National, state and city police union officials called Monday for St. Louis’ chief prosecutor, Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, to resign over a comment she made on Twitter criticizing officers’ actions before a fatal police shooting in St. Louis. Prosecutor Kimberly Gardner said she agreed with an alderman who said officers should not have tried to arrest a man for marijuana possession.
A justice of Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court said a Boston judge had no authority to force District Attorney Rachael Rollins to prosecute a man charged with disorderly conduct in a “straight pride” parade.
Critics say prosecutors should make public lists of police officers they consider not trustworthy as witnesses. Police unions object. Officers must be presenters of “truth and facts,” says former New Orleans police commissioner Ronal Serpas.
Attorney General William Barr’s recent tirade against reform-minded prosecutors is a thinly veiled attempt to undermine communities that have chosen to take back control of justice decisions from”colonialist” policymakers in Washington, writes TCR’s legal columnist.
America’s high incarceration rates have emerged as a hot political issue, but the supposed shift in public attitudes towards punishment may be “overstated,” warns a University of Illinois law professor. Andrew Leipold argues we should lower our expectations about what’s possible to achieve in the short term, while applying pressure on prosecutors to recognize their role in driving high prison numbers.
Every U.S. prosecutor should expect that an officer-involved shooting or death will occur “at some point” during her tenure, and have in place a plan to deal with it fairly and transparently, suggests a paper produced by the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution at John Jay College.
This is “not the time for a return to fear-driven narratives that find no foundation in fact,” says a letter from leading prosecutors in response to Attorney General William Barr’s assertion in a speech last week that progressive DAs were demoralizing to law enforcement and endangering public safety.
The Missouri Supreme Court suspended the law licenses of two former St. Louis prosecutors for covering up a police beating of a handcuffed suspect in 2014. The court cited both former officials’ “dishonesty.”