Tulsa County District Attorney's Race

Wednesday, June 7th 2006, 10:22 am
By: News On 6

The primary election is about six weeks away and crime is a hot topic in the Tulsa County District Attorney’s race. Republican Brett Swab filed Tuesday to run against current DA, Tim Harris.

News on 6 crime reporter, Lori Fullbright talked to both men about the job of Tulsa County's top law enforcement officer.

Brett Swab was an assistant DA under David Moss and Bill LaFortune. During his four and a half years, he says he got four convictions on five death penalty cases and a total of 36,000 years in prison sentences for criminals. He's been in private practice and thought it was time to do more. "I just decided this is what I want to do. I like making money, but I wanted to make a difference, as corny as that sounds."

Tim Harris is the current DA. He's also a Republican, has been a Tulsa County prosecutor for 20 years and is proud of his record. "We’ve done a really, really good job of taking the worst offenders and putting them behind bars where they can never hurt anybody ever again."

Swab says the numbers tell a different story. He says it makes no sense that while crime has increased and Harris' staff has increased, the number of felony charges filed by Harris' office has decreased. "On average, 2,000 cases are filed less per year, that means 2,000 people less are being prosecuted.” Swab says Harris has a policy that makes it harder for than ever for officers to get charges filed, which leaves officers holding the bag.

Harris says his policy is the same as past DA's, plus he allows officers to appeal if they disagree when charges are declined. "We have filed nine out of 10 cases brought to us by law enforcement. You can't look at those numbers without taking into account fewer cases are brought to our office by law enforcement."

The Republican primary for this race is July 25th. No Democratic candidate has announced they are running for the job. Harris ran unopposed last time.