and Justice in Ingham County.

VICTIMSRIGHTS

As a mother, grandmother and someone who has spent 29 years fighting for victims, I pledge to ensure victim’s rights will always be a priority in the Prosecutor’s Office. In many instances the Prosecutor’s Office has failed at protecting victims and has further victimized them by either not pressing charges, being inefficient or negotiating plea bargains without consulting the victim. Ingham County will set the standard in Michigan when it comes to victim’s rights.

This is very personal to me. My daughter was the victim of domestic violence and due to family support and her own strength she was able to remove herself from the relationship. Not everyone is in the same position and I will fight for those who are not.

More resources must be invested in our victim’s advocate department. Immediately we will establish a hotline that victims can call to receive updates on cases or answer any questions they have. We must expand the victim’s advocate department by hiring passionate people who are not just looking for a job but want to make a difference.

No plea bargains will be given without the involvement of the victim’s. Too many times has a victim read about a plea bargain in the paper before even being informed.

We must ensure continued education is provided for our victim’s advocates and that they are empowered to be more than just witness list coordinators. The Prosecutor’s Office will be involved with local organizations that provide services for victims.As a community we must come together and protect and fight for our most vulnerable citizens. We can do this together, and we must do this.

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Transparency

As an elected official and public servant, the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney works for the people of Ingham County. I pledge to ensure transparency in the office. This is imperative to begin to rebuild the trust of the prosecutor’s office. It has been made clear by the citizens of Ingham County that transparency must be a priority. As Democrat candidate for prosecutor Thomas English has stated “Bad things happen in the dark, Good things happen in the light.” Corruption, political favors and backroom deals are all made possible by the lack of transparency.

The assistant prosecuting attorney’s and myself will attend township meetings and neighborhood meetings on a regular basis. We will provide updates on cases and crime in their respected communities and listen to the concerns of the people we serve. Communication with the local municipalities is crucial.

As it has been for the last 29 years, my door will always be open to anyone who has questions or concerns.

Justice

It is time to end incompetency in Ingham and restore Justice. I believe that the laws exist to protect the people, not the government. We will not be afraid to try cases and we will not be afraid to dismiss cases where the evidence is insufficient. The Prosecutor’s Office will not overcharge or look for an easy way to get convictions. We must prosecute with compassion but also be efficient and effective.

I helped establish the first pre-trial diversion program in Ingham County which is still in effect today. I strongly believe diversion and specialty courts are excellent tools for prosecutors. In some instances, justice will be better served in our community using these programs. We must do a better job at identifying individuals who will succeed in these programs. We also need to continue to improve our diversion program; I strongly support contracting with local organizations that provide services that can help those that need assistance in becoming a productive citizen of our community.

Those individuals who commit violent crimes especially against children and elderly people will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. There are a number of crime issues in our county currently and it is important that we work together to protect our community. Opioid’s and Human Trafficking are going to be of high priority if elected. We must treat those who are addicts and hold accountable those that are manufacturing and distributing. Michigan currently ranks No. 2 in the country in Human Trafficking, some of our legislators and our Attorney General are working to stop this horrible crime, and I pledge to help continue that fight. We do not need that same philosophy in the prosecutor’s office that has lead many to question whether justice is being done in Ingham County. We need new leadership and a new philosophy for achieving justice.

The current indigent defense system in Ingham County is failing minorities and the poor in our community. The court appointed system in Ingham fails to provide adequate defense to those who cannot afford an attorney. Ingham County should set the standard in our state when it comes to indigent defense.

The Ingham County Prosecutor is the Chief Law Enforcement Official in our county and it is imperative that this office be a leader for justice in our community, that is why I strongly support a Public Defender’s Office in Ingham County. If elected to serve as the next Prosecutor for Ingham County I will continue to advocate for a Public Defender Office and justice for all of the residents in our community. CLICK HERE for full release and petition to the Ingham County Board of Commissioners to start a Public Defender Office in Ingham County.

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If you have any questions or would like to speak with me please email voteoberry@billieoberry.com or call (734) 221-0868. I am running to serve you, please do not hesitate to reach out. With your vote in November we can begin to achieve this mission together.

Billie Jo O’Berry