By LEE JUILLERAT
H&N Regional Editor
Jordan Funk, who served as Modoc County’s district attorney from 2003 to 2007, says he’s returning to the post Sept. 1 from his private law practice because of concerns about problems in the county’s justice system.
“I’ve been really troubled as a resident of this county about what’s going on,” Funk said, listing a lack of effort and lack of urgency by previous district attorneys and “heavy handedness” by Sheriff Mike Poindexter, who openly disputed with former DA Christopher Brooke.
In his brief resignation letter, Brooke wrote, “I feel it is no longer safe for me or my family to stay in my position and perform my duties.”
Earlier this year, the Modoc County Deputy Sheriff’s Association and Alturas Peace Officers Association sent Brooke “no confidence letters.” Officers from both departments claimed Brooke did not adequately prosecute cases and asked that he resign.
Although Funk expressed displeasure with Brooke — saying, “He didn’t have the experience or the ability” — he also said a district attorney’s clients are county residents.
“The district attorney does not work for law enforcement,” he said. “I am a conservative Republican and I don’t believe in a police state … I’m not going to allow the district attorney to be an arm of the sheriff’s office. I’m not looking to have a fight with anyone — that is the last thing I want to see happen — but you have to draw a line in the sand.”
Despite his concerns, Funk said he wants to work closely and cooperatively with the Modoc County sheriff’s and Alturas police departments, and California Highway Patrol.
“I really want to have a good working relationship with law enforcement. I’m sure the voters want that too, and I’m going to do my darndest. The voters deserve it, the public deserves it and the criminal justice system deserves it.”
In a prepared statement, Funk also said he would “give audience to the concerns of any person. If we end up disagreeing, I hope the disagreement can be principled, civil and respectful. I will not tolerate the kinds of events that have occurred in the recent past between the district attorney and some law enforcement officers,” he said, referring to disputes between Brooke and sheriff’s and city police personnel.
“One of the most important duties of a district attorney is to ‘stand between the people of his county and the inappropriate practices of law enforcement, if they should occur.’ I take that duty very seriously. I will not tolerate law enforcement abuse of citizens under color of authority. Law enforcement officers who verbally or physically abuse citizens violate a sacred public trust and undermine public confidence in the justice system.”