Maricopa County Attorney Candidates Meet For Debate

By Katherine Davis-Young
Published: Saturday, October 17, 2020 - 11:07am

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Allister Adel and Julie Gunnigle
Allister Adel for County Attorney, Jennifer McDowell
Republican Allister Adel (left) is the incumbent Maricopa County attorney, and Julie Gunnigle is running on the Democratic ticket for Maricopa County Attorney's Office.

The two candidates for Maricopa County attorney are making their case to voters. Republican Allister Adel and Democrat Julie Gunnigle took part in a debate Friday.

→ With Justice System In National Spotlight, Both Maricopa County Attorney Candidates Promise Change

About a quarter of the hour-long debate was focused on issues surrounding the death of Dion Johnson. The 28-year-old Black man was fatally shot by a DPS trooper in Phoenix in May. The shooting became the focus of protests against racial violence over the summer.

Incumbent county attorney, Adel last month declined to pursue criminal charges against the trooper. But in the debate she said her office is dedicated to improving transparency and said she treated the case fairly.

“I don’t care if you wear a uniform or not; you commit a crime, you will be held accountable," Adel said. 

Her opponent, Gunnigle, did not say if she would have pursued charges against the trooper but said officer-involved cases need fully independent review.

“That’s not a process we can be proud of and that’s what needs to change," Gunnigle said. 

Adel emphasized her experience in the role. Gunnigle promised to bring change to the office. 

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