Hoovler Announces DA Office’s Summary of Accomplishments

DA's office receives recognition for work educating the public
February 24, 2016 Updated: March 9, 2016

GOSHEN—Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced the publication of the 2015 Annual Report Executive Summary on Feb. 18, which describes the accomplishments of the District Attorney’s office in 2015.

In the summary, Hoovler said his goal was to prevent crime as well as prosecute. He focused on narcotics trafficking and public benefits fraud.

New Programs

The “Executive Summary” highlights new initiatives, the Conviction Integrity and Narcotics Evictions programs. In 2015 the felony conviction rate rose to 96 percent with 286 felony narcotics filings in 2015, a 6.3 percent increase from 2014 and the prosecution of cases involving 95 illegal guns, a 63.8 percent increase from 2014.

The Narcotics Eviction program evicts drug dealers and other illegal businesses from rental properties. If someone has been convicted of a crime and claims innocence, the office will review the case under the Conviction Integrity program.

The Orange County SMART (Strategic Methods Aimed at Truancy) was designed to work with schools to remind parents to be responsible for their children’s education. Out of 54 cases referred to its office, 23 students returned to regular school attendance; 20 are still under review.

“Our community prosecution model has allowed us to be responsive to the needs of the various communities in the county. Whether we are working with educators to combat truancy using our SMART initiative or instituting a Narcotics Eviction program to help communities deal with drug dealers, we have tried to be innovative in our approach to problems,” Hoovler said.

Public Service Announcements

The office has developed a series of public service announcements “designed to deter crime and increase reporting, for distribution to schools, businesses, etc., as part of an overall crime prevention strategy of education, treatment, and enforcement.”

One of the office’s anti-gun public service announcements earned a Bronze Summit International Award. A recent announcement, “It’s On Us,” joined the White House initiative launched in 2014 to prevent sexual assault.

An effort, in concert with county police chiefs and the stat STOP DWI chair, was publicized around extended holidays to remind drivers not to drink and drive. “The policy encourages first-time offenders to receive alcohol and substance abuse evaluations and, if necessary, treatment.” The program earned Hoovler and his office the Dana Distributor’s 2015 award for promoting alcohol awareness and public safety.

The DA gave special attention to domestic violence. The Misdemeanors Matters program handled 500 domestic violence cases and mandated that 128 defendants attend domestic violence classes for men as part of settling the case.

Fraud and Felonies

A record 123 welfare fraud cases were investigated by the District Attorney’s office in 2015. The office has one of the highest welfare fraud prosecution rates in the state and ranked sixth in the state recovery of fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits.

In a series of four drug stings, the Orange County Task Force seized $163,000 in 2015, an increase of almost 92 percent increase from 2014. Felony narcotics indictments totaled 286.

The DA office projects its 2016 budget of $9,342,670, a 1.6 percent increase over 2015.

“Our goal in 2015 was for the District Attorney’s office to be innovative, results oriented, and fair, and I believe we succeeded,” Hoovler said.

By statute, the district attorney is required to submit an annual report. The “Executive Summary” highlights portions of the annual report, which will be released later this month.

To contact this reporter, email yvonne.marcotte@epochtimes.com.