November 2016 Treasure Valley Voters Guide

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Canyon County Prosecutor

Incumbent: Bryan TaylorTerm: Four years2017 salary: $106,717

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    Bryan Taylor

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Biographical Information

What are the three most important issues facing your office?

Do you approve of the steps the Legislature took this session to bolster public defense in Idaho counties? If not, what would the right approach have been?

What should counties and the legal system do to address the wave of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse seen in Idaho and across the U.S.?

What is your philosophy toward crime and the work the prosecutor does?

Have you been convicted of, or pleaded guilty to, a misdemeanor or felony or had a withheld judgment? If so, what, when and where?

Have you or a company you owned filed bankruptcy? If so, when and where?

Education BA - Political Science (Boise State) JD - University of Denver PhD - University of Idaho MA - Theology (Christendom College) to be awarded July 2016
Prior political experience Incumbent Prosecuting Attorney for Canyon County past six years
Civic involvement Nampa & Caldwell Chambers of Commerce St. Paul's Student Catholic Center A Frog in the Pot Jesse Tree of Idaho Idaho Homies Gang Prevention
Years living in Idaho 35 years
Family Wife - Katie Daughter - Lucy
Mental health. More offenders seem to have mental health issues. Local county jails are not equipped to house these individuals, but appropriate “facilities” as contemplated by the state statute simply do not exist. It is a struggle to balance public safety with providing appropriate treatment to those in need. The State needs secured mental health facilities for dangerous individuals. Sentencing reform. The state has enjoyed some of the lowest crime rates in the Country and Canyon County has had historically low crime rates over the past few years. It remains uncertain what effect the proposed sentencing reforms might have on the way that criminal cases are handled and prosecuted – which in turn can have a direct effect on crime rates. Domestic violence. Domestic violence continues to be a difficult subject for many people to talk about, and is an area where more community education is necessary. My Office is exerting more resources than ever in the handling of misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, in hopes of tackling the underlying problems before more tragedies occur. It is important for us to bring awareness to this issue and develop resources to help victims.
As the Prosecutor, I’m glad the issue is being discussed. The entire criminal justice system is overburdened. We all -- prosecutors, law enforcement, courts, defense attorneys -- struggle with limited resources and ever-expanding caseloads. The more the Legislature understands about the criminal justice system, the better all our citizens will be served. As the County Attorney and risk manager, I’m proud of the steps we in Canyon County took back in 2012 to develop an in-house public defender department. It’s been gratifying to see the structure we developed come to fruition. I know the State of Idaho has some excellent attorneys who have been called to the practice of criminal defense. There are a number of public defenders whom I hold in high regard that perform their duties with professionalism and grace.
The heroin and prescription painkiller abuse problem is multi-faceted, and there is no single solution. Part of the issue can be boiled down to basic principles of supply and demand. My primary role as Prosecutor is to assist law enforcement in targeting the “supply” side of that equation, but where the criminal justice system really needs help from the general public is on the “demand” side. For example, I am a proponent of efforts to (1) develop more in-patient treatment programs and other related programs targeting addiction, and (2) provide accessible education regarding the impact of drugs on our communities. It’s not just addicts who suffer; the public safety, local economy, and live-ability of our neighborhoods are on the line.
While I have certainly prosecuted some criminals who have no place in a civil society, those cases are usually the exception. Most crimes aren’t committed by bad people, but by people who have made bad decisions. One of the most important jobs of a prosecutor is to tell the difference between those. To me, the role of the prosecutor is to be a minister of justice. A lot of that work is done behind the scenes, before any charging decision is made. That’s always been one of my favorite parts of the job: working on search warrants, talking with officers about cases, and making just charging decisions. A good prosecutor can make a difference, not just in the lives of individuals, but system-wide. I’m proud to say that we’ve got a lot of good prosecutors working in Canyon County. I guess that my philosophy of prosecution is embodied in a 100-year-old Idaho Supreme Court opinion called State v. Irwin, 9 Idaho 35 (1903). “In that case, the Court set forth the work a prosecutor does, which I summarize as approaching the administration of justice with dedication, courage, and integrity.”