12 Voices in 12 Hours John Flynn

Sandy Beach
Wednesday, May 23rd
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Voices in twelve hours this is a special community discussion and hope feeling prevention on news radio 930. WP eat and. And we are back clear vision company on the twelve voices in twelve hours I don't know why you're so nervous on him I think very statute of limitations is already run on you go because we have the Erie county district attorney here should be of no concern to. While Malone some call I. Opt and I John front as well does John Flynn has they and as history has served in the US navy. As soon as I saw that you look like and maybe I swear jar MCI that's kind of look at Roger. He retired as a commander in the naval reserves. He's has been a councilman in town justice themselves on Wanda. Acting buffalo city court judge. It's on the town attorney he has a wife and five children so. He has a full of a full resume you'll have to listen I've showed sure you could tell that the busiest job a lot. I I now I want to an interview I like to learn something and I have a feeling among our life here I was wary of the law and compassion intersect iron that's. Who just had a having Israel on and as he gave me an answer a lot of questions are real enlighten me and I hadn't thought about it like that I'll start with you. A basically. I I mentioned the ivory and I'm gonna mention all three of my guess we have Georgia emerged. Is that Amanda Ozzie go in in New York City would like to have very. A safe injection site where they're clean needles or medical personnel on the air. To administer things having and they have now are can and all the things necessary if if things were not gonna go away you thought they were gonna go. At first blush I I just did not like this idea in the way operated. Describe that aren't I described it is well. Getting into the next point where something better could have been something good new could be discovered. And that's that was his viewpoint gimme some enlightenment. Do you have a viewpoint on that certificates of but I don't wanna. He had no no I don't sandy and I I I understand where were obvious common from what I understand the these various issues that are surrounding this debate. That there are pros and cons of this but no I just personally. I don't think. That we can't. Com legitimize. Something that is quite frankly criminal conduct. I I don't think that that they're using the healed this mechanism after talking about. He has. Is the right thing Ngo for for number reasons I'm I'm on the big picture macro level. Your your Bure basically. You know you're obviously condone being illegal activity which I think has problems my big picture standpoint. From all the little small micro standpoint a whole level standpoint I I just don't know if you know providing these safe sites are is going to work. In this sense of getting these individuals off the drugs with an event that's we're trying to gender role sure that's a goal that that's the end result of the goal there's. To get individuals. Clean. And I'm not sure. You know hollow. You know the safe site. In Iowa phenomenon that's quite frankly to. The noise in New York City is just a leaders of of many treasure that have been talking about their children through already doing in Seattle. I think we're doing in Portland as well. Us all in all I I'm just. I think or other ideas off of their ways. To want to help fight this problem and that's out. You have you have a different. A different mission. If you are the district attorney and you have to by your oath follow the laws. I notice it says in in the the information I have volume that you believe in education and enforcement. All right I think you have to believe him and enforcement how does education play in you usually think of it as. All right you've committed a crime you've been found guilty by a jury of your peers. Part of the education is. I'm not gonna do it again. I'm going to learn something and come out of different person obvious honey I combine the two in the M and the drug situation. Well that that the that it turned park they talk about is on the back and a pot of all of the criminal justice spectrum. On the front and I just came from. Amherst I'm sorry John Hamburg high school before or I can her morning and doc. No will we we try to get to other kids in this community. Before they get holt and any drugs assault from an educational standpoint I think. Oh what what what was very important here is that if you can get to. The children of this community if you can get too young adults and and show them the dangers. Of drug abuse. Then that's how you can be more pro active as a DA from an educational standpoint and a Bakken like you mentioned obviously. When you've been found guilty when you have off but committed a crime. Then your punishment can take out a number of different. A pass and you know whatever path that may be if it's if it's prison workers probation orders Q reservist. That an act act as a as a mechanism to for education as well. It's a tough balance. And to do you have five children so obviously a lot of children love your children certainly. Now I go to work and part of your dealings as the district attorney has made decisions that involved children. That's going to be very very difficult because you hear you've got to follow the law that's there you know get to make club if you get the side. However the prosecutor not so it's it's a big decision for you. It's a huge decision is especially in this whole deal it epidemic here because what we are facing here. He is a situation where there are. In my opinion there. Two different groups of people. The first group of people are the individuals who are hooked on you'll be yours. The these are the individuals who were picked up for drug possession charges. They may have committed a petty larceny or some. It's burglary. In order steel to support her drug habit. And then on the other hand you have the drug dealers. You have the individuals who are selling this poison where citizens. You have the individuals who are preying on individuals who are susceptible. To. 22 danger because of a lot of the individuals who are addicted to open your eggs. Actually became addicted get through legal means. They got no motor vehicle accident and they hurt her back and they were prescribed all B or its other doctors from the back injury. Convey a bomb. He got in as a child or an as a young adult. Were playing sports and got injured a sports. Field. They now. Are prescribed open yards by their doctor. And spent days. Obviously did make the right decisions and kept abusing. The open yours that that they were prescribed and then a snowball. And then the the open your eggs other pills that they were taking more and off. They then turned to a higher drug. And that wasn't enough and they wanna get a bigger high and now they're doing heroin. And sold able involved. All over the course of know sometimes you know months sometimes years. From a legal prescription. I've given them by their doctor into a standing behind a 7-Eleven and shooting herald went into nerve pains. And it's over for these people. I I do look. Have to show some compassion. I do look at these people. On will with a compassionate. Heart to a certain extent. On the other hand when it comes this second group. But and the drug dealers then there's no compassion there these people bomb are going to be prosecuted. To full to stamp about a law. And sold. You're exactly right sandy I gotta mix that compassion. On the one hand with being tossed on the other hand and I do that every day. I saw a dome IT VP so about a week or so ago and they were celebrating. The fact that this young young man had been revived by in our hands seven times. And that was it was almost like a celebration and I'm thinking why are we celebrating this he seven times. To me sounds a little unreasonable why why are we doing it this way is the focus in the right direction. While that that that's why I'm such a big believer in what we've established here in buffalo for the first in the nation. Up all your court here in Buffalo, New York. And twenty years ago by George Russell a starter won the first drug courts here are in Buffalo, New York. And now drug courts are spread across the country and now this open your record that we've got establish your buffalo is now. A being looked at all cross country as well. And what what what what what I think works is the hammer over someone's head. As far as the porch installment. Monitoring individuals. And helping them get off the drugs if if it ended yet they don't don't get me wrong sandy you wanna save someone's life okay sure if you got. If he caddies narc him a hundred times. He got to do it right can you gotta save your life so there's nothing wrong with that purse say. What. What's wrong is. You know just. All and it in this kind of goes in your first question about the although the safe site you know her her one facilities. What what's wrong is just. No allowing people to continue to use here when and having the government or oversee that and saying it's OK. And then having someone there for narc him to revive them in case something goes wrong. And you've perpetuating that forever not that that's what I'm not I'm war. We'll be back glib believe this or prepare when asked him a legal question we come back because I always have legal questions I'm waiting him. I have to ask people I know a lot more than I do which is almost anybody. The answer and we'll be back right after a Johnson and his theory Connie district attorney. He's been that since the January it's it's one he's seventeen he's the 41. In a long list of distinguishes district attorney's. I have a question is morally a legal question than a drug question although it involves drugs. On the drug court I remember doing the pledge of allegiance when I was kid that says liberty and justice for all in the last awards are what I wanna talk about for all. Do people get. More. More opportunities. More choices if they're going through the drug court than they would if they were going through there very traditional. Because I was reading up on the the next guess we're gonna have. Is. As is sitting on them on the bench over drug court and I'm thinking they get more options I think as I read it is very stringent and you know it's they ask for quite a lot. But they have outs that I could receive. You know the glass material that you may not have a regular court is is that right yeah. Yes there they definitely have more. Per treatment options available credit to them and they they definitely have more. The ought to mean that the the whole point is to get the individual. Awful of the drugs sure you know the whole point is up again in the main point as well as all full. Not to have to individual calm back. In the criminal justice system which just keeps costing us more money where my sugar content area so yeah there there there are definitely more options as far as. Different program saw a different protocols that that is different paths that some could take. So would it be fair to say that. You're better off if you do have a drug problem and if you don't. Well I wish I were I would say that I mean because the what you said the rules are very strict gentry as far as following. Obama all the protocols you have to have no goal through in order to set to graduate from drug court. I guess it's better in the sense that you know if you successfully complete the drug court you're not going to jail salt from that sense I guess better. I don't understand that now is there any all we know about the of the interaction between state police and the DA's office is. Who was very aren't going to prosecute him are gonna press Q what are always knows what we see in the movies. Is there is there any input from you as to focus. On a drug crimes in other words. The ever since our buffalo PD and say. Look we got to need a street dealers as opposed to doctors who are over prescribing or whatever and and kind of balance that out or they just do what they do. Give you there at the end of their work and you make that decision. And all we we we deftly worked together we we are in collaboration. Not only on drugs but were collaboration on gone cases homicide cases in a violent crime increases across the city and county so we definitely worked together. And a no there are a number of task force that are out there. Bombed with regard to drugs in the remote that there's a statewide task force that is composed of state troopers. Sheriff's. Members of of awful PD and other suburban police departments as well. We meet we we we talk about different cases we talk about different issues that are coming up on a constant basis so we're. We are always in collaboration. To. To identify. Mainly the individuals who are sell the drugs that that's where or if I'm sure that where our focus is at north met that task force standpoint. We're not identifying all the dirty double level user from where were identifying. Who are the people were bringing in the drugs and sell them Huron Erie county. Now here's a question I've I've I never have the opportunity to ask but I think you're the right person mass. Every once in a wiles as somebody will stand up and say minorities are prosecuted at a disproportionate rate than non minorities as far as drugs are concerned but the numbers than ever give you is how many alleged crimes are committed by those same people see you don't know how to really balance it out. Is that ever consideration. In the DA's office regarding a drug arrests are actually that. No no no no one is making a decision on a cool arrest. Or who to prosecute. A based upon their race that that that's definitely not happening what what what the numbers. What the numbers do show although our our our I would say at north specifically when it comes to. Low level marijuana offenses that they know the numbers do crucial. That ball more a minorities are being arrested for mobile level marijuana offenses then and I might orders me. I shall I guess I'll take any much purposely. Of going out and arresting. You know minorities Fidelity's he had he had all but but I think that the field I think there's definitely. And implicit bias. In it you know it when it comes to low level marijuana offenses and no we just got to make sure that. He all that network treat people fairly that justice is for all. As you mentioned guys almost got a political positioning statement rather than a law and order. Situation I think it's positioning and a four politicians who want to use on him. Well sure I'm real a lot of times people use. Statistics are and number sought to turn to make appoint them to make an argument or noble ball. Both sides do that I get that but again I I assure you that no it. In buffalo city court. Over half of the judges. In buffalo city court are African American. So I mean you you have the you know people who are in charge of the this dispensation of justice in buffalo city court who are African American judges so I again I don't think anyone is. Purposely. You know going out of prosecuting minorities at a greater rate but. In in some categories. In some two to six they do shall bat and we just got to make sure that we're doing. No an appropriate job here to make sure that everyone is treated fairly. All right and guys I see him in the a little bit hallmark that I I do because I don't want to get a wrong of the DA and there. You've established a special narcotics bureau is at the same as the drug corners that's effort. Don't bet that's in my office what a lot of law. When I was in the DA's office when I start I'll pick on the servers back in 2001 hour. We we had a standalone narcotics bureau in the DA's office with that was. All all these DA's did was prosecute narcotics cases. Over the years that that bureau kind of merge. With other girls in the office. When I became DEA got elected I thought that it was important to have a standalone narcotics bureau where the focus would be. Just on narcotics crimes and so I establish after. Beautiful art walk back with the district attorney John fund and will be talking about. The biggest. Problem we seem to have right now that were aware of is it drug use whether it's though over prescription or street drugs whenever we hear about it every day breaks a lot of experts a lot of families. And that was it what did the answer about it on news radio and I'm thirty WB ENN. The district attorney is here very Connie John fund and as we said in the first part of the interview is a tough job because he has to have VS to follow the law. Which is there okay is right there and they also is a human being with a family with feelings or is compassion Joba. Sometimes you can blend them together and sometimes you can't. And that you're telling me that there's an old B hard court in the Erie county's house about that. Sure a body body bombs Olson's death a year ago. I may first buffalo city court established the first in the nation all your court cure that by your lawful New York. And the difference between. The open your core and their normal drug court which was established back in the mid ninety's your ball full awareness piece even establish all across the country. Is that. The open your core is not a sentencing court. Drug courts are sentencing courts meaning that the individual. Pleads guilty or is found guilty and then as part of their sentence the were sent to the drug court. The open your court. Grabs these individuals right away when their first arrest there. And they get the treatment that they needed. While the case is pending so basically from my standpoint as a DA. I agreed to. A germ or hold off on prosecuting the case as long as the individual is getting the drug treatment. And then once they complete the treatment. Then we'll decide what to do with the charge now again sending that not everyone is eligible for a program that this is only four. Low level nonviolent. Offenses so if someone got open you're problem. And they commit murder the Iraq won't open record so low level nonviolent offenses. Those individuals. Are. Screened and if they have an open you're problem they are then sent to the open or court. And they are treated her while the prosecution is pending. So if somebody I got an overdose from their doctor and they just increase increase and now they're hooked like I'm it was a mentioning. If they don't commit a crime they're not going to be arrested just because they're taking too many of yours. And what not something proactive and admit they got to be caught with possession of apparel so yeah they have obviously the armed. In my my role the criminal justice system. I don't I don't see anyone have any jurisdiction already won until they've been charged with a crime okay. Let's go through Rao also embarrassed well in the Irish falls rob Iran of the district attorney John Flynn go ahead. Will Iran moved rule that was created page book to whom a lot court. Mounting concerns part you know they don't have any cost simply going. And only I go to Courtney Lewis is in my heart on our confidence in them back to Mexico and we're back here and create. Our borders and our economy would you have any thug element player I ever Ralph I can deathly talk about a deal in general that not what you know I think our. I agree that all a lot of these drug kingpins. Are Smart but. You know what I'm Smart to go ahead and and I'm I'm an hour to whatever I can't catch these guys and we're sure. That they don't come back and forth in this country from Mexico. And third here in Erie county they're here ball Fuller at all all we know what we're we're gonna do we can find them and prosecute them. And put them in jail so they don't get out of jail and go back to Mexico. Okay Ralph thank you thank you very much when something is presented to the DA's office is there. Often lively debate between you and and that your here assistant DA is or is it generally. I generally pretty easy process to decide whether prosecutors. No there there's definitely a time some lively debate how will. Mom if not all all a lot of times in the the the debate has evolved over the course of the past we know you're an happened back in office where. IE you know I I I first came into. All of the job with no dissent saying no we're having one individual when Erie county died a day all of open all open or or so or some kind of drug overdose and so. How to we had a we see these people lawyers how to we help these people so. Now a lot of times. No we we have very you know various discussions about whether or not to offer my plea. Whether or not they don't get them help them and dismissed the charges don't know got a low level offense so we we go back and forth on at all time. You know. What what we don't go back and forth on is. The drug dealers sell if I if I don't we got a good case against someone who is selling heroin or selling Fenton all. Then usually no debate in the office at all we are all the same mindset that hey. If your charge was shown fentanyl heroin you're getting no plea you were either plead to charge or were going to trial salt. In north kind of cases there's no there's no debate it's my it's my way or the highway which is your pleading guilty of the charges. And you're going to jail. I like your attitude it's the it's kind of attitude I like jurisdictional. Suppose a doctor and we won't put any names on the table let's suppose a doctor. He is accused them over prescribing. A over a period of time by by a lot where where is it jurisdictions that federal or is that coming. But mainly federal and no me he had more mobile also a time when no one when there are doctors involved. Who are or prescribing. That you hold that they're there there's going to be. That don't go off a federal charge now. What what. Another thing that I've done it in and in an hoping to. Solve this problem from a deterrence standpoint is. I have instituted a policy where. If I can prove. That a drug dealer and the in this could be a doctor to. Anyone who. Either prescribes or or sells. A drugs were gives drugs to someone. And they overdose. From. That packet of drugs. If I can put the pieces together. I'm gonna charge that individual who sold the drugs with a homicide offense. And I've been able to do that twice so far this year the feds the feds have done a number times over the course of the past four or five years. Are you with attorney here GP Kennedy's very aggressive on that as well as semis so. In the MMI a year and a half an office I've been able to prosecute two cases. For manslaughter. With an individual who either sold or gave drugs to someone and they die. Boot those are tough cases or sand because I got to deal proved that. It was that specific packet of drugs that because that caused the death I I don't go to prove or prove that causation. So it's a target due bought. I'm looking and I find it. And the dealers don't care and keep good books well know that it looked like water birds but it was here's what viewers care about don't. No. Up penalties for you know drug offenses. If if they if they know I'm coming after him for homicide charges do not know that better off seeing now so hopefully. That in all I'm I want that word out there and I want every drug deal or discount you know that. I'm coming after them for homicides if I improve. What's your criteria as a district attorney four or prosecuting him conference during does it have to be something you're sure you're going to win something you're you may not win but you think it's worth prosecuting. There has to be something in their minds say that's ago. Well I think I have an overall. And no ethical. Obligation to only prosecute crimes that I have a good faith belief that I can prove beyond a reasonable doubt shall I start from there. Black then you know what when I. When I checked that box and say OK I have I have Africa called good faith belief. That I can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. Then when I go the next step for the analysis. And I say to myself well know is it a slam dunk or is going to be a tough case. I don't care if it's tough case. We're going 40 I'm I'm I'm not I'm not I'm aware. There that this is a baseball game I'm a worry about my batting average error and Tom you know were there I don't know if it's a tough case were. We're gonna prosecute tough cases. All right we'll be back could move would be to govern who have won more segment with the district attorney John Flynn an administrator and I'm thirty if you have a question in Austria and I Israel and 80616. Nine through trees experiments there is one of our friends is a model we come back with our team ago. On newsreader and I'm thirty WB CN the DNA. From Erie county John Flynn as well that's. And online tool would be our friend even though bill you later on whereas the John Lennon myself. Good morning. And good morning to this attorney morning. You know at one of my favorite people languish over days and. That's the way it should be. Oh you have a question form the. I have a question maybe if the tablet with a question who. You know effort journalists are also. It's if people in the community and I hit a lot of the people. And one of the concerns. Mr. Blair is. People coming from other communities into the city about Deirdre. And I was just wanted to get your thoughts on there this week it's best that we do. In some way I think it would help the situation. Because we have enough problems in the in our city so I just by the egyptians are on that and I wanna commend you on the jab which is doing. In the district attorney's office are paying up to listen thank you sandy. Regular Geneva briefing about thank you reverse on screen here from you when you're you're exactly right in other terrorist. Oh look there's a problem with individuals who are common from the suburbs and and buying their drugs and in in the city of buffalo and that that's why. Like I mentioned before what what where we have these that the task force establish where we try to identify. Where these drug dealers are now all we try to pinpoint locations where there are showing drugs out of a certain neighborhood group. Or on a short housing project. And we try do will go after them and if if weekend. If we can get more drug dealers off the streets. Then that's less people coming in the city of buffalo and buying drugs and that will have just a ripple effect that I'm make in this city. Know what it is dark it's already a great place to live were complaining about oh make a greater. A rash of question right how law school day one. I'd pick up the paper under any day of the where there's been a raid mills say a known drug house. If it's a known drug house why Atlanta being shut down a prosecutor. Well because they they that they're probably come. And I know you get it you have to you have to actually get there are. When there are individuals who are selling broadcast and catch them I'm soul in a lot of times you. You hear different a sources we'll tell you hey they're selling drugs on out of this house here are on the street right here. And the and the police will go on the whole global surveillance on base they won't see any more common and off for awhile minimal leave and then you'll they ignore you gotta catch. And so it's an occasional. Known drug that's luck. That I thought his elbow. Of course it's your call or a get out. I watched shows. And life PDF met regularly. And also what he'll say oh marijuana as a driver and be in them or Adobe and known drug take it all over. They know. What we're on what. Could well cause. Because they are in possession like it is going to just make it into these. They they they do jaded they they they they try they are. They they they they know we're a lot of these houses are all in all a lot of times so no wetlands when you hear that phrase known drug policy yer. Your probable cause may not be that good ignore it it may be. A hell of a couple a couple people in the neighborhood who suspect that it's a drug house because people are born in not a signal so. It all all a lot of times it the all the intelligence. Is not the best. But they if they if they have good intelligence if they if they have a pothole like you said probable cause to believe that for someone on their. They they are constantly. Surveilling yet and they are constantly going in there and trying to funnel to one time but when you go when there. Yeah you gotta you gotta have someone there you gotta have the drugs or or you want we want nothing. Thank you. Good morning. Again just like to say thank you I am a father of an eleven year old and thirteen year old. I try to teach awareness and global life should always. Like to go to camp on Friday night and I'm not enjoyed. Some good morning as well every responsibly and and in due time. But I can't be there my kids are coming into their own page. And crushes that there under. I can't see I can't help and it just. I'm so grateful for your problems. Well he's seems to be on the job that's for sure blood Danielle you're you're exactly right as far as as the father of five children I know exactly what your feel on how mean you you can't duck. You you you can't either when your kids go to school palm you that you can't be there when your kids. You know leave and and and go away to college are you want you can only do what you can do as far as our no raising them and and teaching them the values. That that you possess an up and hopefully goals values. You know get through your kids and they and they make the right decisions. You your your exactly right it's a scary world out there and you know well from what from what from the way you sound though you were are your great parent and are and what you're doing is the right thing. Thank you very much should then OK I have I have a great positioning statement for your next three election. You have five children which means you have enormous patience you have love of children. I think no one should be able to run against you unless they have five thought. That that. And that would never feel. And I'll help. The I'm glad this is our first opportunity abuse speak with you director actress and I opens up the last really enjoy John thanks and appreciate it all right thank you affiliate district attorney John Flynn. From Erie county and hopefully you meet a mongers social circumstances only. Our will will be back here and we're gonna talk about drug lord I put my arms down now seeing what your arms on the and you don't have the lean against the wall aren't OK and I know you forgot your license and the courage your residence it is at all I will all of that stuff will be back right after this. Let us. As I feel ready. Be because Castro word is study. As the EUD wide tax that is 72881. You might live a thousand dollars.