As Madera County District Attorney David Linn makes his bid for re-election, he takes a moment to step out of the embroiled controversy with county supervisors and address the Sierra Oakhurst Kiwanis Club members, to highlight accomplishments during his current term, as well as, outlining his goals should he be re-elected to the office.
One of Linn’s first goals, after taking office three and a half years ago, was to staff a mountain area DA’s office. That has happened and the office is staffed with one and a half full time investigators and a deputy district attorney who is there two days a week.
“A second program that I campaigned on, which I thought was really important for the mountains, was trying to reduce the number of fires,” Linn said.
Toward that goal he started a juvenile arsonist program to “help youth offenders change behaviors and stay out of trouble.”
“My philosophy was, excuse the pun, I don’t want to burn these kids, I want to retrain them so they don’t become serial fire starters.”
The first four students who graduated from the program went back to their schools and talked about “why you don’t want to start fires,” he said.
The program, developed by Linn and Cornerstone Counseling, has become a pilot program for 17 other counties in California.
Establishment of an agricultural crimes and water tracker task force met another of Linn’s goals. It became the subject for a national magazine article about individuals stealing water from municipal irrigation districts.
The DA’s office won one trial involving water theft and is in the midst of getting resolution on another case involving the largest land owner in Madera County and restitution of around $100,000, he said.
“We have had very little water theft since I brought those charges,” Linn noted.
Transparency in the DA’s office is accomplished through communication, Linn said. “You may have noticed I was very public in releasing press releases. I believe that the people need to know, and particularly the bad guys need to know, we’re serious about crime in Madera County. . .We want to get the word out. You commit a crime in Madera County, you’re going to be fully prosecuted.”
“That policy has worked great because our percentage numbers of commitments to state prison is up by 25 percent,” he said.
Linn, a 40-year resident of Eastern Madera County, served as a commander in the U. S. Naval Reserve, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in forestry at Purdue University and his MBA from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He received his Juris Doctor from Pepperdine School of Law.
He has 40 years of experience as an attorney and courtroom litigator, has been published in six law journals including the Federal Reporter and is admitted to practice law before the United States Supreme Court.
His goals are to fight and eliminate the county drug problem and end elder and child abuse. He wants to “continue to improve [a] working relationship with the sheriff’s department, Madera police and the CHP.”