In a press launch in the present day, San Luis Obispo County District Legal professional Dan Dow publicly shared his responses to the San Luis Obispo Tribune questions (daring italic) about why he issued a declaration that he wouldn’t prosecute individuals for singing in homes of worship.
How did you come to talk at this occasion and who was the occasion for (i.e. was this associated to any political celebration, group, and so forth.)?
I attend this public occasion at Sculpterra Vineyard yearly on July 4, as a visitor of the proprietor who supplies a free Independence Day celebration to all individuals from the group. The proprietor has requested me every year to deal with the gathering and to speak about our nation’s freedom and the significance of celebrating Independence Day. The occasion features a traditional automobile present, free meals, and dwell music.
Why did you’re feeling the necessity to declare SLO County a Sanctuary County for worship?
As a result of Governor Newsom’s Public Well being Division introduced three days earlier, on July 1, that homes of religion should cease singing throughout their worship companies. As District Legal professional, it’s my obligation to train my prosecutorial discretion in a way that’s simply and acceptable. Upon listening to of the brand new directive, I used to be compelled to take a place on what I’d do if a case was dropped at my workplace.
I’m firmly dedicated to the precept that it could be a extreme injustice for my workplace to cost an individual with against the law who has merely chosen to observe their religion by singing in church. In different phrases, it could merely NOT be within the curiosity of justice to prosecute somebody for singing of their place of worship.
Lastly, I name on all individuals of each religion in our county, our state, our Nation and the World to hope for peace, to hope for therapeutic, to hope for a remedy for the coronavirus that has devastated individuals everywhere in the globe.
Is it inside your authority to take action?
Sure, the prosecution of legal offenses on behalf of the Individuals of the State of California is the only real accountability of the general public prosecutor who has sole discretion to find out whom to cost, what prices to file and pursue, and what punishment to hunt. The prosecutor’s personal discretion isn’t topic to judicial management. (Dix v. Superior Court docket (1991) 53 Cal.3d 442)
The district lawyer of every county independently workout routines all the manager department’s discretionary powers within the initiation and conduct of legal proceedings. (Individuals ex rel. Youthful v. Superior Court docket (1978) 86 Cal.App.3d 180)
Have you ever been receiving communications from the general public asking you to take this stand?
No, though I’ve been requested by many about whether or not they may very well be charged with against the law and what would occur to them in the event that they sing in a worship service in violation of the steering.
Have there been any cases of the county cracking down on gatherings of worship?
The Public Well being Division has knowledgeable leaders within the religion group, and the group at massive, that locations of worship might not train singing or chanting.
In your open letter to the religion group, you mentioned the county wouldn’t implement gathering restriction till there was additional clarification from the upper courtroom. However SCOTUS dominated in help of the California restrictions Could 30, earlier than these feedback. Have you ever modified your thoughts?
Your reference to my Could 21, 2020 letter is inaccurate. I mentioned, “this workplace won’t search legal enforcement for alleged violations involving those that meet in-person for non secular functions throughout Part 2 of the reopening plan as long as social distancing and different well being tips are adopted.”
The California prohibition considerably modified after I wrote my letter and earlier than the Supreme Court docket’s ruling, which was made on a uniquely completely different subject than was introduced after I wrote my letter.
I strongly encourage homes of worship to comply with all the well being steering issued by the state so as to cut back the probability of spreading the coronavirus apart from the advice of not assembly in individual and never singing.
I’m satisfied that it could be severely unjust to hunt legal enforcement in opposition to a person attending a service at their home of worship or a member of the clergy for performing their essential management duties.
Is that this message per the county’s Public Well being directives?
It is a query for County well being officers to reply.
You look like nodding when the gentleman within the American shirt says there is no such thing as a systematic racism in SLO County. Do you agree with that assertion?
Please hearken to Scott Peterson’s whole assertion. He didn’t say there is no such thing as a racism in SLO County. He clearly mentioned that there’s racism within the nation, however he hasn’t seen it in legislation enforcement. His assertion is: “I’ve been a cop for 26 years now, and uh, I do know plenty of cops, I actually do. And uh, this complete thought of systemic racism, I do know that there’s racism on this nation, however as a person who has been within the career for a really very long time, I simply haven’t seen it.” That’s completely Mr. Peterson’s assertion expressing his distinctive life expertise as a legislation enforcement officer, not mine.
Sadly, I do know all too effectively that racism exists within the coronary heart of human beings of each race and each background and it’s right here in our county identical to it’s in each place the place human beings dwell throughout the globe. As District Legal professional, I take racism very critically. Below my management, we have now prosecuted quite a few cases of what we name “hate crimes” the place proof of racism is commonly the figuring out issue. A “hate crime” is outlined in Penal Code 422.55 as a legal act dedicated due to one of many following traits of the sufferer: incapacity, gender, nationality, race or ethnicity, faith, sexual orientation, affiliation with an individual or group with a number of of those precise or perceived traits.
I’m firmly dedicated to uprooting racism wherever it may be discovered, whether or not within the legal justice system or wherever else.
Not saying that is the case, however the level has been raised again and again, particularly in relation to (Sheriff) Ian’s (Parkinson) video, that SLO County’s elected officers will say issues earlier than personal teams that they wouldn’t say to the bigger public they serve. How come nearly all of residents have to listen to your tackle this from a personal video?
This was not a personal group. In reality, it’s been a extensively attended public occasion that draws tons of of individuals on the Fourth of July every year. The occasion will get greater and greater yearly and is a illustration of American patriotism and celebrating freedom. The unique video isn’t personal and has been posted on YouTube since July 5, 2020. The edited video you have been supplied was put collectively by a political opponent in an try and construe my feedback in a false gentle.
Lastly, since I’ve you, the query has been raised to me and on social media: Given your social media publish through the July 21 Freeway shutdown, do you see any battle at this level within the Arata/Bautista instances?
And maybe you need to reply to this quote from [Supervisor] Bruce Gibson, since I didn’t precisely ask a query on the separation of church and state intersecting with public coverage subject: “This seems to be one other of our elected legislation enforcement officers taking part in to his far-right base — besides what’s fairly regarding is that it seems the DA is imposing his non secular beliefs to determine which California legal guidelines he’ll select to implement. That calls into severe query whether or not he has the neutral judgment essential for his place.”
It’s unlucky that the Supervisor is keen to broadly describe individuals of religion as being “far-right.” Issues of religion are private and know no political boundary; exercising prudent prosecutorial discretion in each sort of case is strictly what the voters elected me to do. Whereas the duty of exercising discretion isn’t at all times simple, I can’t apologize for declining to prosecute individuals for singing of their home of worship regardless of the religion represented. I’m very grateful to have deep friendships with individuals of all faiths inside our numerous group and I welcome constructive dialog with all members of our group, even with Supervisor Gibson.
Dow included a video response as effectively:
Getting by way of this collectively, Atascadero
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