Experience

Demonstrated Leadership as Saint Paul City Attorney

As the former Saint Paul City Attorney, John managed a public law and prosecution office of 70 employees with an $8 million budget. Throughout his tenure, John brought innovation and reform to the criminal justice system.

Proven Results:

  • Leading in Restorative Justice. After learning that obstructing legal process (OLP) cases were at an all-time high in the city, John brought the NAACP and Saint Paul police together to discuss perspectives and develop a training for police. As a result, these cases have decreased by 30%. In addition, John used a restorative justice model to bring the police, prosecutor, and offender together to resolve several pending cases.
  • Creating Innovative Diversion Programs. Created innovative diversion and restorative justice programs in the area of bad check prosecutions, invalid license cases and obstructing legal process arrests. Courts are burdened by a revolving door of unlicensed drivers who get caught in the system, many of whom lose their licenses due to unpaid fines for tickets. Previously, the City would fine offenders and repeatedly suspend their licenses. Wanting to end the cycle, John worked with Legislators to create a diversion program to provide these individuals a responsible path to get their licenses back. In addition to paying off their fees, offenders must take a class to learn how to manage their finances and make better life choices. This effective intervention will result in decreased court costs, and more valid drivers on the road who are not only paying for their consequences, but are also educated to prevent them from coming back to the system.
  • Preventing Domestic Abuse.An average of eight times a night, Saint Paul police arrive at a domestic abuse call to find that the offender has left before they arrive. In the past, the files for those cases could sit on an attorney’s desk for weeks before being reviewed. John worked with the police department to create Blueprint for Safety, so now a police officer and prosecutor personally review those files each morning and evaluate them according to a threat assessment. For those victims at greatest risk, officers are sent out to apprehend the perpetrator the same day and file charges immediately. Because John made these cases a priority, Blueprint for Safety is effectively saving lives and keeping victims and the broader community safe.
  • Additional Experience. In collaboration with other public safety officials, John worked tirelessly to reform the criminal justice system. John’s innovative efforts include:
      • Fostering the creation of the first elder abuse prosecution unit in Minnesota;
      • Working with state legislators to develop civil gang injunction legislation to fight criminal gangs;
      • Creating a National Multi-City Litigation Working Group to combat the foreclosure crisis; and
      • Leading a successful effort to ban imitation toy guns that threaten the safety of police officers and residents.

Additional Experience

In collaboration with other public safety officials, John worked tirelessly as City Attorney to reform the criminal justice system. John’s other innovative efforts include:

  • Fostering the creation of the first elder abuse prosecution unit in Minnesota;
  • Working with state legislators, developing civil gang injunction legislation to fight criminal gangs;
  • Creating a National Multi-City Litigation Working Group to combat the foreclosure crisis; and
  • Leading a successful effort to ban imitation toy guns that threaten the safety of police officers and residents.