Reporting Joan Murray
PEMBROKE PINES (CBS4) – As Broward County’s State Attorney for 36 years, Michael Satz rarely has had opponents when he has had to run for re-election.
But in the August Democratic primary, Satz has an outspoken challenger. Chris Mancini, 58, is hoping to unseat Satz as Broward’s Chief criminal prosecutor.
The state attorney oversees a staff of 509 employees including 214 prosecutors.
CBS4’s Joan Murray caught up with both candidates at Century Village in Pembroke Pines where they appeared at a candidates forum.
“I’m running for state attorney in Broward because every day I read something that shocks me,” declared Mancini, a former federal prosecutor.
He has openly criticized Satz, 70.
“Broward’s history is we have convicted more than twice the number of people falsely in the county than in any other county in the history of Florida,” said Mancini.
Satz shot back.
“I am proud of the 509 people that work with me. Right now we are aggressively prosecuting crime and public corruption. I have personally convicted ten killers of police officers,” said Satz. “If you add up our acquittals in three years, it’s 682 acquittals. Our conviction rate over the last ten years has been 85 percent for felonies and 82 percent in misdemeanors. We have a track record of protecting the community.”
Mancini said Broward should be divided into zones and that the assistant state attorneys need to be assigned to those zones.
“Broward is changing. We are 62% minorities. When I give speeches they ask me what am I going to do for them, and I say I’m going to pay attention to them,” said Mancini. “What’s been happening in the county all these years has been two systems of justice, and it offends me. I want top to bottom change in the office. The way we investigate crimes and the way we present them to the grand jury.”
Satz said his priorities are protecting the community and getting additional state funding for his team.
“I have a passion for the job, bringing people to justice and helping crime victims. I truly believe over the years we have enhanced the quality of life protecting the people that live in this community,” said Satz.
The winner of the primary will face Republican Jim Lewis in the November general election.