John Creuzot, the Democratic candidate for Dallas County district attorney, handily defeated GOP-appointed incumbent Faith Johnson. Creuzot pledges to reduce mass incarceration. Johnson touted her successful prosecution of a white police officer for shooting an unarmed black teen.
Many prosecutors have made the end of mass incarceration and other justice reforms a focus of their election or re-election campaigns, That’s welcome news, says the director of John Jay’s Institute for Innovations in Prosecution–and long overdue. But it should galvanize support for a broader approach to change.
Prosecutors often show up at parole hearings to influence decisions on whether to release individuals they have helped convict. But a Boston College law professor says justice is better served when they “stay home and keep quiet.”
In Texas, some candidates for district attorney run on platforms of being tough on police, jailing fewer nonviolent offenders. A spokesman for billionaire George Soros, who backs liberal candidates, says, “We want to end mass incarceration. That’s our North Star.”
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner is one of about two dozen “progressive prosecutors” recently elected around the U.S. He may face an “insurmountable challenge” in trying to reduce mass incarceration, says The New Yorker.
As national attention focuses on prosecutors’ role in the justice system, and as more reform DAs win office, they could benefit from up-to-date research to help them make decisions, especially on many lower-level criminal cases that don’t necessarily warrant a prison term, a Washington DC panel was told this month.
FBI agents are probing the Manhattan district attorney’s office over its handling of high-profile cases that were dropped once lawyers for the well-connected subjects made donations. One case involves Harvey Weinstein, who Vance didn’t charge with sex abuse after a Weinstein lawyer made two campaign contributions.