Maricopa County Attorney Election: Allister Adel And Julie Gunnigle
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Maricopa County Attorney Election Has Already Made Arizona History

Both candidates are calling for reform in the criminal justice system, but regardless of who wins, either will make history as the first woman elected to this position.

7320
The Maricopa County Attorney Election Has Already Made Arizona History
Allister Adel & Julie Gunnigle / Twitter

For the first time in the state's history, Arizona will elect a woman as the Maricopa County Attorney.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Allister Adel to the position last year, but this election marks the first time women will be representing both parties on the ballot. Democratic challenger Julie Gunnigle will face Republican incumbent Adel this November in a bid for the prosecutorial seat of the nation's fourth-largest county.

The election comes in the midst of a politically turbulent time for the country, whose reverberations are felt in the streets of Phoenix. Protesters took to the streets the weekend of October 3 to dissent Adel's decision to not charge the DPS officer responsible for Dion Johnson's death.

As increased attention turns toward police violence in Arizona, more focus than ever has been placed on reform within Arizona's criminal justice system.

The weight of this election has not been lost on Julie Gunnigle, who said she aims to be the first Democrat elected to this position in 40 years. In a candidate meet and greet with Ahwatukee residents last Thursday, she outlined some key features of her reform plan, including increased police accountability, a focus on education in juvenile detention centers, and more community involvement.

"It is my calling and something my mama taught me very early in life — what it means to be in public service," Gunnigle said.

A study done by The Arizona Republic showed that Phoenix led the nation in police shootings per city with 44 in 2018. The trend of police violence has yet to slow down in Phoenix. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office reported 39 officer-involved shootings in 2020 as of September 30. At least one of those shootings occurred in Ahwatukee, with protesters gathering outside the Maricopa County Attorney's Office on Monday to demand justice for the death of Ryan Whitaker.

"That's one of the reasons I'm running now," Gunnigle said. "I don't think we have enough accountability in our government."

If elected, Gunnigle has said she hopes to hold law enforcement accountable by having a full and transparent Brady list and an independent, community-involved unit to investigate police use of force. Gunnigle also wants to tackle the racial disparities within the system.

"Our county has some of the biggest racial disparities in the nation when it comes to policing and prosecution," Gunnigle said. "The biggest differentiator I see between myself and my opponent is that I'm willing to acknowledge it."

A study done by the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona in 2018 showed that Blacks and Hispanics prosecuted by the Maricopa County Attorney's Office spent more time behind bars than white people. It also showed that 11.2% of white people had their cases dismissed compared to 10.6% of Black cases and 8.4% of Hispanic ones.

For Lori Vanover, a fourth-generation Arizonan who now lives in Ahwatukee, these statistics are undeniable.

"I truly believe that brown-skinned people are treated differently in our current justice system," Vanover said in an email. "There is racial bias. To deny it is ignorant or intentional. There is social injustice that must be rectified."

Gunnigle has said she hopes to address some of these inequalities by reforming drug prosecution and increasing education in juvenile systems. Gunnigle also has committed to ending cash bail.

Rather than focus on non-violent, low-level drug offenses, she believes resources need to be reallocated to treatment programs in order to focus on rehabilitation.

"You can't incarcerate an addiction out of someone just as you can't incarcerate a mental health issue out of someone," Gunnigle said. "What we need to be doing is investing in treatment and in deflection and diversion programs that work."

Gunnigle has also said she hopes to end the school-to-prison pipeline by taking a closer look at children within the criminal justice system. She committed to reviewing the placement of officers inside schools and focusing on funding public education.

"The best thing we can do if we believe in our children and we believe in ending the school-to-prison pipeline is to fully fund public education," Gunnigle said. "That is the greatest predictor of whether or not a child will live forever in our criminal justice system."

Gunnigle's opponent, Allister Adel, also has similar issues on her mind going into the election, but the two differ on the extent of their reforms. Adel, however, has said she shares Gunnigle's desire to implement more mental health services and focus on treatment programs.

In a tweet shared on October 5, Adel highlighted her elimination of the $630 diversion fee and her Treatment First approach to drug possession cases as some of the reforms she has implemented.

In terms of police accountability, Adel created the Conviction Integrity Unit, which investigates potential inappropriate police conduct and other allegations of prosecutorial misconduct. Earlier this year, she also added citizens to the Critical Incident Review Committee, which reviews police use of force incidents.

Adel also has spoken out in support of mandatory body cameras for all uniformed officers.

"As a prosecutor, I understand the importance of capturing body-worn camera footage when considering a charging decision," Adel said in an email. "That is why I support mandated use of body-worn cameras for all law enforcement officers throughout the state. It is critical that we get these resources deployed statewide as soon as possible."

For Ahwatukee resident Michael Scheller, who has lived in the city since 1992, he considers body cameras a "must."

"We need this video evidence to exonerate good police work and prosecute when needed," Scheller said in an email.

The direction in which this reform goes will be determined by citizens like Scheller in the election on November 3, 2020.

Report this Content
Lifestyle

Where To Find The Best Coffee Drinks In America, According To A Survey

Here's the coffee shop where you should get your morning brew.

231435

Coffee, for billions of people, is one of the only things that can get us out of bed (after hitting snooze a time or two), especially in 2020. Because, if we're being honest, is there anything that beats a quality cup of coffee on those mornings when all we wanted to do is roll over and go back to sleep? The answer is no. And if you're headed to a coffee shop to pick up your caffeinated beverage, you don't want to sleep on the best coffee drinks in America.

According to LiveShopper Sassie's Coffee Project survey, when it comes to chain coffee shops, there are definitely preferred spots you'll want to hit up for your go-to order — whether you order the classic, frozen, or flavored coffee, an espresso, tea, or other. To figure out the hot spots, 1,000 coffee drinkers across the United States took to LiveShopper's mobile app, PrestoShopper, to answer various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

The Best Bagel Recipes For Every Personality Type, In Case You Need Another Excuse To Eat Carbs

I'll approve of pasta for breakfast any day, but this is more socially acceptable.

5862
NBC

I've had times in my life at which I've told myself I need to cut out carbs. Those moments last about a minute or two before I start daydreaming about rice and pasta.

Bagels hold a special place in my heart — for many of my college friends and me, a bagel sandwich was the go-to breakfast after a long night of drinking. Years later, I still love to indulge in the occasional carb-filled breakfast. As much as I love putting in an UberEats order from bed, nothing beats the feeling of pulling some fresh-baked bread or pastries out of the oven.

Keep Reading... Show less
Content Inspiration

Survey: Which Issues Are The Most Important To You In The 2020 Election

If you're a first-time voter or voting by mail for the first time, we want to hear your story.

82257

The general election on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, will decide not only the next president of the United States but also which political party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. Young and first-time voters will play a crucial part in determining the result.

Keep Reading... Show less
Tips

Articles To Write If You're All About Saving More Money, And Waking Up A Little Bit Earlier

Get your day started right — and keep that budget tight.

217870

For all the young professionals, parents, and students out there who've been working, learning, or even teaching remote — 2020 has likely been the longest year of your life. If you didn't know (sorry), we've been locked down for over 200 days now, and chances are, you are ready for it to be OVER.

Keep Reading... Show less

Scrolling through Instagram can get stale after a while, especially if you're constantly refreshing in the hopes of finding something new and exciting. Should you be looking to add some inspiration to your timeline in the form of self-love tips, relationship advice, or love secrets, here are 11 relationship coaches you'll LOVE following.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

How Much Of A Coffee Snob You Are, Based On Where You Live

Your state may determine how picky you are about your coffee.

130922

When it comes to coffee, everyone has different criteria for what goes into their "perfect cup." Some caffeine lovers, though, are extra particular when it comes to their beloved beverage. One survey found that the state you're from (or the one you live in now) may play a part in determining how much of a coffee snob you actually are.

LiveShopper Sassie, the company behind this Coffee Project survey, received input from 1,000 coffee drinkers via their mobile app, PrestoShopper, to ask various questions about their coffee drinking habits and preferences. In return, these survey respondents got money back for their coffee — something any user who downloads the app can do as well (yes, even you).

Keep Reading... Show less

If you are a college freshman, or new to college, this is for you. If you are in a new time in life where you don't know where this change is going to take you, where you might not have your community yet, this is for you. Or even if you are stuck in a rut of everyday life where the new normal is quarantine and isolation, this is also for you.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

As Illinois Reaches Its Highest Death Toll Since June, I Urge You To Stay Home And Wear Your Mask

69 COVID-19 deaths were recorded in a twenty-four-hour period, the highest amount since June of this year.

483
Photo by Noah on Unsplash

As we are approaching colder weather, we are also approaching a spike in COVID-19 cases throughout the state of Illinois. On October 21, 2020, Illinois recorded its largest daily COVID-19 death toll since June of this year. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, 69 deaths of people who contracted COVID-19 were recorded within a twenty-four-hour period, raising the state's death toll to 9,345 since the start of the pandemic.

Keep Reading... Show less

When "Mean Girls" said "In girl world, Halloween is the one time of the year where you can dress up like a total slut and no one can do or say anything about it," they were damn right. Halloween is the perfect excuse to buy that raunchy costume and show your partner that you're that B. Coming from a very single (yes, very single) 20 something-year-old, I have already got my Halloween costume on lock, and now you will too.

Not only are these 10 Halloween costumes dangerously sexy, but you can wear them in the bedroom whenever you want to give your boo a surprise, yes, year-round. Whoever said you can only dress up on Halloween is seriously disturbed.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ariana Grande released her first single called "positions" since "boyfriend" with Social House and it is a BANGER. This song is absolutely incredible and I am SURE you will agree with me once you listen.

I'm a sucker for a single with a video and that's exactly what we got. Ariana's been pretty quiet during the pandemic, and we all assumed she was working on some new music, and we were right.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

Rejection Of Black Lives Matter Mural By Phoenix City Council Doesn’t Stop Gizette Knight

The Phoenix City Council rejected a proposal for a Black Lives Matter Mural in downtown Phoenix. But Gizette Knight says this is not the end.

394
Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Community organizer Gizette Knight, CEO of Reality Dreams LLC, is not giving up on the Phoenix City Council's rejection of the Black Lives Matter mural.

Keep Reading... Show less

For me, chai isn't just what I drink — it's a core part of who I am. Sure, I'll switch it up every now and then with a cup of English Breakfast, Earl Grey, rose, or Darjeeling, but I always come back to chai.

Nearly every tea lover has one tea they repeatedly drink and go back to, whether it's a daily morning ritual or an afternoon pick-me-up. One of my good friends has almost eight cups of jasmine tea every single day — she drinks more tea than water, actually.

Keep Reading... Show less

In a world where physical contact is a liability, the ease of slipping into despair and isolation has never been so tempting. Perhaps the greatest kindness we can lend to one another is reaching out to the people that meant something to us before everything changed. Here's why you should message your friend today.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments