MPR’s Gary Eichten interviews Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County District Attorney, and Susan Gaertner, Ramsey County District Attorney, at the Minnesota State Fair. Topics include current events and major issues of fighting and preventing crime in the Twin Cities and Minnesota. Klobuchar and Gaertner also answer audience questions.
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And good afternoon and welcome back to mid-day on Minnesota Public Radio on Gary Acton today. We're broadcasting live from the Minnesota Public Radio booth at the Minnesota State Fair. Thank you very much. The first day of the fair the weather really is pretty good. It can little cloudy but it's it's very comfortable out here footlongs look like they are as tasty as ever. We hope to find out later and we're happy to report that the folks who run our booth here at the fair have declared today Thrifty day. So they put together a real nice selection of goodies that you can look at and apparently the prices are right. Do I make sure you stop by our booth sometime during the fair because we have a drawing if you fill out one of the slips of paper over here, you might win yourself a new car $20,000 toward a new vehicle courtesy of Luther automobile dealership. So give yourself a chance. Let's face it. There are noBillions of people who come to our booth. So the odds of you winning not too bad really? Well this hour of. Midday. We're going to focus on fighting crime and preventing crime and joining us on stage. We might get back by popular demand for at least the third straight year to a Minnesota. Stop Primetime top crime fighter's, excuse me, Hennepin County attorney. Amy Klobuchar Ramsey County attorney Susan when they were first elected they became the first women to serve his County attorneys in Minnesota's two largest counties. Does Gartner is now serving as a third term. She's a member of the board of directors of a national District Attorneys Association and co-chair of the association's cybercrime subcommittee. Amy Klobuchar is the president of the Minnesota County attorneys Association. She is serving her second term. Now those of you here at the fair if you have a question for the District Attorney's on the criminal justice system, just come on up to the mic like to get your question on the air. Don't be shy.If you're listening on the radio, or the web give us a call or Twin City area number is 651-227-6065 1227 6000 or toll free number is 1 800 +242-282-865-1227 6000 or 1 800-242-2828. I get those of you here at the fairgrounds. Just come on up to the mic Susan Klobuchar. Thanks for coming over today. Appreciate it. My pleasure. I was reading the story was in the Star Tribune this morning about the threatened cheating and the animal Barnes potential animal fraud. Is this fall into your bailiwick? Are you going to be over there this afternoon investigating me to have some undercover work going on right now. I shouldn't be saying that but you know, you're in Ramsey County. And so if this Friday is going on in the cow barns, we will ferret it out some kind of organized actually their nose have nose prints is distinct. Those people's fingerprints. You learn something every Day Blinds green party wants you folks to investigate at the Governor's job that he had that while he was campaigning on the premise that there might be an illegal campaign. Attribution involved. Do you folks automatically once you're asked to investigate something like this plow right into it or how does that work ourselves could be guilty of crimes. That's the way it works. And actually we just got this in from the green party yesterday. It was addressed to Susan and myself and we've looked at it briefly. I'm not sure there's a Hennepin County Connection as much as some other counties involved, but I know that will make sure that someone investigate that were required to do that ripped-from-the-headlines indeed Gary. And as a matter of fact in Ramsey County, we haven't even gotten this complaint yet. And so we'll take a look at it. But you you raise an important issue and that is whenever we have a case that involves election fraud which this might involve we have to investigate the it's on like almost any other area of the law. We have an absolute obligation under the statute to investigate election laws. If we fail to do that, we can lose our jobs just like that. So it's a it's a really somewhat peculiar area. The law that I think we should be taking a look at the fair and impartial investigation. Can you folks fairly and impartially investigate? but that that's part of our job and I think Jobs where you get elected in our job, it's so important that we be fair. We've got in cases involving Republicans involving Democrats and we are fair down the line and we have veteran prosecutors in both our offices that look at these that have no political affiliation and I think that's a very important principle for county attorney's across the state that we look at the law and we look at the facts and we make decisions based on that another story that I guess it's not even in the headlines yet. We were reporting today though that perhaps later next week sometime ass lawsuit may be brought challenging and again, the constitutionality of Minnesota's sexual predator commitment law specifically targeted at the governor's executive order saying that nobody none of these guys are going to get out of out of prison or the hospital. Unless the court order it. Is there any you're mine? Is there any legal basis for such a suit to an interesting question and I'm looking forward to sort of watching that action hopefully from a far back in 1995 and Ramsey County. I personally handled the case of Dennis Linehan and got very very immersed in the whole issue of sexual predators and sexual offenders. And the sexually dangerous persons loss with an issue that I followed now for almost a decade with a great deal of interest and I was surprised to tell you the truth when Governor pawlenty issued that executive order and I'm not surprised that the people who represent the people have been committed under the statute are crying foul now whether they have a basis to do so remains to be seen as sexual psychopath Polo and dangerous. I'm so it's a tool that you use for overall considering we have about 5,000 felony cases a year with a select group of people and sometimes it's very helpful. When as in Susan's case that you was talking about when a prison sentence is coming up but this person can be a danger to themselves or others, but it is predicated on the idea that at some point the way the law is if through medication through some kind of treatment are found to be not a danger to themselves or others that there might be that possibility of release the truth are we have fought a number of releases successfully because we believe that they were still dangerous to themselves and others but it's an interesting legal question and and like Susan I'm not surprised if there's a lawsuit and one thing Gary good about a lawsuit being filed is that maybe these arguments can be made in a courtroom. These are legal issues and I've always found it public safety and politics. Sometimes aren't a real good mix so it'll be good to see this discussion being had in a courtroom one more question on that particular issue ghost and point. It does seem like I'm the one had of course, you don't want dangerous people wandering around on the other hand. It seems like the way the law is written. Yeah, I just kind of a kind of a sham really if you really feel about that really treating anybody and so they're going to be there forever. Is there a different way to deal with this problem which seems a little more forthright. Let's put it that way by the County's perspective of our use of the law has been really really targeted and it really just applies to a very small group of people. The legal standards are very high. I mean from again for my own personal experience. It takes a lot a lot of evidence a lot of bad contact to get someone put away under the civil commitment statutes someone like Dennis Linehan Is What It Takes and so I didn't it in there isn't a sham involved were very upfront about it the lies carefully drafted that if you meet these very strict standards, if you are really that dangerous we're going to put you in a treatment facility we are going to off Four treatments but then the shoes on your foot to say. Yes. I'm well to prove I'm well and in the public safety demands nothing short of that they get out whether our standards and and doctors can make that determination and then we talked about it's made in a court of law. I do think you have to also look back to how it used to be 20 years ago when Minnesota had very liberal release laws for sexual offenders. You look at someone like Donald Blom. He'd committed several very serious rapes time time women up raping them in at the time. The philosophy was given little treatment and let them out and he was put out on the street and went on to kill Katie Poirier since then the legislature has realized that we do need some longer sentences in those type of rape cases and that's been helpful and we have seen some reduction in the number of the commitments that we've had because of the fact that were able to use those longer sentences for some of the serious. To offenders, we now can get for someone who has we had one guy who raped someone in Florida rape someone in California came to Minnesota rape the woman in the Bloomington TGIF parking lot and as he was doing and he said do what I say, I know what I'm doing. I've done this before if that's not an example of a career offender. I don't know what is in that case were able to use a new law get a what is essentially life sentence 30-year sentence against him and I think that with those types of laws, it makes it less of a focus on some of the commitment to a Minnesota County attorneys. Susan gaertner is here. She's the Ramsey County attorney. Amy Klobuchar is with us Hennepin County attorney to biggest counties in Minnesota. They have come by today to talk about some of the issues facing people in the criminal justice system people observing the criminal justice system. If you'd like to join our conversation if you're listening on the phone, give us a call. 51227 6006 51227 6000 are toll free number is one 800-242-2828 Mike your question, please. Thank you. My question is with the new conceal and carry law on you think there's that's going to lead to more citizen's arrest and what are the ramifications of that if that happened? I who wants to start on concealed carry with some people. I am not certain Italy tomorrow a rest of the concern from a law enforcement standpoint that the police and the sheriff's and some county attorney's like ourselves have been talking about is the concern that these guns are as they're out on the streets more as they're locked up in cars can get into the wrong hands. They can be stolen. They can get into kids hands. We've had a number of cases where we want case for a three year old take The gun from a seventeen-year-old pocket and 7 year old Shep shoots a 4 year old who likely wasn't killed. Those are the kind of cases we say so that's why I'm concerned. I think there's going to be some litigation over it already is with the church's synagogues talking about the fact that they want to have the ability to say no guns in their facilities are clearly some changes that need to be made that law our counties as well as a number of cities and counties throughout the state have used some legal theories to say we're going to be able to ban weapons in our facilities are hospitals are libraries are regardless of that law and those may be challenged but I think just to think that this law didn't think about things like the Hennepin County Hospital the medical center. That is one of the busiest emergency rooms in the state where the doctors are treating gunshot wounds everyday. I wear the nurses and doctors are very concerned about that kind of thing. I'd kind of like to listen to them. On a local level instead of what some of the lobbyists were saying over at the legislature and they are telling us we don't want to have guns in a hospital. They're telling that to our County Commissioners. And so I think they'll be more litigation and hopefully some changes to that law in Ramsey County so far we haven't had nearly the permit applications that we expected. And so I think it'll be interesting to see really what happens with this law hasn't really changed the landscape. We're obviously concerned about gun violence. It's a been a very important priority in my office for years now and it'll be interesting to see if in fact more guns on the streets more permits that kind of thing translates into increased violence. What I think is good about the law. I mean, there's a lot about the law that wasn't carefully crafted that's raised more questions that advanced than its answered but a good piece of the law is the reporting requirement. The legislature is going to get a report every year that taught that gets it important. Issues like who's getting these permits? Are they committing any further crimes that kind of thing so we'll have some data and I think Dad will be good one piece of it. That is a little disturbing though. I'll tell you it is what it's kind of done to work culture. I was at a bat mitzvah in Minneapolis on Sunday at Temple Israel, which is a beautiful facility on to walk up those Stone steps to this beautiful house of worship and see this big sign that says guns not allowed here is very discordant and it makes me kind of wonder what we're doing here. Information which season was referring to one thing that you like to see is the serial numbers on the guns. We can track them that way and under the law or not allowed to keep that which I think there's a number of changes that can be made that I think sometimes a debate could focus on all the people getting permits are going to commit crimes. I don't think that's necessarily going to be the case. I think law enforcement concern is just that they're going to get in the wrong hands and that also has Susan noted there's going to be a cultural shift and in our kids think about guns and how we all do in our culture was going to say because the argument you hear the other side of this is if a person is, you know, good law-abiding citizen and not a criminal of any sort and they go through the process they get their permit. Why shouldn't they be allowed to carry their weapon at the State Fair wherever they're going. I mean, they're not going to go run around and shoot people. Morgan's you have out there the more situations where guns are present the more likely it is that someone's going to get hurt. I mean we've all seen statistics about how he have a gun in your home the chances of you being the victim of a shooting are greater than far greater than you using that gun successfully in self-defense. So it's just it's just an issue of the more they're out there even sitting in your car in a parking lot. You could get stolen just like Amy said, I mean it's it's a concern and I think we have to watch it. I remember when Ann Richards was governor of Texas. This is her story. Myself get mad get mad at her but I thought it was funny. She said they came to her and said you got to sign this bill because it's going to be so great for women that can protect themselves by carrying these guns around they can put the gun in the person. She looked at the obvious and set I'm sorry, but have you ever seen inside a Texas woman's purse you think she's going to be able to get that gun out? I don't think so. So I just think that people have to keep this in perspective. When they use that gun and they should think about this, could easily be used against them and again our Focus out of our office and we'll all the county attorney's cross. The state has been to keep guns out of the hands of criminals keep guns out of the hands of kids enforce those laws. We've had a major emphasis on enforcing a felon in possession of a gun. If you're committed convicted of a serious crime and your phone down there with a gun five-year mandatory minimum sentence and every year that's our first goal is to enforce that law and work with the US attorney's office on it. And I think it's made some Headway and we're going to continue to do that. This is midday. We're broadcasting live today from the Minnesota State Fair first day of the fair. We're at the booth the Minnesota Public Radio Blues located near the corner of Judson and Nelson are I guess this hour Hennepin County attorney Amy Klobuchar Ramsey County attorney Susan gaertner. They're here to take your questions on crime related issues. If you have one of those of you here in the audience, come on up to the mic if you're listening on the radio. Call 651-227-6000 or 1 800-242-2828. Alex your question, please. In reference to these a fraudulent going out of business sales that go around the state and it'll auction that come to hotels they have items confiscated from US Customs or Lindsay going out of business sales for jewelry. Oriental rug I contacted on many occasions the Attorney General's office and they find me mention that this is more related to the Hennepin County Attorney's Office and that you to Budget car and a short up Staffing. It's not on the list of their priorities to operate it all to investigate these matters. Is this something that falls into the lap of the Hennepin County attorney and what can we do about it? Thank you so much. Amy Klobuchar ultimately Falls in my lap. This is something I first want to point out. I always tell high school kids has have you seen that show Law & Order, you know how in the first half of the show the police investigate the crime? The second half the prosecutors bring the cases for we're not on the 1st at 4 in the second half of the show. So we can't really go out there and try to drum up business nor do we want two cases come to us from law enforcement. And when I get back to the office, I will check to see if we received some of the cases that you've described. I know that I have not been discussing that with our White Collar team. That's where they would come. I haven't heard about those cases and some of that I was speaking of the Attorney. General's office could be a regulatory matter with how you price things and and what's going on. So we'll also contact them and you can call her officer. I'll give you the number. Give me about 2 days at 612-348-5550 and ask for me and hopefully someone will tell you what I found out about these types of cases. I wanted to talk more Broadway though about white collar crime in general. This is been a growing area of business for local Prosecutors Office, especially ours. I've heard of it as the economy when you got problems in the economy people want to keep their standard. Living high and they're going to do that if that means stealing or not. Some of it is a fact that less sophisticated crooks are using sophisticated means to commit crimes. They used to use a crowbar now, they use the computer and part of it is the US attorney's office has been working with our office and we're doing some cases jointly or taking them on themselves and I'm really proud of the work. Our office is done with 14 + 14 for these complicated as jury trials White Collar cases for the past year things like tax evasion with the Northwest Airlines Pilots judge and former Chad amundson and took $400,000 from a mentally retarded woman are those are the kinds of cases that we're getting and they take more sophisticated police to work on him as well as prosecutors and I just think you're going to see more and more local prosecutors doing that case in that means training and that means resources, but if we're going to have a good system of justice, we have to have one that applies to the rich and powerful people that can steal from businesses. Can use business means to steal as it should apply to people steal cars out on the street white collar crime a big issue in Ramsey County is well there their they're tougher cases. They're tougher cases to investigate. They're tougher cases to prosecute they take a lot of resources. But by the same token we need to and we do prioritize them Crooks such as Carl bushmaker who we charge recently with stealing almost $200,000 from various elderly people who are incapacitated can't handle their own finances. I mean if she if he's going to get away with it, then the whole system is in trouble. So we really do need to emphasize White Collar Cooks. I think it was Teddy Roosevelt and I can't say the the quote exactly but it's one of my favourites anybody can rob a train but you give him an education he can steal the whole damn train and it's so I mean, that's We need to focus on his people have the abilities to do something productive in society. But instead they use their Wiles and their education their training to steal from people and we need to pay attention to that. We do it would seem our again as an outsider would seem like some successful prosecution in some of these areas would have maybe more of a deterrent effect and then it would with Street crime only insofar as most so-called white-collar criminals aren't eager to go off to the hoosegow. Am I right about that seven convictions in all seven pilot cases were put up in college lounges all across the country because there's been a number of other prosecution's in other states, but not ones that resulted in incarceration. Like I'm an argument there was to know they took out Post Office boxes in Florida and Texas and had million dollar houses here in the Twin Cities. And unless they're the size of Stuart Little I don't think they lived in those. Post Office boxes they were living here in their homes and they did it. Deliberately. I and its together stole over $500,000 for Minnesota taxpayers. And when we first brought that case maybe it was a mistake and you know, they never say that about a drug dealer or not a thief but they tend to want to give white-collar offenders because they have jobs that are respected because they're known in the community. I think the people tend to want to give them a break and tend to feel more sorry for them because of the Fall From Grace. But again, if you don't enforce those cases if you don't go and of course a lot down the line you're going to have a system of justice that no one's ever going to believe in Christian your question, please Predict my call by the way. I wanted to comment that I am glad you are you on the dressing the white collar crime issue. I also want to applaud you for addressing the truancy issue is that I really Steve think that this is really really want to address the growing crime in our society. We have to look at truancy. That is really a that's that's that's so important. So thank you. Amy has actually done a lot with it too. I think both of our offices. I don't think you find many major big city DA's for truancy is one of the top priorities and end for both of us it is. I'll have her talk about what she's done. But in our case we have work to have our lawyers actually started a team that works on this and go to the school's phone. Early intervention with giving lectures Wheaton videos with targets help. We put some videos out there with kids in them talking about what's happening and then we sped up the court process because I think I was on NPR once about this a few years ago and someone called in and said the sound so Draconian that you're trying to get these making these kids go to school and that you can take their driver's license away. If they don't I love taking my daughter out of school. She said I you know, I go to concerts I go to plays with her and I finally said let's get real. These kids are not at the Guthrie that is not where they are where they're missing school. And if we turn our backs on them in the community and say we don't care it's okay. If you don't go to school, we are basically turning our backs on their lives and saying you don't matter and you don't matter like my own kids. It doesn't matter to me that you're not in school. And what we've been doing is working with the school to make sure that they're taking attendance believe it or not. There was no it's happening early intervention and then speeding up the court process. It's not a crime, but they can be shaken up a bit by having. Driver's license taken away sentence to serve those kinds of things. Are you have been working on this for quite some oil is it made any difference? I mean it it's it still seems like getting kids to go to school is a big problem. It is a problem, but we have made a substantial dent in the problem in particularly in st. Paul. This is our ninth school year of our truancy Intervention Program. We've had about 15,000 kids go through the program of those kids 75% have improved their School attendance, but we had some other real significant indications that were making a difference and that is the graduation rates in the Saint Paul school district have improved fairly dramatically over the last five years and the school administrators in St. Paul will tell you that a big part of that success is the truancy Intervention Program of the Ramsey County Attorney's Office and it you know, that kind of partnership really can make a difference. I think it's been very important to In the message that the same office that prosecutes the drive-by shooting that happened down the street is going to sit you down and say, you know, it's the law. Your child has to be in school and we care the prosecutor's office cares. We think the approach has made a big difference that has a no self-defense law in what does everybody need guns for Well, I think we've talked a little bit about the gun issue before but there's no nothing to ban people from having guns in Minnesota people use guns for hunting for sports and there's nothing wrong with that as an extension of it. Now, the legislature has found I would say actually had before that you could carry guns. When you go out on any place you want to go unless it's band and that always has been the case but what this law did was shift the burden that used to be that the local police chief would make a decision based on his own views of public safety risk about whether or not someone could have a gun and now it's more of an assumption that you can have a concealed carry permit unless you don't meet certain requirements. So it's made it easier to get those permit that we talked about earlier about how there's good arguments that the gun is more likely to be used against you if you have it but never the last the law of this state is that you can carry these guns out. Is the biggest single crime problem that each of you face so Susan Gordon Ramsay comedy? We had to pick one one. It depends on what you mean big obviously gang violence is an issue in every large town is a town because I'm from Saint Paul and it's just a big small town in every city major city gang violence is a problem and it tends to get a lot of headlines white collar crime is as we talked about before a huge issue for my office because we do want to do a good job in that area drunk and driving now multiple DWIs is an issue we're very concerned about but I guess I would have to say now I've been a prosecutor almost 20 years and I've seen crime Trends come and go but domestic violence, I think remains one of the issues that I'm most concerned about. It's very prevalent and as much education and resources that we put into the issue it still goes on. I'm afraid every day. in the homes across our community and on the one hand the numbers might not but does that mean that they're still as much of it or does it mean that we've got a culture now where it's acceptable to pick up the phone and call for help. There are resources out there for people who are escaping violent homes. Maybe that's why the numbers haven't really gone down. It's because we're getting at more of those harmful situation. It's hard to know a single crime problem in Hennepin County homicides are related to drugs drug sales drug sales gone bad things like that a major issue, but when I look at it more as a bigger picture and I've talked about the white collar, so I won't focus and that's what it look who's bigger picture. My concern is more the juveniles and what we need to do to make sure that they're not getting involved in crime when we looked at our numbers this year. We continue on like the rest of the country to be fairly stable in Ark Great. We took a big dip down and the latitude for urban areas as well in crime, but right now we're kind of steady but the kids getting involved in crime. We had an increase in juveniles with guns in our office this year that kind of cases were saying and that's what I see is a long-term concern is kids who aren't graduating who are getting involved in crime and we need to think it's a community a better ways to work with these kids because otherwise we're going to be paying for it on the other end, you know, Gary, I think the real answer to what is the most important crime issue is the crime that happened to you. I remember not too long ago being at a National Night Out experience going from neighborhood to neighborhood. And you know, I expected to be asked questions about the latest homicide or this and that and of course everyone wanted to talk about the bikes that have been stolen out of their garage or from the Corner Drug store recently. So, it's really it just depends on what's impacting you and your Community and that's why we try to focus on individual communities and what their crime problems are a lot of those livability crimes do involve kids and we've got this community prosecution where we have lawyers assigned to different neighborhoods to Bloomington or Brooklyn Park Brooklyn Center so that they handle that geographic area and they get to know the kids in the neighborhood at the schools. They get to know what the problems are and that kind of livability crime Focus helps with a violent crime as well. Cuz if you can get that under control, then you see a decrease in violent crime cuz people feel better about their Community. They're out walking on the streets are putting up new buildings are putting painting their houses and you're going to see a decrease in violent crime and that's a lot of what's been going on in the metropolitan area in the last few years latest shooting in the Jordan neighborhood. We haven't up doing over the course of a week or so a program with city council Minneapolis city council member Don Samuels Minneapolis Police Chief. Robert Olson, Minneapolis, mayor RT Rybak about different things but in each program the issue of the revolving-door came up and all three expressed great concern. The judges are you know, if the police take the bad guys off the street they go downtown their back on the street later that day in the cycle goes on and on and on and on and all three were wondering what the heck is going on. Why is this occurring? Is this a big problem for you? Folks King specifically in the context of Jordan and may be dealing in particular with the summit university area and Saint Paul the Frog time area of st. Paul on the positive side. We have neighbors. We have black groups that are black clubs and Community groups that are in Intensely interested in making a difference in their community and that has a lot of value but they express the same concern that you've talked about in terms of Jordan is people being out on the street, but you know what to point fingers at the judges. I don't necessarily think is particularly productive because the judges have sentencing guidelines that they need to comply with laws that the legislators create an obvious issue of prison overcrowding and what I what I wished had happened during this debate about a we going to raise taxes or we can hold the line on this and that is to talk a little bit about the impact on the criminal justice system of not generating tax revenue, cuz the fact is we have a finite amount of prison space we have to make judgments about what we do with that prison space and when you're living in a neighborhood in someone's dealing drugs on your corner, you want that person in prison for forever. But whose place are they going to take in that prison system that and I agree with much of Susan said, but I do We do need to have individual accountability for judges and part of that is being able to know what happened in one of our concerns right now for the county attorney's Association. Is there some movement to get rid of transcripts from plea agreements and from sentencings and we think there should be easy accessibility of needed accessibility to those transcripts that it makes a difference in the system if people have easy accessibility to what's going on and one of the things we've also started this year, it's going to start September 1st. Very soon is ability of neighborhood groups to submit income impact statements in cases about what's happening in their neighborhood how gun crime or how drugs are affecting their neighborhood so we can bring them in the can do this over or web. It's www. Hennepin. Attorney. Org and they can we take our lawyers can bring them into court with them. So the judges get a sense so often it's just our prosecutor and the defendant in the defendant's lawyer and they get a sense of what this crying means in a particular neighborhood. Peter at your question, please. Interested in each of the county attorney's perspective on the value of restorative justice initiatives in their neighborhoods on the national program Justice talking which we broadcast here couple weeks ago on this subject. Peters question short restorative justice is a concept that it's fairly hard to Define until use a very concrete example that Peter suggested we have been using Neighborhood Impact statements in particularly drug cases now for a number of years and that a way of expressing to the court how the court can restore the community by doing something about the crime and the impact it had on the community. We think a drug cases is victimless. In fact, they're not so do it using his victim impact statements like we've been doing for the last few years. Is part of a restorative justice effort and there are many many examples of restorative justice efforts and Ramsey County that are going on and are very very valuable. One of my concerns though. It is resources and I made that real clear in the national public radio show. It's very very time-intensive to get out of the traditional justice system and handle things in a different way. It has value but we can't do it alone. I recently actually preached the sermon in church on Sunday morning. I and in my community about restorative justice and I I told the congregation we need you. We need volunteers. We need the faith community to step up to the plate and help with these restorative justice effort because the demands on the criminal justice system or so great again, we can't do it alone. We've had some good results with it with some of our lower-level crimes lower-level felony crimes where the neighborhoods of individually started groups of people wear send a case to them and they decide with the Punisher. Should be interpret all of our brochures into Spanish so we can give them to other people in the neighborhood that don't know English things like that. And I think that it's been successful. They've got some good success rates and I hope it continues. We have a community Court in Hennepin County headed up by judge Hopper and he uses that a lot refers these cases to them and that's part of our community prosecution after so I take it can be very helpful in finding individual Solutions, maybe not in a fixing the fence in the house that you destroyed lot of people may not want that person to come back but in a more Global way to look at a neighborhood and have them go do sentence to serve back in that neighborhood to fix it. And we found it to be a good thing. We're talking of the shower with the Ramsey County attorney Susan gaertner Hennepin County attorney Amy Klobuchar broadcasting live today from the Minnesota State Fair first day of the fair and if you are coming out to the fair, make sure you stop by our public radio Booth near the corner of Judson and Nelson right across from the High diving board those of you who are Milling about out here in our audience. Make sure you sign up when yourself a new car. Somebody will win $20,000 toward a new vehicle courtesy of Luther automobile dealers as well. Give yourself a chance, and maybe he'll give me a ride, by the way. We're not a lot of time left. But if you have a question for the county attorney's come on up and come on up to the my care. If you're listening on the radio. Give us a call 651-227-6000 or 1 800-242-2828. County judges but I'm sure it probably applies to other counties as well are allowed to advocate so far away from the sentencing guidelines for many of the violent crimes for which people are arrested for in the inner-city neighborhoods. Thank you. This is one of our neighborhood activist here that's helping us with court watch and other things to make sure that we are monitoring. The judge is the way the law works is it judges can depart downward from the sentencing guidelines, but they have to have reasons to do that. I'm one of the reasons is a men ability to probation which is a very broad reason and it's used a lot over our objection. I do think that as soon as I mentioned before that's one thing that we need to look at and make sure we hold judges accountable but there is other things as well in terms of making sure we have enough police officers out on the streets to me. That's a way to prevent crime instead of looking at this end of the system to make sure that they're out there because that prevents so many crimes because people just don't have the opportunity to come. Get them working with the youth other thing. So it's a combination of solutions. I don't think you can just look at one thing departing from the guidelines area. We've been watching that very closely. I think that there's some resistance to the notion that someone who commits a drug offense should go to prison and so we're keeping an eye on that but each case doesn't need to be treated differently and I haven't seen a great pattern of Departures by the judges in Ramsey County and but I think about accountability is important, I think any opportunity the community has to pay attention to what the judges are doing to do the community impact statements maybe to come and watch I can only make them do a better job in general are too many of my relatively low-level people charged and convicted of relatively level drug offenses limited prison space we have Is in our state to go to prison you pretty much have to be feeling you have to have a you know, a lot of drugs you might go to the workhouse. Our laws are the different than some other states certainly different than the federal guidelines that you heard about where people can go for lengthy lengthy prison sentences. I'm so I don't see that as much of an issue as making sure we have the resources for treatment. The best thing we can do is to keep them out of there in the first place are drug court is very much focused. Treatment Hennepin County lot of people coming in looking at it from other places. Second thing is a number these low-level offenders can have mental health problems. We're developing a mental health court in Hennepin County that I'm really excited about where we look at some of these low-level offenders and say okay if we can keep them on their meds, bye-bye, you know, that's not expensive for them cuz they don't want to go to jail and if we can keep them on their meds make him check in every day to take their medication, but that's going to be a lot cheaper than keeping them in and out of jail. So we're looking at those kinds of things as well and again accountability to make sure The results what the judges are doing what our office is doing is known to the public. I would I would agree that it's the problem is not a lot of low-level offenders getting into prison. In fact that you talk to the community and their concern is exactly the opposite that what the system calls low-level offenders really are damaging the fabric of their community and should be going to prison and they're not so I think the frustration more clothes in that direction the kinds of people that go to prison is Amy touch. Are the real serious offenders. For example, we seen a big increase in the amount of people going away for methamphetamine labs. And of course, they are very very dangerous Enterprises that can put communities and for Julie Children at Risk when they're when they're cooking up methamphetamine gaertner. I think it's fair to say you raised a few eyebrows the other day. I wrote a column in the Blue Star Tribune suggesting. It's time to take a look at enhanced penalties for people who are Charged with the homicide when children are the victims and of course there were two tragic cases in Ramsey County this summer involving mother's children of work out and see what kind of response did you get to that? Well raising eyebrows Gary, that's what I do and I do it. Well if you got to have some fun now and then but there was nothing fun, of course about dealing with the issue of the children in our community and I do think that we should talk about the sentences that should be given for people who kill very very young children and obviously that came up because of the two recent homicides in Ramsey County and I think again it's religion of it to raise the question. What are our society's values there's all kinds of Provisions in the law that put enhance penalties on certain kinds of murders, like for example drive by shooting we made a decision as a side. Play a few years back. That gang violence was a serious issue. And so we're going to have enhance penalties. If you commit an intentional crime in the murder in the course of a drive-by shooting all I'm saying is should we think about if you kill a two-year-old if you kill a four year old who has absolutely no way to defend themselves. No way to protect themselves. Maybe that's a top-notch crime that deserves top-notch penalty. Is there enough protections built into the law so that if for example a mother is charged convicted with killing their child that you know, if there is a mental problem there that that what time I'll be recognized Discussion of this issue has been very narrow. And that is what should be the penalty if after the court process happens after the person raises all the defenses they're entitled to do if we prove our case Beyond a reasonable doubt if and only if we get to that point, what should be the penalty and that's the only question I'm raising. I'm not suggesting at this point that we change our standards for who is convicted that we change our standards for who's mentally ill. I'm not suggesting any of that. I'm just looking to the very end of the process and saying is the penalty enough. We've had a few cases where people have killed children available for the ones that we feel deserved it and been able to get lengthy sentences 50 years against a guy that had a history of child abuse and then threw a child against the wall and kill this little baby and I found those existing laws to be pretty good that we were able to use we've had one or two where they were found not guilty by reason of insanity, and I guess my Your concern from some of those cases and I don't want to go in the faxes of Susan's case. But when you look at the one mother who had this was clearly under the stress of this baby that she had this feeding schedule was doing is how you get those people help so it doesn't go there and then we'll the first thing I thought of just from a Minnesota basis as an organization called Pacer for parents of children with disabilities and when my daughter was born and she's great now, but she couldn't swallow and we went through that feeding schedule for a year-and-a-half with tubes and things like that and it is unless you have a tremendous support of a family. It is a very difficult thing and I have so much respect for these parents that go through this in terms of the patients and the love and the perseverance and so to look at that is a solution of getting help for people when they're in this and realizing how difficult it is. I think is one approach that we need to take as a society when we see those cases road rage. Now or are the laws sufficiently well have a lot of sufficient to deal with serious cases of road rage where we just charge to people with criminal vehicular homicide. They were going down the road swerving into each other playing a game of chicken is one person said throwing screwdrivers out the window one passenger died. They both got charged. I think those existing laws we've been able to charge him with criminal vehicular homicide. We just had the boat rage case and that one we found was a tragic accident and I'll never forget one of your colleagues a reporter sang to me, but for two months, we've been saying it's boat rage. What are we going to say tonight? And I forgot you could still take a boat ride. It just wasn't, site about right and I think that's so much about important part of what Susan I doing. Our jobs is to kind of filter through I want an immediate reaction is to a crime and make sure that in the end the facts come out and that were charging it the right way. Road rage it isn't that a big issue in Ramsey County to tell you the truth and I'm I'm kind of surprised by that I carried out so it's but small town with a big that I have to go. I don't know maybe it's Minneapolis traffic vs. St. Paul traffic. I'm not sure but we've had a few cases but I agree with Amy that I think the laws are adequate road rage is really not unique in that from a criminal justice perspective in the sense that if you get mad at someone and try to hurt them it's a crime it always has been whether you're in a car in a boat and you know, what a bar on the street in the park whatever so we found the law of adequate and I think it's it's almost more social phenomenon, then it is necessary legal phenomenon my quick question before we wrap up, please. Mike to just comment on the impact that faith-based programs like Minnesota Teen Challenge are having an offender's that have life controlling addictions and Edna the impact to the community wants these guys get squared away. Thank you. A lot of people refer their out of our drug court and we've seen some really good results as we have from other programs that aren't faith-based, but I think there's clearly room for that and we've been pleased with some of the results that we've seen with younger people that have gotten out of their drug addiction. I from that program as well as others in Ramsey County that just recently got a Federal grant to do some very expensive faith-based work with the Saint Paul Area Council of churches and they're going to be looking obviously a juvenile offenders and I helping them out as really across-the-board assisting victims in assisting people were impacted by crime and it's a very exciting How can I tell you my favorite event at the State Fair? Jerk my favorite event at the state fair is the ladies lead. So I'm recommending that everyone go see it. This is where women knit sweaters from a will their shape for themselves and their sheep in matching colors. And then they go around the circle and walk around with their sheep. And then there's an award-winning so I don't know what day it is, but I've seen it and it's quite stupendous so I highly recommend it to your listeners Garrett. What are you going to say? And I just can't I just can't top that. I I'm just going to rush right there. I have to say that's just cuz that sounds made me want to ask each of you before before we quit here and we want unfortunately got a minute or so, but both of you have to deal with the Fairly sorted side of life. How do you keep yourself from getting cynical jaded? I just you know how people are terrible. Well for me to say me, it's just that perspective I have with my family and when the day that we lost that Kirby Puckett case which we knew was difficult going into it was with the victim was very upset or lawyer did a great job. All this Media stuff. I got home. I said to my husband we're having dinner with my eight year old daughter and I said, I just can't believe this day this week. I start actually feel sorry for myself for a few minutes at at this point. My daughter says mom, we don't have time to hear about your job tonight. This is a very important night. This is a night. We were going to have the family discussion of whether I have one hamster or two and throw it out that kind of put things in perspective and I think it helps me with my job as well as seeing the courage of the victims that come into a room full of strangers in the Jury Room. Tell their stories add to see these kids that have to go through what they did and it really puts things at our jobs are not that hard when you see what they go through. Well, I have two Echo family like Amy said a faith and I run quite a bit and I die just to have to say on Saturday. I ran a race and I took third play. In my age group in which I was very excited about. I have a white ribbon World monster. Those are you and you have the other two arrested in here. We're out of time. But thank you so much for coming back and we'll get you back next year. All right, thank you so much for Hennepin County attorney. Amy Klobuchar joining us on this first day of the Minnesota State Fair like to thank all of you who been in our audience today, and if you have not stopped by yet not had a chance to make sure you come by our booth Minnesota Public Radio. Booth at the state fair near the corner of Johnson and Nelson. That's it for our mid-day program today tomorrow. We're going to talk with the education commissioner, and I hope you can tune in. Alright, thank you Gary. It's a minute before 1 now. Don't forget. It's Thrifty Thursday at the NPR booth at the fair with some special Bargains to be had on Minnesota Public Radio merchandise, 1 week from today join Lord of Benson and that yours truly Steven John for a special demonstration of Minnesota public radio's new interactive journalism state-owned talk of a nation that is coming up next year on 91.1 k n o w Minneapolis St. Paul mostly cloudy skies 77° in the Twin Cities not nearly as sticky. In fact the most an opposite kind of a day today with some clouds walking out that blazing sun seasonable temperature right around 82 degrees this afternoon in the Twin Cities clear skies tonight with lows in the upper 50s should be sunny tomorrow with a high Route 82 in the weekend partly cloudy with highs in the mid-80s both Saturday and Sunday 77° now in the Twin Cities, it's coming up on one.