Phil Cline has been an asset to Tulare County
After 20 years as chief prosecutor in Tulare County, Phil Cline is retiring.
Mr. Cline, who was appointed Tulare County District Attorney in 1992, has been an asset to the county and is possibly the longest standing DA the county has ever had.
Not only has Mr. Cline been an aggressive prosecutor, but he has initiated many innovative programs.
While under his leadership the DA’s office has been very diligent in going after criminals, it is his softer side that Mr. Cline might most be talked about. It is several programs, including the Veterans court, that set Mr. Cline apart from most of his counterparts.
Besides Veterans Court that is designed to give vets who have run afoul of the law a second chance, Mr. Cline was instrumental in the formation of the Bureau of Victim’s Assistance.
The program is designed to assist victims, including survivors of victims, as the prosecution makes its way through the court system. Additionally, special advocates worked on obtaining restitution and, where appropriate, state assistance for victims to help them recover from crime and reclaim their lives.
Veterans Court was created to help divert troubled veterans out of the criminal process so they could take an honored and productive place back in the society. The first graduation of Veterans Court was just recently held.
Mr. Cline also established the Family Protection Division with specially assigned prosecutors and investigators to handle Child Abuse, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Elder Abuse, and Child Abduction cases. As part of this effort, he introduced the Child Abuse Response Team (CART) program to ensure child victims were not re-victimized by repeated and unnecessary examinations and interviews.
It seems almost ironic that the county’s chief prosecutor will likely be remembered for his softer side, but to us, that is what makes Mr. Cline’s tenure as district attorney most distinctive.