I had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Wright and have a wide ranging conversation. I am open to similar invitations from any candidate running for any office in Prince George's County.
Joseph L. Wright is running to be the next State’s Attorney in Prince George’s County. I had a 90 minute opportunity to speak with him and to get to know him. He now lives in the same community where he gre up giving him a good foundation for understanding the issues facing the county today. His life in the county and his connections to its people are strong indicators of his principled dedication to a better county. Knowledgeable about history, committed to the law, and aware of current social challenges, Mr. Wright is very personable and a skillful conversationalist so much so that I thought I was being interviewed at first.
A “people’s’ prosecutor, Mr. Wright is not afraid “…to tackle difficult issues”. He is determined to address policing issues and not afraid to bring charges of police brutality before the courts. His study of the law at Howard and his on the scene witnessing and writing in Virginia Beach in the 1980s, prepared him to do what should be done for the good of the community. As a community prosecutor, Mr. Wright’s day to day professional experience in the prosecutor’s office is key to his campaign’s claim that the county needs someone who understands the law and the impact of the enforcement of the law. Mr. Wright is very concerned about illegal businesses and business operations whatever their root cause. He believes it the State’s Attorney’s role to go after drug and other illegal operations to the full extent of the law including business that may front for such criminal activities.
Mr. Wright took pains to explain to me the challenge of prosecuting a similar number of crimes with a staggering dissimilar number of prosecutors. Baltimore with over 200 prosecutors and Washington, DC with over 400 on staff, work on the same case load level as Prince George’s County’s 75 prosecutors. This lack of staff, in Mr. Wright’s opinion, results in a constant triage and a resulting appearance of dysfunction with the community which finds it hard to make contact with the State’s Attorney’s office based simply on the number of cases assign to each prosecutor. The candidate is cognizant that this is not realistically going to change in the near future do to continuing economic constraints, but he is equally sure that it must be addressed sometime in the future.
Mr. Wright is committed to reaching out, sitting down and speaking with the residents of Prince George’s County. He would send his staff out into the communities, and would revisit and extend the outreach programs of the State’s Attorney’s office. He might even take a look at creating a citizen’s advisory committee. Fairness before the law is a watchword for Mr. Wright who thinks that even thought sentencing guidelines might needs tweaking from time to time, the idea behind them helps create a level playing field across the State in matters of the law. Mr. Wright in answer to my question about updates to existing legislation that affects his office that he would ask policy makers to take a look at truth in sentencing laws and such issues as good time served credits. Asked what other laws he might like to see modified, he suggested that a review and simplification of current fire arms laws to make them more useful in the enforcement of existing law would be appropriate. As the conversation moved along these lines, Mr. Wright noted that in the juvenile court system, sentencing punishes and rehabilitates, while in the adult court system sentencing was fully punitive. Consistent and thoughtful, Mr. Wright stated that the death penalty was an appropriate tool, when the circumstances dictated, for the legal system.
Mr. Wright believes that the voters of Prince George’s County should assess and judge the success of the State’s Attorney’s office on its transparency; on whether the citizens believed the office has made the right decisions; and whether the office had represented the interests of the county in its actions and decisions. He is very positive that the current operations of the prosecutor’s office compare well with other Maryland county offices. Prince George’s County’s leadership in mortgage fraud and economic crime are hall marks of the first rate capabilities and of the State’s Attorney’s office in Prince George’s County.
Professional, experienced and dedicated describe Joseph L. Wright. Thoughtful, intellectual, and philosophic relay the dynamics of our conversation. 90 minutes of conversation could have easily gone on all day, for his breadth of understanding and his grasp of information allow Mr. Wright to speak on issues from current politics to environmental justice. Using the tradition of knocking on doors, and unafraid of new generation apps such as social media, Mr. Wright is running full speed to do the job he loves to support the county and its citizens.
Having only interviewed Mr. Wright, I have no way of comparing him to the other candidates, but I can ay that I was impressed on a personal level by his candor and thoughtfulness, and would encourage you to reach out to him and ask him your questions.
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.
"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"
The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."
First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].