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Tight race expected for district attorney job

Published: Sunday, Oct. 31 2010 1:23 a.m. MDT

Morgan appealed the dismissal and won, but was then demoted. After appealing that action and again winning, he filed an intent to sue the office. Though it ended in a settlement, Gill said in total, almost half a million dollars were "wasted."

"Not to mention the 768 hours billed by Salt Lake County in pursuance of the case," he said. "Every taxpayer should be appalled by the fiscal mismanagement."

Miller defends the decision, though. She said she found evidence that Morgan went out of his way to get information to the "pimp" who was under investigation.

"That kind of conduct, to me, indicated a prosecutor who at the minimum did not have the ethics our community would expect," she said. "I made the decision that he did not represent our office in a manner that I felt we needed to be represented. … That was the right decision."

As for their visions for the future, Miller and Gill both want to address domestic violence. Miller spoke of her special team of prosecutors assigned to handle domestic violence cases.

"Watching them actually make a difference has been amazing," she said. "In learning to recognize the unique issues in these kinds of cases has made prosecutors more successful."

Gill said he would focus less on the actual prosecution of domestic violence cases and more on aiding the victims of those who are being prosecuted. He wants to create a system where prosecutors, counselors, employment and housing specialists and others would be available to domestic violence victims.

"If I get a conviction, I feel good about it, but what did I win? I got a statistic, but I didn't solve anything," he said. "We need to help victims feel safe and secure so they can break out of this cycle."

Both candidates also stressed effective coordination with local law enforcement and city governments. Miller said the justice system can be inefficient and ineffective, so she started a working group including police investigators, attorneys, judges and parole agents to look at improvements.

"We agreed on common ideas we want to incorporate into this new system we've been creating," she said. "We're scheduled to begin implementation on Jan. 1."

Gill said he plans to have prosecutors assigned to specific communities, ideally the ones in which they live. They will work closely with law enforcement and municipal government to address the specific needs of the individual communities within the county.

Gill has been endorsed by Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon and both the Unified Police Federation and the Salt Lake Police Association. Miller has endorsements from Gov. Gary Herbert, Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and former U.S. Attorney for Utah Brett Tolman.

Both candidates received endorsements from the Fraternal Order of Police, which counts 2,000 Salt Lake County police officers as members.

e-mail: emorgan@desnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

Sim Gill, Democrat

Family: Married, two children

Education: Bachelor's degree from the University of Utah, where he played football from 1981-83; law degree from Lewis and Clark College

Political experience: Ran for Salt Lake County district attorney in 2006

Professional experience: Chief prosecutor for Salt Lake City; prosecutor for the Salt Lake County District Attorney's Office, Salt Lake City and Layton. He worked on the development of a number of programs, including the state's mental health court and the Salt Lake City domestic violence court. He currently serves as chairman of the Salt Lake area Safe at Home Coalition and as co-chairman of the State Mental Health Task Force.

Lohra Miller, Republican

Family: Married, four children

Education: Bachelor's and law degrees from Brigham Young University

Political experience: Salt Lake County district attorney since 2006

Professional experience: Salt Lake County district attorney; city attorney for West Valley City and other cities since 1992. She is vice president of the National District Attorney's Association and serves on the Governor's Gang Task Force.

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