District Attorney Chris Ross spoke Thursday about the actual functions of the District Attorney’s office.
Recently at a similar question and answer session at the Ada Chamber of Commerce, district attorney challenger William Choate spoke about water rights and said the current District Attorney’s office was, “subjected to undue influences.”
Ross said he wanted to make a few clarifications about his office, including that a district attorney has no authority over water rights and can’t call a grand jury.
“My opponent, Mr. Choate, is, I think, at his core a nice man,” Ross said. “From what he has said and what he has written, it’s clear to me that he has no idea what a district attorney does. His position on water rights—that we should somehow be building a pipeline from the river to Tarrant County, Texas and that this is somehow the district attorney’s function—is ludicrous.”
Ross said he is familiar with Choate through an arson case Choate spoke to Ross about prosecuting.
Ross said Choate was convinced Seminole city officials had torched a church he worked on. He said the state fire marshal cleared the suspects Choate was interested in prosecuting.
“If he intends to file charges on these people, I don’t know,” Ross said.
Ross said he believes Choate has no idea what the district attorney’s office does.
“We do all criminal cases,” Ross said. He said he is sometimes called to go to murder scenes, advise police officers on legal requirements and get a closer look at a case’s evidence.
“The very core function of our office is to fight crime and to punish those who commit crimes,” he said.
Ross said budget cuts in the upcoming fiscal years could back up the district attorney’s case-load.
“Right now the DA’s office is working at a 14 percent budget cut from last year,” he said.
“We’ve been told that we’re going to receive a 12 to 22 percent additional cut.”
Ross said he has been a prosecutor for 28 years and hopes his record stands for itself.
“I’ve never had a case reversed on something I did. I’ve never been found by a court to have committed prosecutive error,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any question that I’ve tried the worst of the worst.”