Flanked by supporters, and pledging to “provide justice for all,” longtime Yolo County Deputy Public Defender Dean Johansson formally announced Thursday morning that he is running for Yolo County District Attorney against three-time incumbent Jeff Reisig. This will mark Mr. Reisig’s first electoral challenge since he was elected in 2006 against fellow Deputy DA Pat Lenzi by a 53-47 margin.
Mr. Johansson pulled no punches on Thursday. He said, “The US leads the world in incarceration and Yolo County leads the State of California in incarceration.”
He called this “the county of incarceration” and said “countless children and families pay the price.”
Mr. Johansson blamed this on “the oppressive backward policies of the Yolo District Attorney.
“The DA has his hands on the spigot. He decides which cases to file and has discretion to implement laws,” he continued. “He has used that discretion to file cases that should not have been filed, charge people that should not have been charged, and to overcharge cases.”
Here is the full text of Dean Johansson’s comments…
Good Morning. My name is Dean Johansson and I’m here today to announce my candidacy for Yolo County District Attorney. But this is not about “me,” it’s about “we.” This is a community effort.
More appropriately, I’m here to announce a movement. This is a movement that is tired of seeing tax dollars wasted on mass incarceration while schools are leveled. I watched while Willow Spring Elementary at Gibson and 113 was bulldozed and is now a vacant lot, while a few blocks away a large addition was recently built on juvenile hall. End the school-to-prison pipeline.
In the past 20 years, 22 prisons have been built while only one new University of California campus has been built. Schools not prisons.
The US leads the word in incarceration and Yolo County leads the State of California in incarceration. Out of 58 counties, Yolo is one of the top 6 counties for per capita prison population. It is number one for jury trials. This is the county of incarceration and countless children and families pay the price.
Why, because of the oppressive backward policies of the Yolo District Attorney. The DA has his hands on the spigot. He decides which cases to file and has discretion to implement laws. He has used that discretion to file cases that should not have been filed, charge people that should not have been charged, and to overcharge cases.
While the people of Yolo have consistently voted in favor of progress, the Yolo DA consistently worked against it. Proposition 36 (reformed the three strikes law), 74% of Yolo County voted in favor but the DA remained neutral; Proposition 47 (reduced nonviolent offenses), 61 % voted in favor while the DA opposed; Proposition 57 (increased Parole Chances), 68% of Yolo voted in favor while the DA opposed; and Proposition 64 (legalized adult use of marijuana), 60% voted in favor while the DA opposed.
And this is a movement that is tired of seeing a system that has systematically picked on poor people, primarily black and brown people. This is a movement that is loudly telling government what it wants, and what it wants is criminal justice reform in ways that require transformational reform within the Yolo County District Attorney’s office.
This is a movement that says that we are not just the voters but we are the bosses that pay the taxes. That fund the salaries of the county workers and we have every right to expect that we will get transformational change in criminal justice and in this district attorney’s office.
It’s not me, it’s we. Then it goes to transition. If you or anyone you know shares these values, shares this desire for things to get better, for people to not be divided, for society to unite and bring things together.
If you believe it’s time for a humane legal system that looks to end crime by addressing the root of the problem.
If you believe it’s time to end mass incarceration, believe it is time to end the death penalty, if you believe it’s time to stop making prisoners of poor people by using cash bail. If you are sick and tired of government stealing our futures and the futures of our children, and if you have no intention of helping Trump’s immigration agenda, then join with me.
So how are we going to do that? Well I’ll tell you how we are going to do that – it starts with an election on June 5.
—David M. Greenwald reporting