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Incumbent Alayne Bean running against Randy Neal for Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney

East Idaho Elects

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IDAHO FALLS—Two candidates are hoping to become the Republican party nominee in the race for Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney.

Incumbent H. Alayne Bean is running against opponent Randy Neal.

EastIdahoNews.com sent the same eight questions to each candidate. Their unedited responses were required to be 250 words or less.

Tell us about yourself — include information about your family, career, education, volunteer work and any prior experience in public office.

Bean: My work as a prosecutor is my passion. I’ve dedicated my entire career to serving the citizens of Bonneville County. This is important to me because three of my four children live here, likely my grandchildren will live here, too. I am serving on the Idaho State Bar Seventh District Board, the Eagle Rock Inns of Court Board, and the Behavioral Health Crisis Center Board. I am also a faculty member for the Idaho Prosecuting Attorneys Association.

Neal:

  • 38 years overall in law enforcement and the law.
  • 18 years as a law enforcement officer.
  • 20 years as an attorney.
  • 7 years as a prosecutor (state and federal).
  • Graduated with honors William S. Boyd School of Law (UNLV).
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Brigham Young University.
  • Born in Gooding, Idaho, raised on a small farm in Tuttle, graduated from Twin Falls High School.
  • Certified as a peace officer, instructor and expert witness in law enforcement subject matters in Utah, Texas, Nevada and Idaho.
  • Founded my own law practice, admitted to practice law in eleven jurisdictions and have represented clients throughout the country.
  • Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court and have argued before the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth and Federal Circuits; and the Idaho and Utah Court of Appeals.
  • Republican Precinct Committee Officer and member of the Regional and State Central Committees.
  • Volunteer Reserve Deputy Sheriff and E.M.T.
  • Past officer, Eagle Rock Inns of Court (a legal education organization).
  • Past Commander, local veteran support organization, (not named to maintain its political neutrality).
  • Pro Bono CASA Guardian Ad Litem (Child Protection cases).
  • Church Missionary, Ward Leadership, Boy Scout/youth programs adult leader, Children’s program instructor, Sunday School Instructor.

What are your proudest accomplishments in your personal life or career?

Bean: In my position as Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney and before, I have been an advocate for victims of violent and sexual crimes. It is extremely fulfilling for me when I am able to file a case so that the victim can see their perpetrator face the criminal justice system and work towards getting accountability for the harm the perpetrator caused. I was also honored when my boss, former Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney, Daniel R. Clark, chose me among all the candidates to be his Chief Deputy Prosecutor. I was honored again when our Bonneville County Commissioners unanimously appointed me to replace him as Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney. On a personal note, I am the mother of four wonderful children. I am also a mother-in-law and it is incredibly fulfilling to see my family grow in this way.

Neal:

  • My father abandoned my mother shortly before my birth, leaving her to raise seven children in the humblest of circumstances.
  • Graduated from High School an Eagle Scout, a member of the National Honor Society, Boys State and YMCA Youth and Government delegate.
  • First in my family to graduate college, I earned scholarships and worked through school, graduating without a dime of debt.
  • Worked as a Deputy Sheriff, University Police Officer, Investigator in the Prosecutor’s Office, and a federal law enforcement officer for the National Park Service, in six different states.
  • I graduated law school at 40-years-old, with honors 4th in my class, again without a dime of debt by earning scholarships and working full time.
  • My first job in the law was with the prestigious Office of Legal Counsel at the Headquarters of the United States Justice Department in Washington D.C., working with the team of lawyers responsible for legal advice to the President, Attorney General and Executive Branch of the United States.
  • I was recruited to the Bonneville County Prosecutor’s Office where I was lead counsel on more than 20 felony jury trials.
  • Named Prosecutor of the Year (2007).
  • Founded my own solo law firm 12 years ago.
  • Named to America’s Top 100 Attorneys and Top Lawyers in Idaho for the last NINE years, Client Distinction/Champion awards SIX times from Martindale-Hubbell.

Why are you a member of the Republican party? Briefly explain your political platform.

Bean: I am a member of the Republican Party because I believe in limited government and personal responsibility. Those who lead our government, be it state or federal, should empower people to develop their own abilities, which will lead to greater achievement in our country.

Neal: I am a republican because I believe in:

  • Personal responsibility and Accountability.
  • Maximizing individual choice and freedom and minimizing government interference and taxation.
  • That life is sacred, and there is worth in all individuals.
  • That the U.S. Constitution is an inspired document, and that its protection is the primary responsibility of all elected officials.
  • That all citizens have the right to be heard.
  • That all citizens have the right to worship according to their own faith and conscience.
  • That America succeeds when the majority of its citizens have adhered to conservative values and principles.
  • That the right to self defense and the defense of others is a natural right we are all born with, and our individual right to keep and bear arms must not be interfered with in matters of self defense, the common defense of our community and to resist tyranny as our founding fathers found it necessary at the birth of
    our nation.
  • That elected officials must protect families and parental rights to choose what is best for their children.
  • That political decisions should be made with transparency, with civil discussion and mutual respect.
  • That managing public funds is a sacred trust, and nothing should be spent on anything which is not absolutely necessary to protect our community or fulfill the purposes of government set forth in the Preamble to the United States and Idaho Constitutions.
  • That there is honor in humble, selfless public service.

Please explain the role and responsibilities of the position you are running for?

Bean: The Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney is the attorney for Bonneville County. I represent the County on both criminal and civil matters. The attorneys in the Criminal Division prosecute crimes in the County, from traffic infractions to homicides. They also prosecute all felonies committed within the City of Idaho Falls. The attorneys in the Civil Division advise the County Commissioners, as well as the elected officials and department heads. The Civil Division also represents the County on any civil litigation. Both divisions are under my stewardship.

Neal:

  • In each county, a Prosecuting Attorney is elected or appointed to lead their deputy prosecutors, much like a Sheriff leads and directs his deputy sheriffs.
  • The most important goal of prosecutors is to work with law enforcement and probation/correction as a criminal justice team to lower the crime rate and make our community safer through punishment, deterrence and rehabilitation of offenders.
  • Contrary to the famous introduction to Law and Order, in our criminal justice system the people are represented by three separate, yet equally important groups: 1) The police, sheriffs and other law enforcement agencies that investigate and detect crimes, 2) the prosecutors who charge the offenders and seek their conviction in court, and 3) the probation and correction officers who carry out the sentence.
  • Prosecutors have the exclusive right in criminal cases to represent the people of the State of Idaho in the courts of law.
  • This begins with the “charge” (typically involving an arrest or citation) to final resolution, normally a “conviction.”
  • Prosecutors must be lawyers admitted in Idaho to practice before the court.
  • The Prosecuting Attorney also serves as “in-house” counsel to provide civil advice to the County Commission and the various department heads concerning land use, civil liability, human resource issues, and all other legal concerns.
  • Prosecutors have a vital obligation to assist and advocate for victims of crime, and to ensure they understand the process and decisions made in the case they are involved with.

What are the greatest challenges facing your county?

Bean: People are worried about increased crime. In that regard, one of the greatest challenges facing our community is fentanyl. Recently our own Bonneville County Sheriff, Samuel Hulse, met with Governor Brad Little to discuss the problems associated with fentanyl, including the fact that people in our community are dying from accidental overdoses at an alarming rate. We are also seeing large increases in the amount of fentanyl entering our county. Fentanyl can be lethal. As such, it poses a significant danger to our citizens and our law enforcement and emergency responders. Along with the Sheriff, I support “Operation Esto Perpetua” as it provides us another tool in fighting this lethal drug.

Neal:

  • The single greatest challenge in Bonneville County is a rising crime rate.
  • In the latest crime statistics, our crime rate was higher than Ada County, comparable to Bannock and Canyon counties and one of the few in the state that showed an increase (all three of the other counties mentioned showed a decrease).
  • Although growth is a substantial factor, we cannot simply wait for growth to end.
  • One major factor is recidivism, or the number of criminals who commit additional crimes despite being punished or given opportunities at rehabilitation.
  • A very small number of people commit the majority of crimes.
  • My plan to address the rising crime rate is: 1) work with law enforcement and probation agencies to identify and target career criminals and lock them up for a long time, 2) Put teeth into probation, outlining specific goals, restrictions, deadlines and sanctions for failure to comply and 3) make criminals pay back their victims.
  • This plan requires working with the legislature to improve our laws to allow law enforcement more involvement in enforcing conditions and restrictions of probation, and to allow the prosecutor’s office more tools in assisting victims to collect on orders of restitution.
  • In those cases involving mental health, addiction or other similar root causes, we must invest in problem solving courts.
  • Sometimes good people make serious mistakes. They should be held accountable but have opportunities to restore their record if they take rehabilitation and probation seriously.

How will you best represent the views of your constituents – even those with differing political views?

Bean: My constituents are all the residents of Bonneville County, despite any differing political views. My diverse life experience has enabled me to have a good pulse on what is important to our community. Our citizens want appropriate accountability for those who break the law. One aspect of punishment that has resulted in many comments in news stories is the Idaho Department of Correction’s “Rider” program. I have personally expressed my concerns about the Rider Program to the IDOC Director. I have also made it a mission to inform our judges about when a rider can be effective, and more importantly, when it is not.

Neal:

  • The people of Bonneville County want elected officials to lead based on our common values and principles.
  • The decisions of prosecutors should be made with transparency and with opportunities for law enforcement and victims to be meaningfully heard.
  • As part of this stewardship, we must be able to fully explain in simple, understandable ways, the basis for our decisions.
  • My plan is to reduce the thoughts and factors that prosecutors have in their minds to writing and sharing these with victims, law enforcement and defense counsel.
  • We must be able to articulate the basis for each decision, and to describe how our decisions facilitate reaching our prosecutorial priorities and goals.
  • I believe the time for town halls and other forums such as social media are essential for keeping the community informed is before there is any drift away from our strong ties with the community, and commit to meeting in various parts of our county once a month in a town hall format.
  • Because the prosecuting attorney is elected to protect everyone, we must, along with our law enforcement partners form strong ties with the community. Addressing crime in our county is community responsibility, not just a government responsibility.
  • Fortunately, the goal to keep our community safe is shared across all political viewpoints and our community can work together to reduce crime regardless of differing political views.

How can you encourage or improve relationships with cities and other municipal or educational entities within your jurisdiction?

Bean: I already have established positive relationships with law enforcement, city representatives, and other community partners. For example, I recently spoke at the College of Eastern Idaho at the invitation of a student. Additionally, when I worked the juvenile caseload, I started a weekly meeting to bring stakeholders to the table to discuss juveniles who were facing potential charges. This group consisted of representatives from my office, Student Resource Officers, school representatives, and juvenile probation. This meeting was helpful as the group would discuss how to best assist a particular juvenile. This meeting continues today.

Neal:

  • We absolutely must focus on our children when it comes to raising a generation that respects the law, and that means increasing our presence and outreach in schools.
  • Only criminals benefit when we do not coordinate our efforts among the various law enforcement agencies.
  • My plan therefore is to meet regularly with law enforcement agencies on a monthly basis with the following quarterly emphasis: 1) meeting with law enforcement command staff and union leadership to discuss policy and general issues, 2) meeting with detectives and investigators to coordinate investigative efforts, and ensure the timely and effective prosecution of their cases and 3) meeting with the rank and file to discuss cases that raise legal issues, how they were handled and how our efforts could be improved.
  • I also intend to host quarterly roundtables to bring city prosecutors and the defense bar together to address issues and give them a chance to provide feedback concerning the way we are fulfilling our responsibilities.
  • I also think county probation, and state probation and parole must have a forum to directly discuss with our office their challenges and ways we can help probation be more effective.

What are your views on local and state media organizations. As an elected official how would you work with the media to help inform the public?

Bean: The media serves an important role in reporting on crimes, trials, and punishments. I have already been this office’s media spokesperson. I believe that part of my role as Bonneville County Prosecuting Attorney is to help make sure that accurate information goes out to the public so that the public better understands the criminal justice system and what it can do. That’s why I recently made myself available to work with Nate Eaton of East Idaho News in educating the public about mental competency and what that means in a criminal case in the context of a high-profile case.

Neal:

  • As a prosecutor’s office we are missing out on opportunities to keep the public more informed through social media.
  • I believe we must balance our unquestionable duty of keeping the public informed with respecting due process for those involved in the criminal justice system.
  • We cannot try our cases in the media.
  • But we also should be keeping the public informed of the outcomes of our prosecutions.
  • My plan is to use social media to disclose the resolution of criminal prosecutions and of course to ensure that news media have access to that information with an eye toward allowing the public to understand prosecutorial decisions in a transparent way.
  • Our emphasis must be on effective prosecution and not simply on efficiency.
  • It is not enough to simply get a conviction.
  • We must be persuasive with the courts to maximize our effect on the crime rate by reducing recidivism and seeking to make the community and victims whole.
  • As public servants, our community has the right to sufficient information to evaluate our effectiveness as their advocate in the criminal courts.
  • As the primary legal advisor to the county government, I will seek to streamline public records requests and maximize the transparency of our efforts to serve the public.
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