Meet the Candidates – Marco Serna: Offering A Progressive Approach
Editors Note: This is the second installment of a three part series to introduce voters to our District Attorney candidates. Each candidate has been provided the opportunity to submit an introductory statement and explain why they have chosen to run for DA.
I am a native son of Northern New Mexico, with the benefit of being raised in both Santa Fe and the Española Valley. As a lifelong democrat I am grateful to have been raised with core democratic values of giving back to my community, helping people in need, upholding our laws, and honoring our freedom and those who have fought for it. I distinguish myself from my opponents with my new progressive approach in how I will direct this office. Primarily, I intend to combat crime and encourage treatment and reform. I am going to be smart on crime, not just tough on crime. Furthermore, I have direct experience supervising attorneys at all levels of criminal prosecution, both inside of the courtroom and out. I have prosecuted hundreds of cases in the courtroom including homicides, violent felonies, domestic violence offenses, crimes against children, and drug trafficking. As a prosecutor I have always worked side-by-side with law enforcement as we collaborate to ensure the most accurate evidence is presented at trial, and that all policies and procedures are adhered to.
I understand the issues facing our very unique and diverse cultures, and will work with the community to ensure all voices are heard and protected. Importantly, we need to educate our youth. I want to set an example for them, inspire them, keep them safe, and remind them that everything is possible when you come from a community as unified as ours. I want to empower our community with legal knowledge: in my opinion one of the best defenses to crime is a unified, educated community.
The main issue we face in our community is drug abuse, and it splinters us at our core. In addition, cases involving DWI have been an issue for as long as I can remember. There is one common denominator between the two: ADDICTION. We need to begin our focus on appropriate and effective treatment—only when we uproot the cause of the abuse will we truly see positive change. I assure you I will strive to enforce the law with a fair, tough, and compassionate approach.
I also intend to change current policies on police involved shootings. I will team up with state agencies to create an independent investigative body, along with a special prosecutor to review all of the evidence in an officer involved shooting. If it is determined the shooting is unjustified, and criminal action is necessary, a preliminary hearing should take place before a District Court Judge. This provides transparency to the public, and ensures each individual’s rights are protected.
Within the first 100 days as DA, I will implement an inter‑office training program for new prosecutors. The majority of DWI cases are handled in magistrate court, and this training program will give the new prosecutors the tools and experience they need to try these cases effectively despite what they are going up against on the defense side. There is no such program currently in the office. I will also place supervising attorneys in both magistrate and district courts with limited plea agreement authority, which is not currently in place. This will not only allow the office to help with docket control, but more importantly, new prosecutors will have an experienced attorney providing in court training when it comes to plea negotiation and case evaluation. All prosecutors in the office will go on ride along with one of our local police agencies. They will gain a better perspective of what our brothers and sisters in blue do on a daily basis as the first responders.
In addition, I will provide legal training and updates for local law enforcement, and will hire a grant writer to find monies available to help provide more resources for the office as well as local non-profit treatment facilities. My sentencing policy for non-violent drug offenses will encourage treatment rather than incarceration, as well as promote a diversion program for misdemeanor domestic violence offenses, centered around counseling for the abuser and the victim, to stop the violence before it escalates.
Being passionate about issues is not enough to make it a reality, however, I will work tirelessly to provide justice and fairness to all parties involved in the criminal justice system. To accomplish this, I need and respectfully ask for you vote and support June 7.