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I care about this community and your safety is my business. 

Our community continues to be one of the safest places to live in California, and in recent years we have seen a decrease in the severity of crime. Violent crime in Nevada County has decreased substantially since 2006, and the most recent FBI statistics show Nevada County as one of only nine California counties with a decreased crime rate in 2016.  However, public safety requires constant vigilance and a proactive approach through prevention as well as prosecution.   

I have spent the last twelve years working to create a modern District Attorney’s office that exemplifies experience, integrity, and courage. As experienced prosecutors, we make decisions based on the facts and the law, we know which criminals to target, and we do what’s right.

My Deputy District Attorneys and I take an especially strong stance against the criminal activities that threaten the quality of life in our community. 

A solid working relationship with law enforcement remains critical to the success of the office. Over the last twelve years, cooperation, communication and a team approach toward solving crimes and prosecuting criminals, has enhanced the effectiveness of law enforcement in Nevada County. 

Despite challenges from Sacramento, we continue to implement programs to decrease recidivism, increase public safety, and address the “revolving door” within the population of the County Jail system.  

Nevada County Criminal Justice system faces many serious challenges.  

We are faced with dramatic challenges and changes to the criminal justice system due to “Realignment.” "Realignment" is the legislature’s mandate that we keep criminal offenders locally instead of sending them to prison in order to reduce prison overcrowding. While I fought against this law, the law passed, and has since been implemented.

"Realignment" continues to be a significant issue for the criminal justice system and a challenge to public safety. My past experience as a probation officer, trial attorney and the elected District Attorney make me uniquely-qualified to lead Nevada County through the upcoming challenges. 

I have efficiently operated the District Attorney’s office within budget every year. I have decreased full-time staffing levels, and created an office that does “more with less”. The District Attorney’s Office attorneys and staff continue to be good stewards of public funds by working hard and working smart. I will continue to squeeze every efficiency out of existing resources while maintaining a high level of public safety.  

My work is not finished.

The challenge of the future will be to continue to provide core prosecutorial services. To acclimate to the fiscal limitations we face, the DA’s Office will continue the sometimes unpopular process of streamlining our business processes. We have cut where possible without sacrificing prosecutorial integrity.  At no point will I voluntarily sacrifice public safety for economic expediency.

Although we have accomplished much in the last years, there is still work to be done in the administration of justice for the citizens of Nevada County.  

My vision for the District Attorney’s Office is one of optimism and readiness, and with your support, we can meet the challenges of the next four years.  I will continue to prosecute crime vigorously, hold criminal offenders accountable, and make sure the victims' voice is heard. 

Thank you for your support.

Thank you for your continued support and confidence in my ability to honestly and effectively perform the duties of the Office of the District Attorney in order to ensure the future well-being and safety of our community.

Cliff Newell 


Friday, April 13, 2018 12:00 AM

The Union Article 4/13/18Don Rogers: Clouseau With a Beard

Thursday, April 12, 2018 12:00 AM

Don Rogers: Clouseau With a Beard - TruckeeSun

A quiet admission about an address error on a drug warrant three years ago has flowered into the most interesting election campaign this spring.

Whether voters see an honest mistake by a deputy serving his rotation undercover or as part of some wider pattern of corruption with a badge may determine who wins the race for Nevada County district attorney in June — dozen-year incumbent Cliff Newell or the chief deputy prosecutor who quit over the kerfuffle that followed, Glenn Jennings. Jennings ran the Truckee office for a time, by the way.

A new, inexperienced drug task force deputy, unwanted and shunned by a senior officer, thought he'd goofed on his first sealed search warrant. That's the tale Deputy Jason Mackey told on the stand last week.

Jennings tells another story at candidate forums, as a red flag he'd never before encountered with a far darker spin, if vague. Mackey came to him outside court with his confession about the warrant mistake and asked Jennings to drop the case, which the prosecutor did and later refused to sign off on a subsequent investigation of the deputy.

Defense attorneys have seemed to leap for bait that might get their clients off. Dirty cop? Sure. Doesn't have to be true. Just the suggestion might work. Sow some doubt, kick some dirt, do what you do, part of the job representing your client.

So many whispers, including a juicy false one about the FBI joining in. A yearlong internal investigation that cleared Mackey. A chief deputy prosecutor who quit over this. Revelations of sexual relations with an informant surfacing about the senior officer who disparaged Mackey and eventually quit and left town.

Lots of hot, loose talk about Mackey went awfully quiet when it came to testifying in court. Crickets. The deputy's cases now under scrutiny are proceeding so far, with convictions in at least two after judges waved off the doubts raised about them.

Lawyers, in their elevated lexicon, call the chirping outside court hearsay. Regular folks know it as plain gossip.

The rumors seem to roost most directly with the detective who left the Sheriff's Office, Mark Hollitz. The District Attorney's Office dismissed 13 of Hollitz's cases, including eight felonies, tainted by what prosecutors called an "undisclosed, inappropriate relationship" with the informant and using her to "set up" another informant who refused to work with him, along with improper destruction of Sheriff's Office records about his informants. Seems the DA isn't all that protective of sheriff's officers, after all.

Hollitz steadfastly declined to refute those claims throughout a 90-minute interview with one of our reporters. Again, crickets at the opportunity to defend himself, set things straight, if there were something to set straight.

Among the defense attorneys, I think I see a faint waning in vague expressions of righteous outrage about corruption — to what end is left open — in favor of more productive questioning in a current quest to invalidate one of Mackey's warrants: A discrepancy between Mackey testifying last Friday he hadn't seen marijuana plants during an air surveillance, but turning in an affidavit in 2015 declaring he had. Photographs he took during the flyover show no images of marijuana.

Well, there's a couple of plain facts to work with. No extra drama necessary. A good, no-nonsense judge who has heard plenty of spin from prosecutors and defense counselors alike will cut through the rhetoric.

Perhaps the starkest difference between incumbent Newell and ex-chief assistant Jennings lies in their takes on Jason Mackey: corrupt liar or innocent bumbler?

The rest of it is the rather pedestrian local campaign talk we've heard before and will hear far into the future, no doubt. Challenger fluffs up perceived weaknesses. Incumbent leans on a "great record." And so it goes.

The judges in this case, the voters, will follow their guts for the most part.

Another pesky fact is Nevada County has the lowest crime rate among its neighbors. There it is, whether an accident of what's actually a pretty great community or thanks entirely to the dedication of our law enforcement and judicial efforts.

For further empirical perspective, Mackey finished his full rotation around average among task force officers with 75 percent of his cases carrying through to their conclusions and a quarter dropped.

And an irony of note: A task force supervisor had ordered corrections on the warrant in question before Mackey sent it to the judge for signing. The deputy's copy did not reflect the corrections, but what the judge saw and sealed did include them.

That's right, none of this drama would have ensued had the actual warrant been checked.

And so we end, for now, with the bumbling deputy thinking he'd made an error, but he was mistaken.

Saturday, March 17, 2018 12:00 AM

Where do we go from here? Addressing homelessness in our Community

Cliff Newell, Nevada County District Attorney discusses his responsibilities regarding the homeless issue with Superior Court Judge Al Dover, retired.

Thursday, March 1, 2018 12:00 AM

The Union: Crime in Nevada County Remains Consistent

Tuesday, February 27, 2018 12:00 AM

The Union, In Other Voices: Closing the Revolving Door by Cliff Newell

Despite changes in the law and difficult state mandates in criminal justice, Cliff describes the challenges and the actions he has taken to turn low-level repeat offenders into productive members of society and close the revolving door.

Committee to Re-Elect Cliff Newell
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