This guest column was written by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle in response to Luther Campbell's criticisms.
As Miami-Dade state
attorney, I have always believed that my work in the fourth largest
prosecutor's office in America has the potential to affect the
lives of every one of the county's 2.5 million residents. After
all, anyone can be the victim of a crime; rich, poor, black, white,
or Hispanic; young, old, gay, or straight; citizen, tourist,
resident, or undocumented worker; Democrat, Republican, or
independent. I represent everyone. This is a responsibility I take
very, very seriously.
I have long advocated and worked for victims' rights. With the help of crime victims, we have been able to successfully target and convict career criminals. I am most proud of how this affects our daily lives in making our community a safer place in which to live and raise our children.
During my administration, we have accomplished a 46 percent decrease in crime.
• Murders: down 36 percent
• Burglaries: down 51 percent
• Robberies: down 65 percent
• Rapes: down 62 percent
• Aggravated assaults: down 48 percent
• Car thefts: down 73 percent
Since I took office, I have made it one of my primary initiatives to seek ways to reduce the number of juveniles who needed to be direct-filed into adult court. Toward this end, I adopted a number of innovative methods intended to prevent juveniles from reaching the level of re-offending that would require them to be direct-filed.
Through these efforts, we have been able to reduce the total number of direct-files by 77 percent, representing a decrease from 1,464 cases to 338 cases.I am proud to lead the most active State Attorney's Office in Florida in the pursuit of those who would cheat the public and steal from you, the taxpayer.
During my administration 34 elected officials and/or candidates have been convicted and 19 elected officials have been removed from office. That is above and beyond the 292 law enforcement officers and 286 public employees we have also charged.
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To help those who have paid their debt to society become law-abiding and contributing members of our community, I created a Community Outreach Division that, among other things, assists eligible individuals to clear their records of nonviolent arrests. Through monthly Sealing and Expungement workshops at churches and other locations, during the past year alone we helped more than 2,000 individuals clear up their criminal records so they could put their mistakes behind them.
I am proud of all these accomplishments and what they have meant to the well-being and safety of all the residents of Dade County.
Follow Kathy on Twitter @kathyfndzrundle.