Guest opinion: Accountability is more than a political slogan

I’m running for Salt Lake County District Attorney because I believe firmly that accountability is a moral virtue that has been enshrined in law and must be applied equally to all. Sim Gill claims accountability as part of his platform, yet he refuses to take ownership of his failed policies that have directly resulted in violent criminals being released without bail and without any reasonable measure to prevent them from revictimizing the community. 

Gill has implemented several de-prosecution policies while in office. De-prosecution is the decision of a DA not to prosecute crimes regardless of the crime having actually been committed. Within his internal policies, Gill instructs prosecutors to dismiss a case when the prosecutor subjectively “believes the defendant is innocent, regardless of the evidence presented.” Increased homicide rates are strongly correlated with de-prosecution policies. Salt Lake County has seen a 46% increase in homicide since 2019, that’s 16% above the national average during that same time. 

The role of the DA is to faithfully execute the law and to secure justice for the community. The DA is a public safety official and must accept accountability for any decision not to faithfully execute the law. The DA’s office has only screened 35% of sexual assault cases referred to the office. A recent investigative report found the DA’s office had declined to charge domestic violence offenders with felonies in the “interest of justice.” 

In the case of a wayward DA, the governor cannot hold the office accountable, and neither can any other elected or appointed official. The duty of holding the DA accountable falls squarely on the shoulders of the voters. I believe that it is our sacred duty as citizens to hold our elected officials accountable. It is the undisputed duty of the DA to hold criminals accountable. Gill has failed to carry out the duty of his office and it is time that we hold him accountable this November. 

Danielle Ahn is running for Salt Lake County District Attorney