Unacceptable

By David A. Linn / Guest CommentaryMarch 6, 2013 

As a frequent traveler on Highway 41, and as an attorney in Oakhurst for more than 30 years who has worked with many different Madera County district attorneys, I have recently become alarmed at a disturbing trend. It is important that the citizens and drivers of Madera's roadways know about Michael Keitz's failure to prosecute DUI's in a timely manner is dangerous policy and can affect each of us.

Under Keitz, it typically now takes six to nine months to file a criminal complaint for driving under the influence . Prior to Mr. Keitz' taking office, this type of delay never occurred. The judges are concerned, the deputy district attorneys are screaming, defense attorneys are upset, and even the DUI offenders aren't happy.

It now is typical for dozens of DUI offenders to appear in court, on the date they promised to appear, only to find out that, the DA has not filed a complaint yet, so their case cannot proceed. The court clerk's tell the defendants and their attorneys that they will send a letter when the DA files the criminal complaint. It is now a common practice for the letter to come in the mail about six to nine months later and sometimes, the letter never ever comes. All this time, people with a documented "alcohol or drug problem" are free to slaughter our neighbors and motorists on State Route 41 and Madera's roadways.

I recently spoke with a high-ranking California Highway Patrol official, who confirmed to me that the delays resulting from Keitz's failure to timely file criminal complaints, was causing problems. He specifically told me that sometimes the DA's office cannot file a case because they had "blown the statute of limitations" by failing to file in a timely manner.

This is unacceptable and must stop.

Come on, Michael Keitz, you can't be so busy making public appearances and suing Madera County that you don't have time to file a criminal complaint, which your deputies confirmed to me only takes about three minutes to prepare. It is really simple, appropriate prosecution reduces drunk driving and less drunk driving means fewer accidents and less injuries on Highway 41, Madera County's "Blood Alley."

Mr. Keitz, please do your job so that our families and friends can live and safely travel to work.

-- Oakhurst attorney David A. Linn,

Linn, who is considering running for the county DA position in 2014, is the husband of Betty Linn, publisher of the Sierra Star.

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