The memo regarded a health issue, namely, pneumonia, pleurisy and their effects upon my general well being and appearance of being exhausted. As most people do, I sought and received very high quality medical treatment from my local physician. As time passes, I have been able to recover from this illness.
Since the memo covered a health problem, it was a legally protected document, and as such, confidential. To see it illegally released in an effort to discredit me is disappointing to say the least. In that regard, some people would like to see me out of the District Attorney’s Office. These people are called “criminals.”
At the time of that letter, it was simply unrealistic for me to take time off. The District Attorney’s Office is so short-staffed that had I taken sick leave, two sexually violent predators would have been released, and I just couldn’t accept that. Therefore, I did ignore the request to take time off and soldier on giving these predators their day in court, their jury trial and returning them to where they belonged: in custody.
Here is the bottom line: I am still a working district attorney. I am one of the very few district attorneys in this state that handles both administrative duties and courtroom cases. Because of the economic situation of our county, this job requires that nothing less be done.
I am personally prosecuting all three pending murder cases committed in our county. I am able to concentrate on these cases because I have a staff that, even though outnumbered two to one by county-paid public defenders, is exceptionally dedicated to our mission. Our job and our mission is to serve and protect the public. I am proud to work with these dedicated individuals and I believe that my staff and victim witness department is second to none.
The reason criminals want to see me out of the District Attorney’s Office is, I believe, due to our record. When a child molester, murderer or violent felon goes to trial, I convict them.
My health is better, and so I will continue to do what I have done for nearly two decades; I will personally prosecute murderers, child molesters and violent felons, assuring that they will remain where they belong behind bars.
Mike Riese is the Del Norte County district attorney.