YCQM: October 21, 2012 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: October 21, 2012

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. THANKS FOR GOING US. I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. TODAY WE ARE FOCUSING ON THE PROGRESSIVE RUNNING FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL ED STANAK. THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> JOINING US IS JENNIFER READING. SHE IS OUR LEGAL REPORTER. WE PREVIOUSLY TALKED TO THE DEMOCRATIC RUNNING FOR ELECTION AND THE REPUBLICAN TRYING TO DEFEAT HIM. YOU CAN GO TO wcax.com TO WATCH THOSE INTERVIEWS. SO FIRST OFF, ED, THIS IS YOUR FIRST ONE AT STATEWIDE OFFICE. WHY DID YOU WANT TO RUN AND WHY RUN FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL?

>> WELL, I'M RUNNING BECAUSE OF THE STRONG BELIEF THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIVE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE IN VERMONT. I JUST FINISHED UP 30 YEARS WORKING FOR STATE GOVERNMENT. A LOT OF EXPERIENCE THERE AND I THOUGHT THERE WAS AN OBLIGATION ETHICALLY TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE, GIVEN THE CRITICAL ISSUES, PARTICULARLY CRITICAL ECONOMIC AND POLITICAL ISSUES THAT FACE US IN THE 20th 20th CENTURY.

>> WE'LL GET INTO A LOT OF THE LEGAL ISSUES THAT PERTAIN TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BUT ECONOMIC, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT SURPRISES ME YOU MENTION WHEN TALKING ABOUT ATTORNEY GENERAL. SEEMS LIKE IT MIGHT PERTAIN TO DIFFERENT OFFICES. WHAT ECONOMIC WOULD YOU ATTACK AS ATTORNEY GENERAL.

>> I'M CLEARLY AWARE THAT THE DUTIES AND POWERS OF ATTORNEY GENERAL ARE DEFINED BY STATUTE. IT'S NOT A CONSTITUTIONAL OFFICER AS THE GOVERNOR WHICH IS THE CARTE BLANCHE OFFICE TO RAISE ISSUES. BUT THERE ARE ECONOMIC JUSTICE ISSUES THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD PURSUE. EXAMPLE, IN 2008 ON WALL STREET THERE WAS TERRIBLE ECONOMIC DAMAGE DONE TO HAVE THERES. WALL STREET IS NOW A ROAD INTO THE GREEN MOUNTAINS. PEOPLE LOST PENSIONS, RETIREMENT FUNDS WERE JEOPARDIZED. PEOPLE HAD DIFFICULTY FINANCING THEIR HOMES AND THERE IS A WHOLE GENERATION HAVING DIFFICULTY ENTERING THE JOB MARKET. ALL SIX BANKS ON WALL STREET ARE REGISTERED TO BUSINESSES IN VERMONT. DESPITE ALL THE DECEIT AND MANIPULATION THAT HAS BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT IN REAMS OF REPORTS, THERE IS BEEN NO CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF THOSE BANKS. VERMONT HAS A FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE RETIREMENT FUNDS AND OTHERWISE TO SEE IF THERE WAS FRAUD AND OTHER VIOLATIONS OF THE CRIMINAL CODE. PERHAPS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS HAVE TOLD IT'S TOO LATE, IN WHICH CASE THE ATTORNEY GENERALS MAKE STRONG RECOMMENDATIONS SO IT CANNOT HAPPEN AGAIN. QUICKLY, I'D LIKE TO PURSUE OTHER ECONOMIC JUSTICE ISSUES. THERE IS AN OLD CONCEPT IN THE LAW CALLED UNCONSCIOUSLE CONTRACT CLAUSES, AND I WOULD USE THAT TO PURSUE THE UNREASONABLE INTEREST RATES ON CREDIT CARDS, THE HIDDEN FEES, THE HIDDEN FEES IN DEBIT CARDS. THINGS LIKE THAT ARE AVAILABLE UNDER THE INFORMATIONAL CODE. THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD BE ACTIVE AND PURSUE THESE ISSUES ON BEHALF OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

>> YOU'VE GOTTEN CRITICISM FOR BEING TOO MUCH OF AN ACTIVIST FOR THE JOB. WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSE TO THAT?

>> I CLEARLY UNDERSTAND THE LINE BETWEEN ACTIVIST AND PROCESS AND BALANCE, SO I WOULD NOT BE OUT THERE UNCONSTRAINED. I DO REALIZE THAT THERE IS LIMITS FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL. HAVING SAID THAT, I THINK THE TIMES CALL FOR AN ADD CAT TO STEP UP TO THE PLATE AND REPRESENT THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

>> YOU'RE RUNNING AS A PROGRESSIVE AGAINST A DEMOCRAT AND REPUBLICAN. IN SOME OF THE OTHER CONTESTS WE'VE SEEN A MOVE BY THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY NOT TO RUN A CANDIDATE ON PURPOSE, A TACTICAL MOVE BECAUSE THEY DID NOT WANT TO TAKE AWAY VOTES IN THE GOVERNOR'S RACE. I'M SURE YOU'RE FAMILIAR, AS SOON AS THE PROGRESSIVE NOMINEE FOR GOVERNOR WON THE NOMINATION, SHE SAID, NO THANK YOU, I'M GOING TO STEP DOWN. THAT WAS A PURPOSEFUL MOVE TO NOT SIPHON VOTES AWAY FROM DEMOCRATIC PETER SHUMLIN. WHY DO YOU THINK THERE NEEDED TO BE A PROGRESSIVE VOICE IN THIS CONTEST AND WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY IF IN ONE CONTEST THEY'RE NOT RUNNING AND IN ANOTHER THEY ARE.

>> I'M RUNNING FOR CANDIDATE AS A PROGRESSIVE PARTY BECAUSE I AGREE WITH THE PRINCIPLE STATE TO HAVE THE PARTY PLATFORM. IT'S NOT SO MUCH EVERY PARTY SHOULD HAVE A CANDIDATE AS THERE ARE DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES FACING THE PUBLIC AT THIS TIME. I RANGE FROM LARGE ECONOMIC JUSTICE AS WELL AS TAKING ON LARGE CORPORATIONS IN MY PLATFORM, BUT ALSO EROSION OF PRIVACY RIGHTS. I HAVE A STRONG THEORY ON HOW TO CLOSE VERMONT YANKEE. I GUESS THE POINT IS IT'S NOT SO MUCH WHETHER THE PROGRESSIVES, DEMOCRATS OR REPUBLICANS HAVE A CORRECT PERFECTIVES AS MUCH AS DEFINING ISSUES AND PURSUING THEM AS AN ACTIVIST.

>> ARE YOU DISAPPOINTED AS A MEMBER OF THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY THERE AREN'T MORE CANDIDATES IN OTHER RACES.

>> I AM DISAPPOINTED IT'S THE THIRD LARGEST RACE THAT THERE ARE NOT MORE CANDIDATES BUT I'M GLAD PEOPLE HAVE STEPPED UP AS CANDIDATES.

>> IT SEEMS THERE IS A MOVEMENT AWAY FROM THE STATEWIDE OFFICES OF THE LEGISLATURE.

>> BY VIRTUE THERE ARE CANDIDATES RUNNING BOTH THE LEGISLATURE AND TWO IF NOT THREE OF THE STATE-WIDE OFFICES IT SPEAKS TO THE STRENGTH OF THE PARTY.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ISSUES. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST ISSUES FACING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE?

>> THE LARGEST ISSUE FACING THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS STEPPING FORWARD TO BE A MORE ACTIVIST POSITION. THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS DEMONSTRATES A MORE PASSIVE PERSPECTIVE. THERE IS CLASS ACTION SUITS FOR SURE AS FAR AS CONSUMER PROTECTION. ININ THE 21st CENTURY, THERE ARE LARGER ISSUES. PROPERTY RIGHTS. PEOPLE THINK IT'S A QUIT PRO QUO TO THE INTERNET AND SOCIAL MEDIA THAT ENTITIES REMEMBER TITLED TO TROLL FOR INFORMATION TO COLLECT DATA ON ALL OF US SOMETIMES TO BE USED TO OUR DISADVANTAGE. LEGAL COMERNTS ARE SAYING THAT PERHAPS THAT INFORMATION SHOULD BE TREATED AS THE PROPERTY OF YOU AND ME. INSTEAD OF US HAVING THE RESPONSIBILITY TO OPT OUT FROM VARIOUS RANGES OF COMMERCIAL FIRMS AND SOCIAL MEDIA, THEY SHOULD BE ASKING HER PERMISSION TO USE OUR AFTION IN THAT WAY. I'M CONCERNED ABOUT THE EROSION OF PRIVACY BY GOVERNMENT ITSELF. WE HAVE INCREASED SURVEILLANCE BY GOVERNMENT. JUST HERE IN VERMONT, WE'VE LEARNED RECENTLY THERE ARE NOW PHOTOGRAPHS BEING TAKEN OF PEOPLES' LICENSES. IT'S NOT AS BAD AS IN OTHER STATES, NOT YET AT LEAST. I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL SHOULD STEP UP AND FORM A TASK FORCE. THAT'S WHAT I WOULD DO. A TASK FORCE WHICH WOULD EXAMINE THE PROTECTIONS OF PRIVACY IN VERMONT RIGHT NOW. THERE ARE 70 DIFFERENT SECTIONS OF VERMONT THAT WILL DEAL WITH PRIVACY BUT IN A FRAGMENTED WAY. I USE AS AN EXAMPLE PRIVACY IN THE 21st CENTURY, WE SHOULD LOOK AT IT SOUP TO NUTS TO SEE WHAT COULD BE DONE TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF VERMONTERS.

>> DO YOU THINK THE PRIVACY YISH SHOES NEED TO BE EXPLORED MORE THAN THE GROWING PROBLEM OF DRUGS IN VERMONT?

>> I THINK THE WAR ON DRUGS NEEDS TO BE REWORKED. IT WAS PUT TOGETHER 40 OR 50 YEARS AGO IN MANY PRESIDENTS. PRESCRIPTION DRUGS, A UNIVERSITY DID A STUDY NOT TOO LONG AGO, DESCRIBED AS AN EPIDEMIC, THE SEEPING OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS INTO SOCIETY. THE RESULT IS A SPIKE IN DEATHS AS WELL AS PHENOMENAL INCREASE OF VISITS TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM TO THE TUNE OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF INCREASED COST. ONE HAS TO WONDER HOW THESE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS SO EASILY ARE SEEPING INTO SOCIETY GIVEN THEY'RE COMING OUT OF LICENSED PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES AND ALSO DOCTORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR PRESCRIBING THE DRUG. SO I THINK THE PRIORITY OF THE WAR ON DRUGS SHOULD BE TO SHUT OFF THAT FAUCET TO BEGIN WITH AND CONCENTRATE OUR ENERGIES ON METHAMPHETAMINES, HEROIN AND OTHER DRUGS.

>> HOW DOES SHUTTING THE SUPPLY OFF ALBEIT FROM DOCTORS AND OTHER SOURCES, HOW IS THAT GOING TO BE DONE?

>> UPPING LAW ENFORCEMENT. WE SPENT OVER A MILLION DOLLARS PROSECUTING OFFENSES FOR CANNABIS RELATED PRODUCTS IN VERMONT. THAT WOULD UP SURVEILLANCE RATHER THAN DOING ARRESTS. THAT BRINGS UP THE TOPIC TO HOW WE HAVE CRIMINALIZED BEHAVIOR TO THE TUNE TO HAVE THE CORRECTIONS BUDGETS, $200 MILLION, WE HAVE TO SEND PEOPLE TO PRISON OUT OF STATE. SO WE HAVE TO FOCUS ON THE PRIORITIES OF THE ERA WE LIVE IN.

>> SO I'M HEARING WHAT PEOPLE MIGHT INTERPRET AS CONFLICTING MESSAGES. ONE IS YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PRESCRIPTION ABUSE AND THE OTHER IS YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT OVERCROWDING IN PRISON. IT SEEMS LIKE THAT'S AN IMBALANCE BECAUSE IF YOU WANT TO GET TOUGH ORDEAL WITH ONE PROBLEM BUT YOU DON'T WANT TO PUT MORE PEOPLE IN JAIL, HOW DO YOU DO THAT?

>> WELL, I THINK THE APPROACH TO STRATEGY IN DEALING WITH THE OPIATES AND THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS IS TO SHUT IT OFF AT THE SOURCE. MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THE ILLEGAL DRUGS CROSSING THE BORDERS FROM OTHER COUNTRIES BECAUSE WE KNOW THERE ARE DEFINED MANUFACTURERS FOR THE PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

>> YOU KNOW THERE HAS BEEN CHALLENGES ABOUT PRIVACY WHEN IT COMES TO, IN THE LEGISLATURE, DEALING WITH THE IDEA OF LETTING PEOPLE SEE DOCTORS' PRESCRIBING HABITS. THAT IS A VERY CONTENTION ISSUE. HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THAT AT THE SOURCE?

>> AS I SAID BEFORE, I'M A STRONG YOU SUPPORTER OF PRIVACY RIGHTS UNDER EXISTING LAW, BUT, AGAIN, IT BAFFLES THE MIND THESE DRUGS CAN BE ENTERING THE SUPPLY STREAM FROM LICENSED FACILITIES. I THINK SOMEBODY SHOULD BE DONE TO INVESTIGATE HOW THAT CAN BE TAKING PLACE IN TERMS OF IS IT A MARKETING STRATEGY TO INCREASE IT? SOMEONE WAS TELLING ME THAT HIS MOTHER-IN-LAW OR BROTHER WAS GIVEN A 40 DAY PRESCRIPTION, AND THERE WERE 38 DAYS AVAILABLE OTHERWISE. THE STUDY IS THESE GET INTO THE MARKET FROM FAMILY MEMBERS GETTING TO THE MEDICINE CABINET AT HOME. A LOCK SHOULD BE DONE TO SHUT OFF THE SUPPLY AT THE SOURCE?

>> HOW?

>> SEEING ABOUT THE COMPANIES THEMSELVES AND TERMS OF METHODS OF DISTRIBUTION.

>> ONE OR BOTH OF YOUR OPPONENTS TO DIFFERENT DEGREES SUPPORT POLICE ACCESS WITHOUT A WARRANT TO THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG MONITORING DATABASE. TO ME THAT'S A PRIVACY ISSUE THERE, BUT IT GETS AT ONE SOLUTION. I MEAN, THAT IS ALSO SUPPORTED BY BOTH STATE POLICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE COMMISSIONER HAS SAID THAT, IN VERMONT, THIS PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE HAS REACHED A LEVEL THAT HE IS CALLING AN UPDEMIC. BUT YOU DON'T SUPPORT ACCESS. WHY NOT?

>> I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT TO RESPECT THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DOCTOR AND PATIENT. I THINK, HAVING SAID THAT, THERE ARE WAYS TO MEASURE THE QUANTITITY AND THE FREQUENCY BY WHICH PHYSICIANS ARE PRESCRIBING DRUGS RATHER THAN COMING AT IT FROM AN IMPORTANT VIEW AND INSIDING THE PRIVACY OF THE PATIENT ITSELF.

>> BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO ARE DOCTOR SHOPPING IS WHAT THEY CALL IT, AND THE STATE SAID THAT'S AN EFFECTIVE TOOL. SO HOW DO WE GET AT IT, THEN, IF WE DON'T GO AFTER THIS DATABASE?

>> WELL, I WOULD PUT TOGETHER A CONDITION WHICH WOULD INVOLVE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, PEOPLE FROM THE PROSECUTORIAL PERSPECTIVE AS WELL AS THE MEDICAL ESTABLISHMENT TO FIGURE OUT HOW IT IS THAT WE TURN OFF THE SUPPLY.

>> NOW THAT WAS POLICE HAVING ACCESS WITHOUT A WARRANT, IF THEY HAD TO GO THAT EXTRA STEP AND GET A WARRANT, WOULD YOU SUPPORT ACCESS?

>> I THINK IF THEY CAN DEMONSTRATE ADEQUATE PROBABLY CAUSE BEFORE A JUDGE, YES. AS CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER WE WOULD HAVE TO ALLOW THE WARRANT TO BE SERVED.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT VERMONT YANKEE, A COURT BATTLE THAT WHOEVER WINS THE OFFICE IS GOING TO HAVE TO DEAL WITH. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF BILL'S HANDLING OF THE CASE SO FAR?

>> I HAVE BEEN AGAINST VERMONT YANKEE'S OPERATION SINCE 1978. I OFFERED A BRIEF TO THE VERMONT SUPREME COURT IN 1978 ON BEHALF OF 15 VERMONTERS WHO ARE THE FIRST PEOPLE WHO WENT TO THE GATES OF THAT PLANT. HAVING SAID THAT, I HOPE THAT THE CASE CURRENTLY BEFORE THE SECOND CIRCUIT PREVAILS. I THINK IT HAS DISMAL CHANCES OF PREVAILING. THE REASON I SAY THAT IS THE FEDERAL APPEAL COURTS GENERALLY ARE RELUCTANT TO REVERSE FACT FINDING BY THE TRIAL JUDGE. JUDGE MURPHY IN HIS 120-PAGE DECISION CAREFULLY EVALUATED THE LEGISLATIVE RECORD AS TO THOSE TWO PIECES OF LEGISLATION AND FOUND A LOT OF -- BASICALLY CONCLUDED THEY HAD DRIFTED INTO THE QUESTION SAFETY. IT'S BIZARRE THE CITIZENS AND LEGISLATURE CANNOT ACT ON BEHALF OF THE PUBLIC AS TO THEIR SAFETY, THAT'S CALLED FEDERAL PREEMPTION. I DON'T THINK THAT CASE WILL PREVAIL BECAUSE THE CIRCUIT COURT WILL PROBABLY NOT REVERSE THETHE JUDGE. THE AROUND THE IS THE JUDGE HAD CREDIBLE EVIDENCE AND DID NOT ABUSE HIS DISCRETION, IT WILL BE REVERSED. I DISCHARGED MY CRIMINAL EXPERIENCE. BASED ON 30 YEARS BEFORE THE NATURAL RESOURCES BOARD, I'M FAMILIAR WITH THE REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN THIS CHARGE'S PERMIT. IT T THE PERMIT ALLOWS THEM TO RELEASE HUNDREDS OF GALLONS OF WATER INTO THE RIVER. I WOULD BE WORKING TO ENSURE THERE IS A CAUTIOUS AND CAREFUL REVIEW UNDER THE DISCHARGE PERMIT REGULATIONS. THE FACT THEY HAVE HAD PERMITS ISSUED SEVERAL TIMES OVER THE YEARS SHOULD NOT BE A PRESUMPTION THEY GET A DISCHARGE PERMIT RENEWABLE NOW. I SAY THAT THE PERMIT SHOULD BE DENIED AND WE PUT A CASE TOGETHER THAT WILL PREVAIL AND EVENTUALLY TURNING OFF THE DISCHARGE, THE PERMIT -- I'M SORRY -- THE PLANT WOULD HAVE TO CLOSE.

>> LET'S GO BACK IN TIME A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE, DURING THE PRIMARY BATTLE, THE DEMOCRAT NOMINEE WOULD BE T.J. DONELSON AND HIS BILL IS A CONCERN HE WOULD HIRE REAL EXPERTS TO ARGUE SOME OF THESE CASES. WOULD THAT BE YOUR APPROACH?

>> WELL, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE IS THE LARGEST LAW FIRM IN THE STATE. 75 PEOPLE WITH AN $8 MILLION BUDGET. THERE IS A LOT OF EXPERTISE IN THAT AGENCY. I WOULD BE EXTREMELY RELUCTANT TO HAVE TO LOOK FOR OUTSIDE EXPERTISE TO REPRESENT THE PEOPLE OF VERMONT. I SUPPOSE IT WOULD BE THESE RARE INSTANCES WHERE OUTSIDE COUNSEL WOULD HAVE TO BROUGHT IN AND THEY'RE MAKING A DISTINCTION BETWEEN OUTSIDE COUNSEL AND EXPERT WITNESSES. THE ISSUE WOULD WIRE EXPERT WITNESSES.

>> THERE IS AN ARGUMENT WHEN BILL SURELL WAS AT THE SUPREME COURT ARGUING CAMPAIGN FINANCE, HE ARGUED THAT BEFORE THE JUSTICES AND THE STATE LOST.

>> IF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HIM OR SELF HAS TO GO TO COURT, THERE IS A LITTLE SHOW BOATING BECAUSE THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN THE OFFICE WITH EXPERTISE. I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S PRIME ROLE IS ADMINISTERING THE LAW FIRM, ESTABLISHING POLICY AND SETTING DIRECTION. IN RESPONSE TO YOUR QUESTION, I WOULDN'T SEE THE NEED IN PURSUIT OF THE DISCHARGE PERMIT TO HIRE OUTSIDE EXPERTISE IN TERMS OF A LAW FIRM. I THINK THE STATE IS CAPABLE OF DOING IT ITSELF.

>> IS IT WORTH THE 4 MILLION TO $8 MILLION TO CONTINUE TO ARGUE THE CASE?

>> MY PERSONAL OPINION IS NO.

>> YOU ARE AN EVIDENT OPPONENT TO NUCLEAR.

>> I CERTAINLY AM BUT ALSO PRETTY CONSERVATIVE WHEN IT COMES TO WATCHING THE WALLET. AND SO WHETHER WE CONTINUE PURSUING IT OR NOT COMES DOWN TO AN EVALUATION OF WHAT'S THE LIKELIHOOD OF PREVAILING IN THE APPEAL VERSUS THE EXPENSE. NOW, I UNDERSTAND THE BRIEFS HAVE BEEN FILED, SO THIS MAY ALREADY BE ACADEMIC. I THINK THEY'RE AT THE POINT OF JUST AWAITING THE RESPONSE BRIEFS TO COME IN, IN WHICH CASE I THINK THE EXPENSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN ACCRUED.

>> SOMETHING ELSE THAT HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS, DOES THE STATE POLICE NEED TO REVIEW ITS TASER POLICY?

>> I SERVED SIX YEARS AS THE PRESIDENT OF THE VERMONT ASSOCIATION AND AT THAT TIME THE POLICE WERE PART OF THE UNION AND THE CORRECTIONAL OFFICER STILL ARE. I BECAME SENSITIVE TO THE FACT THAT, NUMBER ONE, THERE IS INDEED EVIL IN THE WORLD AND THE POLICE HAVE A DIFFICULT JOB, PARTICULARLY ON THE THIRD SHIFT. IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A STATE POLICE OFFICER BEING CALLED OUT 3:00 IN THE MORNING PARTICULARLY TO SOMETHING LIKE A DOMESTIC DISPUTE, THE OFFICER WILL BE AT RISK. BUT HAVING SAID ALL THAT, THERE IS QUITE A TOOLBOX FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, EVERYTHING RANGING FROM BODY ARMOR TO SHIELDS. THEY ARE SHORT-STAFFED. SOMETIMES ON THAT THIRD SHIFT THE BACKUP OFFICER MIGHT BE 100 MILES AWAY BEFORE THEY CAN GET THERE.

>> WHAT IS THIRD SHIFT?

>> THE THIRD SHIFT IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE EVENING FROM MIDNIGHT TO 7:00 IN THE MORNING. SO MY POINT IS THIS -- I THINK THAT THE STATE PLEASE ADVISORY COMMISSION NEEDS TO REVISIT THE TASER POLICY. I THINK THE CURRENT POLICY IS INADEQUATE, INAPPROPRIATE AND I'M NOT TOTALLY CONVINCED WE NEED TASERS AS PART OF THE TOOLBOX FOR POLICE.

>> SO REVIEW THE POLICY BUT YOU'RE NOT SURE TASERS ARE HELPFUL?

>> WELL, THEY ARE A HELPFUL TOOL IN TERMS OF AN OFFICER WHO FEELS IT SHOULD BE USED TO PREVENT PERSONAL INJURY. THAT'S WHAT THE POLICY IS NOW, AMONG OTHER THINGS. BUT I THINK THERE ARE OTHER MEANS BY WHICH THE POLICE CAN DO THEIR JOB WITHOUT MAKING USE OF WHAT'S NOW BECOMING A LETHAL WEAPON. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED DUE TO THE USE OF TASERS.

>> AND SEGUEING OFF THAT TOPIC TO OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS TYPICALLY FALL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND STATE'S ATTORNEY IN A COUNTY TO REVIEW THE CASES AS WITH TASERS, BUT WE SEEM TO HAVE THIS -- I DON'T WANT TO CALL IT AN EPIDEMIC, BUT A SERIES OF SUICIDE BY COP SITUATIONS, AND THE PUBLIC SEEMS TO FEEL THAT POLICE ARE JUST GIVING THESE FOLKS WHAT THEY WANT AND PERHAPS THEY SHOULD STEP BACK BEFORE REACTING. AND THESE ARE CASES THAT WOULD TYPICALLY THEN FALL ON THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR REVIEW. WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THAT?

>> I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS A RESPONSIBILITY TO INVESTIGATE ANYTIME THERE IS A DEATH RESULTING FROM ACTIONS ON POLICE FORCE. THEY HAVE TO BE DILIGENT BUT ALSO TRANSPARENT. I'M NOT SURE THERE IS A NEED TO KEEP THE INVESTIGATIONS CONFIDENTIAL. IF THERE IS BEEN A DEATH OR AN ACT BY A POLICE OFFICER, I THINK THE PUBLIC HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW WHAT TOOK PLACE.

>> SOME OF THE PUBLIC ALSO CRITICIZES POLICE WHO ARE DOING THE INVESTIGATION AND THEN THE ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR NOT ASKING THE TOUGH QUESTIONS OF THEIR FELLOW FOLKS IN LAW ENFORCEMENT. DO YOU THINK THAT THOSE QUESTIONS NEED TO BE MORE POINTED, THAT THEY NEED TO BE GRILLED MORE STRINGENTLY IN SITUATIONS LIKE THIS?

>> I THINK, WHENEVER THERE IS A DEATH, THE POLICE ARE AS EQUAL AS YOU OR I IN TERMS OF WHAT IS THE CAUSE, WHAT IS THE EFFECT AND WHAT WERE THE CIRCUMSTANCES. IN THE INTEREST OF FULL DISCLOSURE, MY BROTHER IS A RETIRED LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER AND, AS I SAID BEFORE, I AM SENSITIVE TO WHAT THE POLICE HAVE TO PUT UP WITH. BUT IF A CITIZEN IN VERMONT IS SOMEHOW KILLED AS A RESULT OF POLICE ACTION, I THINK THERE IS AN OVERRIDING RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE A FULL INVESTIGATION OF WHAT TOOK PLACE AND DISCLOSE THAT TO THE PUBLIC.

>> YOU'RE MENTIONING SORT OF THE ROLE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL YOU WANT TO CHANGE TO BE MORE OF AN ACTIVIST. HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH THAT IN TYPICALLY, IT'S BEEN MORE ABOUT ENFORCING THE LAWS TO HAVE THE STATE AND THE LAWS PASSED BY THE -- THE LAWS OF THE STATE AND THE LAWS PASSED BY LEGISLATURE.

>> THE ROLE OF ATTORNEY GENERAL IS DEFINED BY STATUTE. I'M AWARE OF THAT. BUT I THINK THERE IS ROOM FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO BE MORE ACTIVE IN TERMS OF SPEAKING OUT IN FRONT OF THE LEGISLATURE AND SUGGESTING NEW LAWS TO ADDRESS THE TIMES WE LIVE IN AS WELL AS SPEAKING OUT IN THE LARGER COMMUNITY. I THINK THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS -- THAT OFFICE IS THE EQUIVALENT OF VERMONT'S DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND I THINK, IN THAT CONTEXT, THE ONLY ENTITY WHICH WOULD BE ABLE TO CONVEY TO PEOPLE THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE ISSUES THAT WE FACE AT THIS TIME AND WHAT'S SOME POSSIBLE REMEDIES COULD BE.

>> YOU MENTION YOU WANT TO LEGALIZE MARIJUANA. IF ELECTED, HOW WOULD YOU ACCOMPLISH THAT?

>> IT WOULD BE AN ACT OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. I WANTED TO NOTE, TOO, THIS IS NO LONGER A RADICAL CONCEPT, JUDGE POSNER IN THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT FEDERAL APPEALS COURT IN CHICAGO, AN APPOINTEE BY RONALD REAGAN, SPEAKING OUT ON THE WAR ON DRUGS AS A SHAMEFUL WASTE OF RESOURCES AND SPECIFICALLY CALLS FOR THE LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANA. FORMER JURRJENS GENERAL JOES LYNN ELDERS HAS TAKEN THAT POSITION. THERE IS A ASSOCIATION CALLED "LEAP," ALSO. STUDIES INDICATE THERE IS HARDLY ANY HARMFUL EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA COMPARED TO OTHER DRUGS. THE POINT IS THE LEGISLATURE WOULD HAVE TO ACT ON THE FEDERAL LAWS PROHIBITING THE USE OF MARIJUANA. THE LABORATORY FOR CHANGE HAS TO BEGIN SOMEWHERE. ON NOVEMBER 6, THREE OTHER STATES, OREGON, WASHINGTON, COLORADO, ARE VOTING ON A LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTS.

>> IF YOU CAN'T GET AS FAR AS LEGALIZATION AND TAXATION, WOULD YOU PUSH DECRIMINALIZATION?

>> I THINK THAT WOULD BE A COMPROMISED POSITION. I'M AWARE THAT THE OTHER TWO CANDIDATES ARE ADVOCATING FOR CRIMINALIZATION. I THINK THAT WOULD BE BETTER THAN NOTHING.

>> DECRIMINALIZATION.

>> DECRIMINALIZATION. THERE ARE 300 OR 400 PEOPLE IN WHO GET ARRESTED FOR SMALL CRIMES LIKE MARIJUANA, BUT THEN A DOWNWARD SPIRAL. IT'S DIFFICULT TO GET A STUDENT LOAN OR A JOB AND THEY ENTER THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM. I SEE THAT ENTRY INTO THE CRIMINAL SYSTEM AS ANOTHER ECONOMIC JUSTICE ISSUE. I THINK THOSE YOUNG PEOPLE NEED SKILL SETS, NEED TO BUILD THEIR SELF-ESTEEM TO BE MEMBERS OF SOCIETY.

>> WHAT DO YOU THINK BILL SURELL HAS DONE THAT HE SHOULD BE FIRED?

>> I DON'T THINK IT'S SO MUCH THAT HE SHOULD BE FIRED. I THINK WE LOOK THROUGH A LENS OF DIFFERENT CAPACITIES OF WHAT THE JOB DESCRIPTION IS.

>> YOU'RE NOT A MEMBER OF THE BAR.

>> THE LEGISLATURE SAID THE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERALS MUST BE MEMBERS TO HAVE THE BAR. I HAVE 35 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN VERMONT, CRIMINAL LAW, PROPERTY LAW, ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AND MORE, BUT IT GIVES ME A MORE SOLID GROUNDING OF OUT THERE IN THE REAL WORLD SO TO SPEAK COMPARED TO THE RARE ATMOSPHERE SOMEONE HAS BEING INVOLVED JUST FROM A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE.

>> SO IF A LARGE CASE CAME UP, SUCH AS VERMONT YANKEE, WHO WOULD ARGUE THE CASE?

>> I SUPPOSE SINCE THERE IS THAT FENCE IN THE COURTROOM YOU CAN'T CROSS IF YOU'RE NOT AN ATTORNEY, WOULD BE THE DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL OR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL. HAVING SAID THAT, A LOT OF THE PREPARATION TAKES PLACE BEFORE YOU EVEN ENTER THE COURTROOM ITSELF.

>> WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

>> WELL, IN TERMS OF THE STRATEGY, THE LEGAL PRINCIPLES TO BE EMPLOYED, HOW THE ARGUMENT IS COUCHED, ALL THAT TAKES PLACE EVEN BEFORE ENTERING THE COURTROOM. SO MUCH OF IT IS FILING THE MEMORANDUM OF LAW, BUILDING THE EVIDENTIARY BASIS FOR THE CASE.

>> NEVER HAVING BEEN TO LAW SCHOOL, DO YOU THINK YOU'RE QUALIFIED TO DO THAT?

>> I DID A FOUR YEAR PROGRAM CALLED READING LAW UNDER THE SUPREME COURT. TAUGHT LEGAL RESEARCH FOR 15 YEARS. SOME OF MY STUDENTS ARE MEMBERS TO HAVE THE VERMONT JUDICIARY ITSELF AND OTHER STUDENTS ARE SCATTERED ACROSS A BROAD SECTION OF PUBLIC AGENCIES AND PRIVATE LAW FIRMS.

>> WHY DID YOU NEVER DECIDE TO BECOME A MEMBER OF THE VERMONT BAR?

>> WELL, IT'S A FAMILY STORY. I WAS ABOUT TO STUDY FOR THE BAR. MY WIFE WAS PREGNANT WITH TWINS, I HAD NO HEALTH INSURANCE AND IT WAS A PRAGMATIC DECISION, I HAD TO GET A JOB WITH THE STATE TO GET HEALTH BENEFITS.

>> ANY THOUGHTS OF RETURNING? I KNOW YOUR GIRLS ARE GROWN NOW.

>> AT THE RIPE AGE OF 62, I DON'T HAVE MUCH INTEREST IN HUNKERING DOWN TO STUDY FOR THE BAR EXAM. I DON'T SEE THE NEED FOR IT TO TELL YOU THE TRUTH.

>> WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY BETWEEN NOW AND THE ELECTION?

>> TO CONTINUE TO TAP INTO A LOT OF GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS I'VE WORKED WITH OVER THE LAST 40 YEARS IN VERMONT, SEEING IF WE CAN MOBILIZE THE BASE, HAVING PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THEY WOULD HAVE AN ADVOCATE ON THEIR BEHALF FOR ECONOMIC JUSTICE ISSUES AND STEPPING UP TO THE LARGE CORPORATIONS. SOME PEOPLE THINK IT'S THEATRICS. BUT I FEEL THE THREAT OF LARGE FOR PROFIT CORPORATIONS TO DEMOCRACY IN VERMONT IS REAL. THEY INFLUENCE THE PROCESS DURING AND AFTER THE ELECTIONS IN TERMS OF HAVING EFFECTS ON ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES AND I WOULD PURSUE THE SIMPLE CHANGE OF THE DEFINITION OF "PERSON" UNDER VERMONT LAW. MY WEB SITE HAS A DETAILED DISCUSSION OF THE 14th AMENDMENT AND HOW IT IS THAT WE RUN UP IN THE STRANGE SITUATION WITH THE 14th AMENDMENT WHICH HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH GIVING RIGHTS TO FORMER SLAVES WAS WARPED AND TWISTED INTO PROVIDING PERSONHOOD FOR CORPORATIONS. THERE IS A GOOD EXAMPLE ON BEHALF OF THE GRASSROOTS ORGANIZATIONS STRIPPING AWAY THE POLITICAL SPEECH RIGHTS OF CORPORATIONS SO THEY DON'T HAVE THE SAME EFFECTIVENESS OR POWER IN THE ELECTION AS DO NATURAL PERSONS.

>> THE PROGRESSIVE RUNNING FOR ATTORNEY GENERAL. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> FACES TWO MAIN CHALLENGERS, JACK MULLIN, DEMOCRAT, AND BILL SURRELL. I THANK JENNIFER READING FOR JOINING IN THE QUESTION. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY, EVERYONE. TAKE CARE. CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY CAPTION ASSOCIATES, LLC WWW.CAPTIONASSOCIATES.COM.

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