Twin Brothers Both on This November's Ballot, Vying for Top Prosecutor Jobs in Neighboring Metro-Detroit Counties.
[ClickPress, Wed Oct 26 2016] PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sharing distaste for the drug war, experience working both at the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office and as criminal defense lawyers, and a libertarian ideology, identical twin brothers David and Steve Afton are the respective Libertarian Party nominees for County Prosecutor in neighboring Wayne and Oakland counties.
Detroit, Michigan, October 26, 2016 – Like many identical twins, David and Steve Afton share many of the same interests, goals, and even career choices. They’ve both previously worked in the asset forfeiture department for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, and later as lawyers defending criminal cases, many involving drug and other non-violent, vice-type offenses. They also share an interest in libertarian ideology and activism. Not surprising then is their recent decision to mount campaigns for separate offices of County Prosecutor in neighboring Wayne and Oakland counties, respectively. They’re both on the November ballot as Libertarian Party candidates for those offices, each promoting a simple platform promising to end prosecutions of “victimless” crimes, to scrap civil asset forfeiture schemes, and to never oppose jury nullification—the practice whereby one or more jurors refuse to convict an accused of a crime because the underlying law seems too harsh or unfair.
No Victim, No Crime
“We both worked in the forfeiture department for the Wayne County Prosecutor and later doing criminal defense work,” says David Afton, candidate for Wayne County Prosecutor. “We saw first-hand the damage caused to the community by unfair laws that punish people for undesirable or unhealthy but non-violent behavior like drug use or prostitution as if they were violent crimes perpetrated against real victims, like rape, murder, or burglary. But they’re vices, not crimes, and they should be treated like health or behavioral problems.”
The brothers point out that, according to the ACLU, the U.S. has 5% of the world’s population but is the world’s leading jailer with 25% of the world’s prisoners—more, for example, than Russia, Iran, or China. One in 99 adults are living behind bars in the U.S., marking the highest rate of imprisonment in American history, and since 1970, the U.S. prison population has risen 700%. In fact, 87% of federal incarcerations relate to victimless crimes, such as drug possession.
“If it’s true that ‘civilization is the triumph of persuasion over force,’” adds twin Steve Afton--running for Oakland County Prosecutor--“then the U.S. is in bad shape from a personal liberties standpoint. It’s a no-brainer--no victim, no crime, meaning no charges, no prosecution, and no jail. Sure, the number of prosecutions will plummet, but only because a large chunk of activities previously defined as ‘crimes’ vanishes, so crime rates effectively drop too.”
Ending Asset Forfeiture
Having both worked for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s asset forfeiture department, the brothers also advocate ending all county-run asset forfeiture programs.
“In Michigan, from 2001 to 2008, more than $149 million dollars in total revenue resulted from forfeited property,” says Steve Afton. “These forfeiture programs—once tools employed in only the now-failing drug war but increasingly used to wage war against gambling, prostitution, and other non-violent vices—are simply immoral wealth transfer schemes that enrich police and municipalities with cash, cars, and land seized from people even simply accused of drug and other victimless crimes, let alone convicted.”
Lastly, the two candidates advocate jury nullification, pointing out that juries historically have been the final barrier to unjust laws and tyrannical prosecutors and judges, because even one holdout juror has the power to acquit an accused, regardless what the law or judge says. The two candidates promise that if elected they will never interfere with attempts by defense lawyers or defendants to remind jurors they may refuse to convict if a criminal law seems unfair or onerous.
The brothers are hopeful their platform—admittedly unconventional from the viewpoint of a typical County Prosecutor—will at least stimulate serious discussion about the damage caused by the drug war and asset forfeiture and the benefits gained by ending them.
Adds David, “The other party candidates running for County Prosecutor in Wayne and Oakland counties are using typical fiery rhetoric while promising to ‘get tough on crime’ by ramping up the drug war, jailing more people for victimless crimes, and forfeiting cash, cars and houses. But as libertarians, we’re doing the opposite: saying what we won’t do, and that we won’t go after people who never victimized another person or property.”
About David and Steven Afton
David Afton and Steve Afton graduated from Michigan State University in 1986, and from Thomas M. Cooley law school in 2000. Both have been licensed Michigan attorneys since 2001. They both previously worked for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s office in the drug / prostitution asset forfeiture department, and later as criminal defense attorneys. Both currently work for insurance companies involving insurance litigation. David Afton is a resident of Dearborn, and Steve Afton lives in Rochester Hills. For more information about their campaigns, contact them at:
David Afton – Candidate for Office of Wayne County Prosecutor
Steve Afton – Candidate for Office of Oakland County Prosecutor
Rochester Hills, MI 48307