"Every day I make decisions that impact lives," Rawlings said, because he and other prosectors must decide how to handle cases or whether to seek trial, for example.
"I have to believe there is enough evidence for a jury, beyond reasonable doubt" to substantiate a case, he said.
Dealing primarily in sexual abuse and homicide cases, Rawlings noted taking a case to trial "will impact them (those directly involved in the case), their children, family, and their career. It's better to have as much information as possible to make a decision as quickly as we can."
But emphasizing the need that there be sufficient information to move forward and seek a guilty plea, Rawlings recalled a few cases that were devastating to those involved because that proved not to be the case.
In Davis County in 2005, just under 4,000 cases were handled by the attorney's office. Some were lesser misdemeanors, but most were felonies. They were handled by seven full-time prosecutors, one short of the usual, and a handful were taken by Mel Wilson, county attorney.
The juvenile division, meanwhile, handled nearly 1,700 cases, divided between 2-1/2 attorneys.
"We have to prioritize cases," Rawlings said. "In 95 percent of the cases we plead out. We can't do all trials."
Trials are impossible in all situations because of the cost, if for no other reason.
For example, he cited a trial set for a child abuse case in September where one expert from Minnesota will be paid $35,000 for his testimony.
"What do I do? Do I make a deal to save money?" (for the county and the taxpayers) he asked the group of county clerks. "Should I consider costs? I try not to let money affect decisions. It's a balancing act. We have to make decisions given all of the constraints."
Trials can end up costing upwards of $200,000 each and often average $135,000. That's one reason Davis and most other counties belong to the Utah Defense Fund, a sort of insurance policy to help cover such costs.
Rawlings said he is also vowing to continue a fight against pornography. "I'm willing to prosecute obscenity and Internet service providers (ISPs) who let porn through," he said.
"ISPs have the technology to police themselves. But they make more money if they don't," Rawlings said. "I'm going to give it a shot. We're the only county trying to pursue that," he added.
Asked about any efforts across the state to recoup costs from inmates to cover part of their jail time expenses, Rawlings noted that Cache County has recouped $68,000 so far, in a pioneering effort that Duchesne County is also trying.