Czuprynski Speaks Out for Bay County Prosecutor; Incumbent Asbury is Silent

Posted In: Politics, Local, Candidates, Interviews,   From Issue 669   By: Mike Thompson

09th October, 2008     0

In Bay County, which is heavily Democratic, voters may wish to pause on November 4th before they pull a lever for Barack Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.

The Democratic candidate for prosecutor in Bay County is appointed incumbent Kurt Asbury, opposed by attorney, Edward Czuprynski, whom is running as an independent.

A Bay County voter who is a lifelong Democrat may wish to think long and hard before pulling the lever for a straight Democratic ticket, which would include Asbury over Czuprynski, and instead make individual choices on the ballot.

Why? Because the independent Edward Czuprynski, unlike Kurt Asbury on the straight Democratic ticket, is willing to share his viewpoints with you. Review Magazine attempted to establish a candidate forum between the two of them. Czuprynski has responded, while Asbury has declined without explanation.

Review Magazine strived for a full week, with phone calls and fax messages to Asbury's office, to involve the incumbent in the basic conversation that follows in this forum. Asbury's absence to make himself accountable to voters is his own choice. The

reason that you will observe only Czuprynski's viewpoints is because only Czuprynski has chosen to respond

Bay County voters can judge Asbury's silence for what it's worth.

Edward Czuprynski, 57, has gone through several encounters with local and federal law enforcement in regards to possession of marijuana. He has represented himself in court, winning landmarks victories in the United States Supreme Court that have defended his civil rights and added significant protections to a citizen's right to be secure from illegal search & seizure.

Kurt Asbury has declined to share his biography.

Following are Review Magazine's summary of comments for the Bay County prosecutor's election.

 

Review: Please describe your main goals as prosecutor for the next four years.

Czuprynski: My main goals would be to cut down the expense to the taxpayers of maintaining the criminal justice system, while at the same time providing new safeguards to protect the constitutional rights of the citizens. Those really go hand in hand, because if we can do things to ensure a clean system, it will greatly cut down on disputed claims between the police and the citizens.

My main goals are summed up in my "Blueprint for Reform." They are: (1) Required use of consent to search forms and cards. (2) Required use of Miranda Rights waiver forms and cards. (3) Required videotaping in police cars. (4) Required audio taping of certain statements taken by police. (5) All police notes, written and typed, must be preserved until a case is over. (6) To hold all citizens accountable for their wrongdoing, including police. (7) Promptly respond to warrant requests from the police.

(8) Oversee the processing of cases to ensure that any necessary follow-up by police is timely and completed in advance of court appearances. (9) Establish a police advisory board and regularly meet for better communication and more efficient law enforcement.

(10) Establish a citizens advisory board and regularly meet to review concerns and complaints regarding local law enforcement.

Consent to search is a big issue.

Let's say police claim they had consent, but the citizen says there was no consent. This is happening often. There are consent-to-search cards available for the police to give to citizens, but Prosecutor Asbury is not requiring them to be used. I would require them to be used. This would cut down on the disputes, the evidentiary hearings and the expense.

Asbury: No response.

 

Review: Why should someone vote for you, in comparison to your opponent?

Czuprynski: Most chief prosecutors, including Prosecutor Asbury, are former assistant prosecutors who moved up in the ranks. Indeed, the Democratic primary in August led to the selection of the incumbent, Kurt Asbury, against Patrick Duggan, who is a long-time assistant prosecutor in Saginaw County. They were both career assistant prosecutors, attempting for the first time to be elected to the top job.

Ever since Eugene Penzien was elected prosecutor 40 years ago, Bay County has seen a progression of assistant prosecutors from Penzien to Marleson, to Shearen, and now Asbury, who all maintained the same staff of attorneys and clerical after securing the top job.

So change is desperately needed. Only an experienced criminal defense attorney and community leader, like myself, can meet the challenge in turning it around in this town. That's why I'm running for prosecutor as an independent.

Asbury: No response.

 

Review: Do you feel that the prosecutor's office has the proper level of staffing?

Czuprynski: Yes. Even though Prosecutor Asbury has gone to the County Commissioners with his hand open, saying he needs another prosecutor, I don't believe it. If he ran that office efficiently and productively, they would not need another assistant prosecutor. That's just another example of an unnecessary expenditure of spending money through a Prosecutor's Office that mishandles its cases.

Money could be economized in the Prosecutor's Office simply through the use of the consent to search cards, the Miranda cards, because there is a great deal of dispute in court cases over was there a consent to search, or wasn't there? Was there a waiver of Miranda rights, or wasn't there? If police use the cards under authority from the Prosecutor's Office, it takes away the ambiguity that is costing so much taxpayers' money.

Police often complain to me, and to others, how it takes forever to get an arrest warrant and nobody in the Prosecutor's Office gets around to reviewing them, and they're not getting around to even issuing an arrest warrant until weeks or months later.

Asbury: No response.

 

Review: Do you support alternatives to incarceration?

Czuprynski: Of course I support alternatives to incarceration. The Bay County Jail is overcrowded, and this translates into overtime pay for the deputies. It costs a whole lot of money to keep these people behind bars, and it's often times unnecessary.

When you talk about incarcerations, you're also talking about pre-trial incarcerations. That is, people who cannot afford to make bond. I've seen a lot of people who are in jail, pre-trial and not necessarily the type of people who are a menace to society nor a threat. But the Prosecutor's Office is putting such a high bond on them that they can't get out, and the result is that the jail is overcrowding.

Therefore, the jail is releasing certain already-convicted inmates from doing their time because they have too many people in jail pre-trial. None of it makes sense. So when you talk about alternatives to incarceration, yes, both pre-trial and post-conviction need to be examined.

There are a lot of good alternative methods to incarceration with today's technology, such as tether. Under tether they need to be home at a certain hour.

There's also an alcohol tether and any sip of alcohol is detected into a device attached to the skin.

There are certain individuals who can be monitored by society through a tether. It is not a do-all for everybody, but there are individuals who can be monitored through tether programs. The bottom line is that this saves taxpayers more money.

Asbury: No response.

 

Review: Has the War on Drugs been effective? Would you propose any changes?

Czuprynski: The War on Drugs has not been effective and I could dig up statistics and studies, but the people know what I am saying, because it's well established at this point. The changes that I would make in the Prosecutor's Office would represent a more practical approach with people who want to abuse their bodies with drugs. There would be treatment and education and management.

By management, I mean if a person wants to smoke a joint and not do harm to anyone else in the process, that's his or her business. I would promote understanding and tolerance.

People across the United States keep voting for use of medical marijuana, and that is Proposal One in November, medical use of marijuana. People continue in state after state to support this, and now it is Proposal One on the Michigan ballot. But the feds keep on acting in defiance of the will of the people in the states, and that is just absurd.

Asbury: No response.

 

Review: Do you perceive that your opponent has made any statements in regards to you that are not accurate?

Czuprynski: No, because my opponent has said nothing at all. My opponent has approached this election like an ostrich with his head in the sand. I challenged him to a public debate, even challenged him to a public debate where I would pay the expense. So it is not surprising that he has failed to respond to the Review Magazine.  He doesn't want to say anything about anything. It's his safe and cowardly approach.

Asbury: No response.

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