Stories indexed with the term ‘Justin Altman’

County Prosecutor’s Race: Mackie, Altman

Washtenaw County voters have a choice between a Democrat and a Libertarian in this year’s election for county prosecuting attorney – incumbent Brian Mackie and Justin Altman. There is no Republican in this race.

From left:  Brian Mackie, Justin Altman

Candidates for Washtenaw County prosecuting attorney, from left: incumbent Democrat Brian Mackie and Libertarian Justin Altman. (Photos by the writer.)

At a forum hosted by the League of Women Voters on Oct. 11, the candidates fielded a range of questions – covering basic biographical background, their approach to customer service, and their views on discretion. Discretion came up in several ways – regarding victimless crimes, sentencing, opposition to parole, and the role of successor judges in granting parole.

Altman is a recent law school graduate who passed the state bar exam in 2011. At the forum, he made his Libertarian values at least an implicit part of his response to several questions asked by the league moderator. He raised the specter of law enforcement officials getting special treatment from the prosecutor’s office. He also questioned whether a prosecutor should use the force of law against defendants who’ve committed victimless crimes.

The only example of victimless crimes Altman gave at the forum related to marijuana, and that led Mackie at one point to wonder what crimes Altman was actually talking about. Mackie said his office spent relatively little of its time with those types of offenses, and he characterized the sentencing for such matters as light. Mackie highlighted the child support orders that his office obtains for 500-600 children every year, and his office’s prosecution of serious crimes. He characterized prosecution as serious work “for serious people.”

Both candidates for county prosecutor alluded to the vice presidential debate – between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan – that was taking place on the same evening. Mackie referred to the debate in order to make a point about relative importance: For many individuals – like victims of crime – the office of prosecuting attorney is more important than the office of vice president. Altman’s reference to the vice presidential debate was in the context of thanking the LWV for including him in the debate, noting that the vice presidential debate did not have a third-party voice represented.

Altman and Mackie have also given responses to five questions on the league’s website.

The office of county prosecutor handles all felonies and misdemeanors charged under state law. The office also is responsible for juvenile delinquency proceedings, terminations of parental rights in the case of child abuse and neglect, and mental health commitments. The elected position has a four-year term.

The Oct. 11 candidate forum was held at the studios of Community Television Network, and is available online via CTN’s video-on-demand service. Information on local elections can be found on the Washtenaw County clerk’s elections division website. To see a sample ballot for your precinct, visit the Secretary of State’s website. The website also includes a range of information on national, state and local candidates and ballot issues, and a “build my ballot” feature. [Full Story]