You Can Quote Me - August 12, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

You Can Quote Me - August 12, 2012

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>> I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. THIS WEEK WE CONTINUE OUR DEBATE FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. TWO DEMOCRATS ARE RUNNING FOR THE JOB. WE ARE JOINED BY BILL SORRELL AND T.J. DONOVAN. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. WE ARE JOINED BY CHERYL HANNA A PROFESSOR AT THE VERMONT LAW SCHOOL AND AN EXPERT.

>> LET'S GET BACK TO THE QUESTIONS FROM WHERE WE LEFT OFF LAST TIME. YOU KNOW, THE PUBLIC'S BEEN VERY INTERESTED IN THE MICHAEL JAKES CASE AND WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IF THAT CASE PROCEEDS ITS WAY THROUGH FEDERAL COURT. WHEN THAT CASE WAS ORIGINALLY -- WHEN THAT CASE ORIGINALLY HAPPENED, IT LOOKED LIKE WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO KEEP IT HERE IN THE STATE BUT THEN THE FEDS TOOK THE CASE. WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THE ISSUE OF TURNING CASES OVER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

>> WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT DIDN'T TAKE OVER THE CASE. WE COULD'VE HELD ON TO THE CASE.

>> WHY DIDN'T YOU?

>> BECAUSE THEY WERE IN A POSITION TO DO IT. THEY HAD MORE RESOURCES, AND IT SEEMED LIKE A WASTE OF STATE RESOURCES FOR US TO DO A DUAL PROSECUTION. BUT WE COULD HAVE DONE THAT. AS FAR AS THE DEATH PENALTY GOES, I'M OPPOSED TO IT. IMROANG IT'S -- I DON'T THINK IT'S A DETERRENT AND DEATH PENALTY CASES TAKE YEARS AND YEARS TO LITIGATE. COST MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, AND I DON'T THINK WE WOULD BE SAFER WITH THE DEATH PENALTY SO I'M OPPOSED TO IT.

>> DO YOU THINK THEY WOULD'VE BEEN BETTER SERVED IF WE ASKED IF THEY WE COULD'VE DONE IT FIRST.

>>> NO, I THINK IT WOULD'VE BEEN A WASTE. THEY WERE GIVEN THE VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LAW TO PROSECUTE THE CASE AND JUST LIKE ANY CASES IN DRUG ARENA, SALES OF DRUGS, CHILD PORN ARENA, WE HAVE GOOD WORKING RELATIONSHIP, EMBEZZLEMENTS BY PUBLIC OFFICIALS THAT WE TYPICALLY WORK OUT WHICH IS GOING TO GO FEDERAL AND WHICH IS GOING TO GO STATE. WE COULD BOTH DO PARALLEL TRACK PROSECUTIONS BUT WE'VE GOT PLENTY OF WORK TO DO AND IT SEEMED MORE EFFICIENT TO HAVE THIS DELINEATION IN THE JAKES CASE.

>> WHAT ABOUT YOU, T.J., WOULD YOU HAVE HANDLED THE JAKES CASE AND AVOIDED HAVING THE FEDS TRY THE DEATH PENALTY.

>> I AM NOT GOING TO SPECULATE THAT. I HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE U.S. ATTORNEY. I HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THE FEDERAL PROSECUTORS AS WELL AS FEDERAL LAW ENFORCEMENT. WE WORK VERY WELL TOGETHER. IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY, I DON'T SUPPORT IT. HERE'S WHY. THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM IS MADE UP OF HUMAN BEINGS. PEOPLE ARE NOT INFALLIBLE. WE MAKE MISTAKES. IT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE. IT HAPPENS IN VERMONT. IT HAPPENS ACROSS THIS COUNTRY. WE SHOULD NEVER RISK ANYBODY BEING PUT TO DEATH AS A RESULT OF A MISTAKE MADE IN THE COURT OF LAW. THEREFORE, I DON'T SUPPORT THE DEATH PENALTY. I THINK YOU ONLY HAVE TO LOOK ACROSS THIS COUNTRY TO SEE PEOPLE WHO'VE BEEN WRONGLY CONVICTED AND LATER EXONERATED WHO HAVE BEEN ON DEATH ROW.

>> WELL, YOU BRING UP MISTAKES SO I GUESS I'M CURIOUS. YOU HAVE HELD THE POSITION THAT T.J. HAS. T.J. YOU WANT TO HOLD THE POSITION THAT BILL SORRELL NOW HOLDS. YOU KNOW EACH OTHER WELL. YOU KNOW EACH OTHER'S POLITICAL CAREER. I'M CURIOUS WHAT MISTAKE DO YOU THINK T.J. HAS MADE IN HIS CAREER?

>> I CAN'T SAY WHAT MISTAKES HE HAS MADE IN HIS CAREER. I HAVEN'T FOLLOWED CASE-BY-CASE DECISIONS TO KNOW THAT. I'M SURE T.J. FEELS THAT HE'S MADE MISTAKES JUST IN THE SAME WAY THAT I FEEL THAT I'VE MADE MISTAKES, AND WHEN YOU MAKE HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF DECISIONS ACROSS, YOU KNOW, CONSUMER PROTECTION, CIVIL RIGHTS, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, STATEWIDE CRIMINAL JURISDICTION, YOU MAKE THOUSANDS OF DECISIONS AND SOME, YOU KNOW, YOU WOULD DO DIFFERENTLY IN HINDSIGHT BUT NO I DON'T HAVE ANY EXAMPLES OF WHERE I READ SOMETHING AND SAY, WOW, HE GOT IT WRONG THERE. I DON'T HAVE ANY EXAMPLES IN MIND FOR THAT.

>> I MADE PLENTY OF MISTAKES. MOST LAWYERS DO. IT'S PARD OF OF THE JOB. THE ONE CASE I WOULD POINT OUT FROM BILL'S TENURE, I DON'T THINK CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW THAT WAS PASSED WAS A GOOD IDEA. HERE'S WHY. THE GOVERNOR WHO ASSIGNED IT HAS REPEATEDLY SAID HE TRIED TO PERSUADE LEGISLATORS NOT TO PASS IT. HE HIMSELF WAS QUOTED IN THE PUBLICATION THAT HE THOUGHT IT WAS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WE SHOULDN'T BE PASSING KNOWINGLY PASSING AND KNOWINGLY SIGNING INTO LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL LAWS. THAT'S NOT GOOD GOVERNMENT. THAT'S NOT PROGRESS BECAUSE WHEN THEY'RE OVERTURNED, IT SETS US BACK. WE PAY OUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN TAXPAYER MONEY IN LEGAL FEES AND THE I THINK THE ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS TO STAND UP AND TO SAY DON'T DO THIS.

>> WELL, T.J., LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND BECAUSE I THINK MANY PEOPLE THOUGHT THE VERMONT YANKEE LAW WAS GOING TO BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL AT FEDERAL COURT. WOULD YOU HAVE PURSUED THE VERMONT YANKEE CASE OR WOULD YOU HAVE ADVISED LEGISLATURE THAT YOU WOULDN'T TAKE IT BECAUSE IT WAS CONSTITUTIONAL.

>> I THINK VERMONT YANKEE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL. I AM VERY CLEAR ABOUT THAT. I THINK IT SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN. WHETHER BILL SORRELL OR MYSELF, WE ARE GOING TO FIGHT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT TO WHATEVER NECESSARY TO MAKE SURE IT'S SHUT DOWN.

>> A COUPLE THINGS I WANT TO GET TO IN WHAT YOU JUST SAID THEN. YOU SAY IN ONE BREATH THAT CAMPAIGN FINANCE YOU WOULD'VE ADVISED LAWMAKERS THAT THEY SHOULDN'T DO THAT BECAUSE IT WASN'T GOING TO PASS LEGAL MUSTER. A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY VERMONT YANKEE COULD CAUSE MILLIONS AND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

>> VERMONTERS' SECURITY, VERMONTERS' SAFETY, AND VERMONTERS' ENVIRONMENT IS AT RISK.

>> YOU THINK VERMONT YANKEE IS WINNABLE?

>> IT SHOULD BE SHUT DOWN, WHETHER IT'S BILL SORRELL OR T.J. DONOVAN, THE STATE OF VERMONT IS GOING TO MAKE SURE AND FIGHT EVERY INCH OF THE WAY TO MAKE SURE VERMONT YANKEE'S SHUT DOWN.

>> IS THE CASE WINNABLE?

>> YOU KNOW, I'M NOT THE ASSIGNED ATTORNEY ON IT. I KNOW ATTORNEY GENERAL SORRELL IS ON IT. HE FEELS GOOD ABOUT THE CHANCES. I AM GOING TO TRUST HIS JUNMENT JUNMENT -- JUDGMENT ON THIS ONE.

>> LET'S BACK UP ON WHAT T.J. DONOVAN SAID ABOUT CAMPAIGN FINANCE. SHOULD YOU HAVE STEPPED IN EARLIER AND SAID THIS ISN'T GOING TO WORK?

>> ON THE CAMPAIGN FINANCE? FIRST OF ALL, IT IS A SEPARATE BUT EQUAL PART OF GOVERNMENT. THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH GOT PUBLIC ADVICE PUBLICLY AND PRIVATELY. YOU ARE GOING WHERE NO STATE HAS GONE BEFORE AND BY SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCING CONTRIBUTIONS, YOU'RE GETTING INTO PRECARIOUS TERRITORY. IF YOU WANT TO GO THERE, WE WILL DO OUR DARNEDEST TO DEFENDANT THIS LAW TO A-- TO DEFEND THIS LAW TO AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF CORRUPTION AND TO ENHANCE COOPERATION IN OUR POLITICAL PROCESSES. WE WON AT THE FEDERAL TRIAL LEVEL ON THAT LAW. WE WON AT THE INTERMEDIATE FEDERAL APPEALS COURT LEVEL IN NEW YORK. AND THEN WE RAN INTO THE CITIZENS UNITED COURT AND WE LOST. THE LEGISLATURE MADE THIS CALL AFTER PLENTY OF LEGAL ADVICE THAT THERE WAS RISK, AND THEY EVEN SET ASIDE MONEY AT THE TIME THEY PASSED THE LAW KNOWING THEY ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DEFEND THE LAW. NOW SWITCHING GEARS TO VERMONT YANKEE, IT IS A VERY WINNABLE CASE. I FEEL VERY GOOD ABOUT THE BRIEFS THAT WE'VE PUT IN, AND NEW YORK STATE WITH OTHER STATES THE COURT BRIEFS, THE I GOT THEM ON THE BRIEF, VARIOUS ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS BUT WAS THE LAW FLAWED FROM THE GET GO, WAS IT DEAD ON ARRIVAL? THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA BANNED ANY NEW CONSTRUCTION OF NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS BACK 30 YEARS AGO. THAT LAW, NOT JUST THE LEGISLATURE GETS TO VOTE. THEY BANNED IT OUTRIGHT UNLESS OR UNTIL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COMES UP WITH A PERMANENT SOLUTION FOR STORAGE OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUELS. THAT LAW WAS ATTACKED IN THE COURTS IN CALIFORNIA. CALIFORNIA LOST AT THE TRIAL LEVEL, LOST AT THE INTERMEDIATE APPEALS LEVEL BUT THE SUPREME COURT 30 YEARS AGO REVERSED AND UPHELD THE CALIFORNIA LAW.

>> NOT THE ROBERTS COURT THOUGH. VERY DIFFERENT.

>> IT IS.

>> BUT LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT. I MEAN, YOUR ARGUMENT'S BEEN VERMONT YANKEE'S WINNABLE. WE SHOULD DO IT. WHAT YOU WOULD'VE DONE AT THE TRIAL LEVEL DIFFERENTLY. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU LOST?

>> WITH ALL DUE RESPECT TO JUDGE MURTHA, HE MADE A MISTAKE AND DIDN'T FOLLOW THE CONTROL AND PRECEDENT IN THE PACIFIC GAS AND ELECTRIC AND HE WENT INTO THE WEEDS OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, TOOK THE STATEMENTS FROM A RELATIVE FEW LEGISLATORS, AND IMPEDED THOSE STATEMENTS TO ALL 180 LEGISLATURES AND HE SHOULDN'T HAVE DONE THAT AND THAT'S WHAT THE NCSL BRIEF, THAT'S WHAT THE NEW YORK BRIEF ARGUED, THAT'S WHAT WE ARGUED BECAUSE HIS DECISION LEFT UNCHANGED COULD HAVE A TERRIBLY CHILLING EFFECT ON THE FREEDOM OF LEGISLATIVE DEBATE GOING FORWARD. WE THINK THE JUDGE GOT IT WRONG, AND WE ARE CONSUMMATE THE SECOND CIRCUIT'S GOING TO SEE IT OUR WAY.

>> IS THAT HOW YOU SEE THE CASE, T.J., BLAME THE COURT AND NOT THE PROSECUTION SO TO SPEAK?

>> LOOK, EVEN IF THE JUDGE GETS IT WRONG, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS TO GET IT RIGHT. YOU DON'T WALK INTO COURT AND START ARGUING. THIS IS -- WE NEED TO WIN THESE CASES. WE NEED TO WIN THE BIG ONES. WHETHER IT'S YANKEE, WHETHER IT'S CAMPAIGN FINANCE, OR WHETHER IT'S GOING TO BE HEALTH CARE WHEN WE PASS HEALTH CARE, WE CAN EXPECT A CHALLENGE. THE WORK STARTS IN THE COMMITTEE ROOM. I'M CALLING FOR GREATER ENGAGEMENT WITH THE LEGISLATURE BECAUSE IT'S NOT TO REPLACE LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL. IT'S TO COMPLIMENT THEM. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY WHEN THE STATE OF VERMONT IS SUED, IT'S NOT LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL --

>> WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY IF YOU WERE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HANDLING THE VERMONT YANKEE CASE?

>> I THINK LOOKING BACK I THINK IT'S ABOUT ENGAGEMENT.

>> WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? WOULD YOU HAVE HANDLED THE CASE PERSONALLY? WOULD YOU HAVE HIRED OUT OUTSIDE COUNSEL FROM THE GET GO? WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY?

>> I THINK THAT'S A GREAT POINT, CHERYL. I WOULD NOT HAVE SHANDLED THIS CASE PERSONALLY. LET ME BE CLEAR, I WILL NOT HANDLE ANY CASE IN THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. HERE IS SOMETHING YOU KNOW VERY WELL. THE PRACTICE THAT THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT IS A SELECT PRACTICE OF LAW. VERY FEW LAWYERS DO IT. THOSE THAT DO IT ARE EXPERTS. WE SHOULD NOT DABBLE IN ARGUING AT THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. NOR SHOULD WE DABBLE IN THESE COMPLEX CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES. THE DIFFERENCE I DO HAVE ON ALL THESE CASES IS BRING THE EXPERTS IN EARLY, LET'S MAKE AN INVESTMENT IN THESE CASES EARLY. BRING THEM IN. LET'S GET IT RIGHT. LET'S SIGN THEM. AND LET'S PAIK SURE -- MAKE SURE THEY STAND UP IN THE COURT OF LAW.

>> WE DID BRING IN A FIRM TO ADVISE US ON OUR STRATEGY AND OUR LEGAL FILINGS. THEY ARE NOW PLAYING EVEN MORE ACTIVE ROLE ON APPEAL. THEY ARE NATIONWIDE EXPERTS, AND WE ARE PLEASED TO HAVE THEM, BUT THEY HAVE BEEN THERE WITH US FROM THE BEGINNING IN THIS CASE.

>> T.J. DONOVAN SAYS WE SHOULDN'T DABBLE AT THE SUPREME COURT. I WAS THERE WHEN YOU WERE AT THE SUPREME COURT WHEN YOU MADE THE ARGUMENTS IN CAMPAIGN FINANCE. DO YOU THINK THAT SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD'VE MADE THOSE ARGUMENTS?

>> I'VE GOTTEN VERY POSITIVE REACTION TO MY ARGUMENTS, INCLUDING FROM THOSE WHO WERE THERE IN PROMINENT POSITIONS AT THE SUPREME COURT. BUT THIS IS THE COURT THAT HANDED DOWN THE CITIZENS UNITED CASE, AND THE BEST LAWYER IN THE WORLD I DON'T THINK THERE WOULD'VE BEEN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME BEFORE THAT COURT ON THESE ISSUES. AGAIN, WE PREVAILED AT THE TRIAL LEVEL. WE APPEALED -- WE PREVAILED AT THE FEDERAL APPELLATE COURT LEVEL IN NEW YORK CITY. IT WAS WHEN WE RAN INTO THE SUPREME COURT THAT WE LOST. OUR ARGUMENTS DIDN'T CHANGE FROM ONE COURT TO THE NEXT.

>> T.J.?

>> WELL, I JUST SAY THAT THE MOST PROMINENT PEOPLE IN THE COURTROOM ARE THE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES. WE LOST. IT WASN'T A CONVINCING ARGUMENT.

>> WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THE EXPERTISE BECAUSE YOU'RE RIGHT, THE SUPREME COURT BAR IS VERY SPECIALIZED. THEY'RE EXPERTS AND THEY'RE ALSO EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE SO IF WE HAD HIRED OUTSIDE FIRMS WE WOULD'VE HAD LEGAL FEES AND YOU HAVE AN $8 MILLION BUDGET SO HOW ARE YOU GOING TO JUSTIFY TO THE LEGISLATURE HUGE OUTSIDE EXPENDITURES ON OUTSIDE COUNSEL? ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT ON STAFFING YOUR OFFICE THAN BILL SORRELL HAS DONE?

>> WE ARE PAYING OUT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN LEGAL FEES WHEN WE LOSE. WE PAID OUT TOTAL I THINK WAS OVER $4 MILLION IN A CASE THAT WE LOST TO THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT. SO LET'S NOT BE PENNY WISE AND POUND FOOLISH. INVEST THE MONEY. BRING THE EXPERTS IN EARLY. THAT'S GOOD GOVERNMENT.

>> BILL?

>> CONSTITUTION LAW SCHOLARS IN MY OFFICE WHO ADVISE THE LEGISLATURE ON THE ENACTMENTS AND THESE STATUTES, AND YES, WE'VE PAID OUT OVER MY 15 YEARS AS ATTORNEY GENERAL A LITTLE OVER $5 MILLION FOR LOST CASES. I BROUGHT IN OVER $40 MILLION LAST YEAR. OVER $40 MILLION THE YEAR BEFORE. OVER $40 MILLION THE YEAR BEFORE THAT SO $120 MILLION IS THREE YEARS OF REVENUES INTO THE STATE AGAINST 5.3 OR 4 MILLION OUT THE DOOR OVER 15 YEARS, YOU KNOW, THERE'S A SAYING. THE LAWYER OR THE PROSECUTOR DOESN'T LOSE ANY CASES ISN'T TRYING THE TOUGH ONES. I HAVE BEEN CALLED A GIANT KILLER FOR TAKING ON POWERFUL INTERESTS, WHETHER IT'S THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY OR PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. I DON'T BACK DOWN FROM FIGHTS JUST BECAUSE ENTERGY SUES US. WE LOSE ONCE IN A WHILE BUT WE'VE WON THE VAST MAJORITY OF CASES IN WHICH VERMONT STATUTES IN FEDERAL COURT OR STATE COURT HAVE BEEN ATTACKED.

>> QUICK RESPONSE BEFORE WE GO TO THE BREAK?

>> LOOK, INVEST EARLY. BRING IN THE EXPERTS. GET IT RIGHT. LET'S WIN THESE CASES.

>> ALL RIGHT. VERY GOOD. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A BRIEF BREAK AND CON NUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNUNU

>> IT IS FAST APPROACHING. T.J. DONOVAN IS CHITTENDEN COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY. AND BILL SORRELL IS THE DEMOCRAT CURRENTLY IN THE POSITION OF STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL. ONE OF THE PRIORITIES OR FOCUS OF YOUR GROUP HAS BEEN THAT YOUR OFFICE IS THAT YOU HAVE WORKED ON MAKING SURE SOMEONE SAYS THEY'RE MADE IN VERMONT THAT THEY ARE IN VERMONT AND WORKING ON MAKING SURE THERE IS TRUTH IN LABELING AND PEOPLE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE GETTING. RECENTLY THERE WAS BIG NEWS MADE ABOUT THE CABOT SITUATION WHERE CABOT CHANGED THEIR LABEL EVEN THOUGH YOU SAID WE WERE NOT FORCING THEM TO, IN HINDSIGHT, YOU KNOW, YOU MENTIONED EARLIER YOU'VE MADE MISTAKES, YOU THOUGHT IT MIGHT HURT VERMONT NOT HAVING THE CABOT LABEL ANYMORE.

>> NO, THAT WAS A CABOT DECISION. WE DIDN'T TELL THEM THEY HAD TO DO IT. THE REALITY IS THIS WAS JUST ADHERENCE TO THE VERMONT LAW THAT'S GOTTEN OVERWHELMING LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT, AND THAT IS THAT IF YOU HAVE A PRODUCT THAT PEOPLE THINK IS MADE IN VERMONT, OF VERMONT INGREDIENTS, AND IT'S NOT, YOU HAVE TO SAY THAT ON THE LABEL SO THAT CONSUMERS AS THEY PICK IT UP IN THE GROCERY STORE CAN KNOW THAT CABOT BUTTER, FOR EXAMPLE, IS MANUFACTURED IN MASSACHUSETTS AND I BELIEVE PRIMARILY FROM FLUID MILK FROM MASSACHUSETTS AND NEW YORK. AND ALL WE HAD SAID WAS THAT THEY HAD TO SAY ON THE BACK OF THE LABEL OR ON THE LABEL A PRODUCT OF THE UNITED STATES RATHER THAN PRODUCT OF VERMONT.

>> DO YOU THINK THAT'S GOING TO HURT THE VERMONT MESSAGE THOUGH? SOMEONE IN CALIFORNIA IS GOING TO PICK UP CABOT AND IT'S NO LONGER GOING TO BE VERMONT. DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW WHAT? IT NEVER WAS.

>> I THINK VERMONT BUSINESSES THAT ARE SO SUPPORTIVE OF THE LABELING LAW WILL USE VERMONT INGREDIENTS AND MANUFACTURE AND PROCESS HERE IN VERMONT DON'T WANT TO SEE OTHER COMPANIES PLAY ON THE VERMONT NAME FOR PRODUCTS THAT ARE NOT SUFFICIENTLY CONNECTED TO VERMONT. AND IF THE LEGISLATURE THINKS THAT WE'VE GOT IT WRONG RIGHT NOW, AND THAT PRODUCTS THAT ARE MADE OUT OF THE STATE FROM INGREDIENTS OUT OF THE STATE SHOULD APPEAR TO BE MADE IN VERMONT FROM VERMONT PRODUCTS, THEN THEY CAN CHANGE THE LAW. BUT THIS IS THE LONGEST RULEMAKING PROCESS WE'VE BEEN THROUGH, AND WE TRIED TO GET IT RIGHT BETWEEN THE, THE VERMONT FARM INDUSTRY, VERMONT FARMERS, AND FOOD PROCESSORS. AND OTHERS. THEY ALL HAD A CHANCE TO WEIGH IN, AND WE THINK WE'VE GOT IT RIGHT BUT IF IT SHOULD BE TWEAKED, THEN THE LEGISLATURE COME JANUARY CAN GO RIGHT AHEAD AND DO THAT.

>> T.J. DONOVAN, DOES THE OFFICE HAVE IT RIGHT?

>> WELL, THE VERMONT LABELING LAW IS A GOOD LAW. IT'S GOOD FOR VERMONT BUSINESSES, IT'S GOOD FOR VERMONT FARMERS. AND I WILL ENFORCE THAT LAW BUT I THINK PART OF ENFORCEMENT IS COMPLIANCE, BRINGING PEOPLE INTO COMPLIANCE. HERE'S THE THING WITH CABOT. WE HAVEANT TALKED WITH CABOT FOR OVER A YEAR. SO WHEN I TALK ABOUT GREATER ENGAGEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL I WANT TO KEEP VERMONT BUSINESSES, VERMONT PRODUCTS IN VERMONT. SO WORK WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WORK WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, AND LET'S SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS. LET'S BRING COMPANIES INTO COMPLIANCE SO THEY FOLLOW THE LAW. THAT'S GOOD ENFORCEMENT. THAT'S GOOD FOR VERMONT. THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO DO.

>> I HAVE AN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL WHO WORKS FULL-TIME FOR THE AGENCY OF AGRICULTURE. WE HAVE A VERY CLOSE WORKING RELATIONSHIP, AND I'VE HEARD NO COMPLAINTS FROM CABOT THAT WE WEREN'T TALKING TO THEM ENOUGH. EVERY TIME THEY CALLED, WE RESPONDED TO THEIR REQUESTS, AND IF THEY WERE DOING SOMETHING THAT WE THOUGHT WAS NOT IN COMPLIANCE WITH THE LAW, WE SO ADVISED THEM.

>> LET'S SWITCH GEARS A LITTLE BIT. AS THE STATE OF VERMONT PROCEEDS ON GREEN MOUNTAIN HEALTH CARE, THERE'S ANTICIPATION THAT THERE'LL BE MANY LAWSUITS FILED ALONG THE WAY. T.J., LET'S START WITH YOU. WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE GOING TO BE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LEGAL CHALLENGES THE STATE'S GOING TO FACE AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO TO MAKE SURE THAT LAW GOES INTO EFFECT.

>> I THINK THE BEST PART, OF COURSE, CHERYL, IS THE U.S. SUPREME COURT UPHELD THE FEDERAL HEALTH CARE LAW. THAT'S IT -- THE BEST PART. I THINK WHATEVER THE CHALLENGE IS, WE HAVE TO BE AWARE OF IT EARLY, SO LET'S DEPLOY THE EXISTING RESOURCES OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE INTO THIS BILL. SO WHEN THIS BILL IS BEING CRAFTED, THE SCRUTINY'S DONE, THE ANALYSIS IS DONE, AND WHEN IT'S SIGNED INTO LAW, IT STANDS UP IN THE COURT OF LAW. YOU KNOW, I THINK EVERYBODY WAS WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THIS INDIVIDUAL MANDATE WAS GOING TO BE CONSTITUTIONAL.

>> NOW TAX BY THE WAY.

>> TAX.

>> JUST SAYING.

>> SO I THINK THAT WHATEVER THE ISSUE IS, THIS IS MY, MY POINT ABOUT THESE BIG CONSTITUTIONAL CASES. HEALTH CARE IS GOING TO BE ONE OF THEM.

>> ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A SPECIAL OFFICE IN YOUR -- SPECIAL UNIT IN YOUR OFFICE THAT'S GOING TO DEAL JUST WITH THE HEALTH CARE?

>> ABSOLUTELY SMS I. I THINK YOU HAVE TO DEPLOY EVERY RESOURCE. HEALTH CARE IS AN ISSUE FOR EVERY VERMONTER. IT'S AN ISSUE FOR EVERY BUSINESS. LET'S DO IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME. LET'S BRING IN ALL THE EXPERTS. TO WORK COLLABORATIVELY INTO THE LEGISLATURE SO IT STANDS UP IN THE COURT OF LAW.

>> BILL, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES ARE GOING TO BE?

>> VERMONT WAS ONE OF THE FEW STATES ON THE SIDE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IN THE LAWSUIT ON THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, SO WE WERE PLEASED WITH THAT OUTCOME BECAUSE VERMONT HAS EVERY INDICATION IT'S GOING TO GO FURTHER THAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO WE WERE PLEASED TO SEE THE HEART AND SOUL OF THE FEDERAL ACT UPHELD, EVEN THOUGH, YOU KNOW, THE THE MANDATE IS BEING CALLED AT LEAST ON THE PART OF CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS AS A TAX. BUT WE'RE GOING TO FACE CHALLENGES IN VERMONT, AND WE HAVE BEEN PREPARING FOR THAT. I SENT ONE OF MY AAGs DOWN TO A CONFERENCE IN NEW YORK WITH OTHER STATE AAGs LOOKING AT FEDERAL HEALTH CARE AND STATE EXPERIMENTS ON THAT. THE GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD HAD SOME VERY ABLE LEGAL COUNSEL. THEY HIRED ONE OF MY ATTORNEYS TO BE THEIR LEAD COUNSEL, AND WE'VE WORKED CLOSELY WITH SOME OF THE OTHER LAWYERS ADVISING THEM. AS THIS MOVES FROM A CONCEPT OR A PLAN TO LITIGATION, WE WILL BE ENGAGING WITH THEM. I HOPEFULLY THEY WILL BE ASKING US SO THAT IT DOESN'T JUST POP OUT EITHER FROM THE ADMINISTRATION OR FOR SOME LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE, BUT WE WILL BE IN THERE JUST AS WE TYPICALLY DO RESPONDING TO REQUESTS FROM THE LEGISLATURE UNDER STATUTE FOR ADVICE BUT ALSO WHEN WE CAN SEE ISSUES COMING PROACTIVELY GOING AND TALKING WITH THE SPEAKER OR THE PRESIDENT PROTEM OR PARTICULAR COMMITTEE CHAIRS AND SAY PLEASE DON'T GIVE US THIS AT THE 11th HOUR. WE WANT TO BE THERE EARLY TO SEE IT COMING, AND WE'RE HAPPY TO MEET WITH YOU PRIVATELY OR PUBLICLY TO DISCUSS ANY CONCERNS THAT WE MIGHT HAVE. SO THAT WE DO GET IT RIGHT AND WHATEVER IS ULTIMATELY ENACTED HAS THE GREATEST CHANCE OF BEING SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDED.

>> I'M CURIOUS, YOU EARLIER IN OUR PREVIOUS DEBATE DECLINED TO CRITICIZE DECISIONS YOU'VE MADE IN THE PAST AND YOU WOULD REFERENCE BILL SORRELL YOU HAVE MADE A LOT OF MISTAKES. CAN YOU NAME ONE THAT YOU SORT OF REGRET? I WILL ASK THE SAME OF YOU.

>> FIRST OF ALL, I HAVE DONE LOT OF HIRING DECISIONS. I'M THE LARGEST LAW FIRM IN THE STATE. I'VE GOT 76 LAWYERS AND A LOT OF SUPPORT STAFF, AND SOME OF THE PERSONNEL DECISIONS I'VE MADE I WISH IN HINDSIGHT I HAD DONE DIFFERENTLY BUT NO FATAL FLAWS THERE. I'VE MADE SOME STRATEGIC DECISIONS IN CASES WHERE MAYBE WE DIDN'T TAKE A PLEA THAT WAS OFFERED, AND ULTIMATELY, A JURY WAS HUNG OR DIDN'T CONVICT.

>> CASE EXAMPLE THAT STANDS OUT?

>> WELL, ONE CASE THAT I'LL POINT OUT WHERE WE ULTIMATELY MADE A DEAL WAS WE AGREED THAT A PUBLIC OFFICIAL WOULD BE ON PROBATION UNTIL SHE HAD PAID $25,000 FINE. WE'RE LED TO BELIEVE THAT WAS GOING TO TAKE A LONG TIME TO PAY, AND SHE HAD AN ANGEL FRIEND WHO PAID IT AND SHE BASICALLY WENT RIGHT OFF PROBATION RIGHT AWAY AND I THINK THAT WE MADE A MISTAKE THERE IN NOT REQUIRING A PARTICULAR DURATION OF PROBATION GIVEN HER CONDUCT I THINK WAS WARRANTED.

>> OKAY. HOW ABOUT YOU, T.J.?

>> YOU KNOW, I THINK, I'M THINKING OF A CASE WHERE I PROBABLY WAS TOO HARD ON A YOUNG PERSON. IT WAS A YOUNG PERSON FROM THIS COMMUNITY WHO HAD ALL THE GIFTS OF THE WORLD. GOT INTO TROUBLE WITH DRUGS AND ALCOHOL. GAVE HIM A FEW DIFFERENT CHANCES. KEPT COMING BACK TO COURT. AND IN HINDSIGHT, HE PROBABLY DESERVED A FEW MORE CHANCES, AND I THINK THAT THAT'S THE TYPE OF LEADERSHIP WE NEED IN THIS STATE WHEN WE HAVE A CORRECTIONS BUDGET OF $140 MILLION. SECOND FASSEST GROWING BUDGET ITEM BEHIND HEALTH CARE WITH A RECIDIVISM RATE OF 52% OR 43%. WE SPEND MORE ON CORRECTIONS THAN WE DO ON HIGHER EDUCATION A YEAR IN JAIL IS MORE THAN A YEAR IN COLLEGE. A YEAR IN JAIL IN VERMONT IS $52,000 A YEAR. I'VE CERTAINLY MADE MISTAKES IN SENDING PEOPLE TO JAIL WHEN I SHOULD'VE DONE A BETTER JOB OF TRYING TO HELP THEM. BUT I THINK WHAT I'VE TRIED TO DO IS GIVE PEOPLE SECOND CHANCES. WE'VE DEVELOPED A GREAT COMMUNITY CORPS PROGRAM IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY THAT ADDRESSES THE ISSUES OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE COUNTY. WE ARE ADDRESSING THESE ISSUES BECAUSE I THINK YOU CAN NO LONGER SEPARATE THE ISSUE OF POVERTY AND CRIME. AND I THINK THROUGH THESE, THIS WORK DONE IN THE COMMUNITY, DONE IN THERAPY, DONE WITH GREAT SOCIAL SERVICE WORKS, DONE WITH WORKERS, DONE WITH EDUCATION, THAT'S GOING TO ENHANCE OUR PUBLIC SAFETY AND I PROBABLY SHOULD'VE DONE IT ON THAT CASE EARLIER IN MY CAREER.

>> YOU KNOW, SO T.J. DONOVAN TALKING A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHY OUR PRISONS ARE OVERCROWDED. WHAT WOULD YOU DO TO ADDRESS THAT?

>> WELL, WE JUST HAVE TO BE SMART. THE LEGISLATURE PASSES THE LAW, SETS THE PENALTY, ENHANCES THE PENALTY SOMETIMES LIKE IN THE BROOK BENNETT CASE, INCREASES THE PENALTY SOMETIMES. THE JUDGES FOLLOW THE LEAD OF THE LEGISLATURE GIVEN APPROPRIATE FACTS BUT WE CAN'T BE THROWING EVERYBODY IN JAIL THAT'S COMMITTING CRIMES THESE DAYS. WE SIMPLY CAN'T DO IT. THAT'S WHY I'M LONG BEEN A FAN BOTH AS CHITTENDEN COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY TWO DIFFERENT TIMES AND NOW AS THE STATE'S CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS OF TRYING TO GET IT RIGHT, TRYING TO GET THOSE CASES WHERE A CONVICTION IS ALL THAT'S NECESSARY TO WRITE SOMEBODY'S PASS. OTHERS FOR PUNISHMENT PURPOSES OR DETERRENT PURPOSES TO GO TO JAIL. BUT THE COURT DIVERSION PROGRAM IS UNDER MY OFFICE, AND THE IDEA BEING THERE IS THAT PEOPLE HAVE COMMITTED CRIMES BUT THEY ATONE FOR IT WITHOUT ENDING UP WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD. SO YOU KNOW, I THINK THE QUESTION IS JUST GETTING IT RIGHT AND THE PROFILE OF THE OFFENDERS IN OUR PRISONS RIGHT NOW ARE REFLECTIVE OF COMMUNITY WILL THAT THOSE IN FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEX CRIMES AND WHATEVER SHOULD BE GOING TO JAIL FOR SOMETIME.

>> VERY QUICK RESPONSE?

>> WELL, I THINK WE'VE HAD A LACK OF LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE OVER THE LAST 15 YEARS.

>> FROM WHO?

>> THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BILL SORRELL. THE CORRECTIONS BUDGET HAS GONE UP. VERMONT HAS GONE UP IN RATE OF INCARCERATION. MOST PEOPLE ARE INCARCERATED BECAUSE OF PROPERTY CRIMES BECAUSE OF THE ISSUES OF ADDICTION, MENTAL ILLNESS AND PROPERTY.

>> WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THE VERMONT LEGISLATURE WANTS TO PASS MORE AND MORE LAWS. WHAT DO YOU DO AS ATTORNEY GENERAL? DO YOU GO UP THERE AND SAY, STOP, DON'T DO IT?

>> YOU GO UP THERE AND YOU BRING COMMON SENSE TO AN EMOTIONAL ISSUE. THE BROOK BENNETT CASE DID BRING A CHANGE IN LAW. BILL SORRELL HAS BEEN IN OFFICE SINCE 1997 SO I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, LOOX, WE LOOK, WE THE ATTORNEY GENERAL YOU HAVE TO BRING THE CREDIBILITY AND EXPERTISE AND GRAVITAS TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES IN A SMART WAY. BOTH CHAIRPERSONS OF THE HOUSE JUDICIARY AND SENATE JUDICIARY HAVE ENDORSED MY CANDIDACY. THEY ARE READY FOR CHANGE.

>> WHEN I SEE THE NEED FOR CHANGES AND OUR LAWS. WE CRIMINALIZED VARIOUS ANTITRUST LAWS. HAZING WASN'T A CRIME UNTIL I WENT IN AND SUGGESTED THAT. POSSESSION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY WASN'T A CRIME UNTIL I WENT IN WHICH CHANGED THAT. MEMBERS OF RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS WEREN'T MANDATORY REPORTERS OF CHILD ABUSE UNTIL I WENT IN THERE AND SUGGESTED THOSE. I HAVE BEEN A LEADER WHEN I HAVE SEEN CHANGES IN THE LAW APPROPRIATE.

>> WE ARE GOING TO LEAVE IT THERE. THE PRIMARY IS AUGUST 28th. YOU CAN ALREADY VOTE. I AM SURE THEY ARE BOTH LOOKING FOR YOUR VOTE. THEY ARE GOING TO BE WORKING VERY HARD UNTIL NOW AND THEN, T.J. DONOVAN, BILL SORRELL, CHERYL HANNA, THANK FOR JOINING THE QUESTIONS. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY, EVERYONE.

>> THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.