SARASOTA – Prosecutor Ed Brodsky faces the challenge of two former prosecutors, according to whom the prosecution has become complacent about violent crime.
Brodsky quickly points out that crime has dropped 47% since he was appointed prosecutor for the 12th judicial district in 2012, and that he has installed programs that help individuals escape the sex trade industry, men who engage in prostitution, and Treatment courts should help people with mental health problems and addiction. His office also created an animal cruelty department to persecute people who harm animals.
Attorney Betsy Young and Republican Lisa Chittaro both believe that the current prosecutor's office is using the judiciary inconsistently. They pointed to the case of Sheena Morris, whose death Brodsky described as suicide, the case of Ryan Flanzer, a wealthy Sarasota man who received an arrest warrant after opening an apartment door downtown, and Daniel Santiago, who was 15 Years have been in jail for years trying to commit suicide.
Chittaro says she wants to restore people's trust in the government. The former prosecutor, who worked under Brodsky, left the SAI in June 2017 and opened her own practice.
Young, also a former prosecutor, points out that she worked on both sides of the aisle – as a prosecutor and defender – and understands the difference between treating high-profile and low-profile cases.
"I would make sure that violent crimes are fully prosecuted," said Young. "I would make sure there was adequate firearm training so that these cases could be followed up properly."
All three candidates said they support the death penalty and do not believe there should be any changes to Florida's "stand-your-ground" law.
Brodsky amassed memos and campaign contributions. He received $ 167,358.81 from lawyers, real estate developers, law enforcement officers, and other business people.
Chittaro raised $ 30,471.60 for her campaign. and Young raised $ 109,112.97.
Brodsky is approved by the sheriffs of all three of his boroughs – Sheriff Tom Knight, Sheriff Rick Wells, and Sheriff James Potter – Florida State Attorney Nick Cox; retired prosecutor Earl Moreland; Congressman Greg Stuebe; Senator Joe Gruters; Senator Bill Galvano; MP Tommy Gregory; MP Jim Boyd; the Police Benevolent Association; Fraternal order of the police; Sarasota Police Officers Association, Sarasota County Schools Police Association and other business leaders.
Chittaro received recommendations from Tea Party Manatee, Tea Party Sarasota, the Republican Assembly of Manatee-Sarasota, Women for Trump, the National Rifle Association, and Ray Pelon, the former state representative from District 72 and a former representative from Sarasota County.
Young is supported by Florida’s Democratic Veterans Caucus, Ruth’s List – a group that recruits, educates, cares for, and chooses progressive women at all levels – and others.
Brodsky is a recognizable figure at a time when social distance makes it difficult to meet voters. His challengers focus on social media, text messaging, email, and alternative forms of messaging to reach constituents.
The candidates participated in several online forums discussing how they would run the region's chief prosecutor's office.
"COVID has changed the campaign landscape, but I think it was committed," said Brodsky. "It was a very busy campaign season, although COVID-19 dampened things through face-to-face meetings."
Brodsky believes that his experience stands out among the candidates. He has served for 28 years as a prosecutor, eight years as a prosecutor, and is certified by the Florida Bar from the board.
"Only 7% of licensed lawyers are certified by the board," said Brodsky. "My board certification is in a criminal case. I have management experience. We have four offices in three districts, and before I became a prosecutor, I was the head of the Crime and Executive Assistant department."
According to Brodsky, the SAO requires the management of 160 employees with a budget of $ 17 million.
Chittaro says she would set up an investigative department to deal with matters of particular concern, such as police and government misconduct and complex fraud cases.
"The changes would make law enforcement much more proactive from the start of law enforcement and be visible to the community so that the public is aware of the consequences if they break the law," said Chittaro. "One of the great things I want to restore and rebuild is trust in the government. One way to do that is to enable people to interact with the government."
Chittaro says that the abuse of power by law enforcement agencies or the government eliminates the feeling of corruption within the community.
"I would also work with local and federal law enforcement officers to identify illegal illegal aliens and ensure that our protective city laws are prescribed and followed," she said.
Chittaro said that her time as a prosecutor had shaped her as a person. In 2013 she founded and implemented the Department for Cruelty to Animals, Abuse of the Elderly and White Collar Crime.
"It was practically in the courtroom with no rules or model to follow," she said. "The victims in this case, the animals, the elderly, their families will leave an impression on me forever what they have to go through."
Young also spent most of her legal career as a prosecutor.
"When I made the decision to run for the prosecutor three years ago, it was based on my 23 years of experience in criminal justice," said Young. "After the September 11 terrorist attacks, I made the decision to return to southwest Florida. I was born and grew up in Pinellas County. I am a native of Florida, my mother is a native of Florida, my children were born in Sarasota District."
Young served as deputy prosecutor in Sarasota from 2002 to 2007.
"Because I am a defense lawyer and because I am a public prosecutor, I see every day how victims of crime were treated," said Young. "Lots of things have been going on in the media very publicly about how crime victims have been treated. I have seen cases that were not public cases, no things that are in the media. So I decided to take my hat off toss in the ring and run for prosecutor. "
Young's top three goals are to set up a multi-agent law enforcement task force for the SAI that is authorized to conduct high-level narcotics, vice, and organized crime investigations in Sarasota-Manatee-DeSoto.
"This would reflect investigative offices that the SAO runs in other circuits," she said. "It would be a highly specialized group of investigators who focus on economic crimes and usually focus on the elderly as victims."
Second, Young said she would once again focus on training, technology, and litigation support for line lawyers who take on the day-to-day legal responsibilities of cases and work to reduce sales at SAO.
"This would include allowing remote work and court appearances," said Young. "It would save money and streamline law enforcement."
And third, Young says she would deliver on the promise of Marsy's law by keeping up to date and respecting victims, especially children and the elderly.
Young will have no opponent in the Florida area code on August 18 and will face the winner between Chittaro and Brodsky in the November 3 general election.