Rogue Progressive Prosecutors Promote Lawlessness Not Reform

Is it a coincidence that select cities are experiencing spikes in violent crime in the wake of the “progressive prosecutor” movement? Hardly. Their policies encourage lawlessness, harm law-abiding residents (especially minorities), drive businesses out of cities, and demoralize the police by treating them like criminals.

These prosecutors claim otherwise, of course. They insist that their decision to not prosecute entire categories of crime; their reluctancy to ask for bail; their refusal to add sentencing enhancements; their decision to release hardened, convicted felons from prison; their decline to prosecute violent juvenile offenders in adult court; and their disregard of those who commit shoplifting, drug possession, and prostitution – among other crimes – reflect sound policies that have not contributed to the recent spikes in crime.

They’re lying. Let’s take a look at the facts:

Crime rates, including violent crime rates, have had an overall drop in the last 30 years, yet incarceration rates peaked in 2008 – long before George Soros or his “reform” prosecutors came along. Why? Because genuinely progressive prosecutors, working with other stakeholders, created domestic violence courts, drug courts, veterans courts, family justice centers, and thousands of other alternatives to incarceration that are compassionate, create accountability, and provide opportunities with the right incentives for defendants to recover their lives by changing their thinking and behaviors. If someone refuses to complete these programs, though, these prosecutors can still seek incarceration.

Violent crime is geographically and demographically concentrated in inner cities, many of which are presided over by rogue prosecutors, where minority members of their communities are disproportionately victimized, including constituting a majority of homicide victims. As Rafael Mangual of The Manhattan Institute notes in his recent book “Criminal (In)Justice,” “while black people constitute 13.4% of the population, they made up more than 53% of the nation’s homicide victims in 2020.” In other words, the policies of these prosecutors are harming the very individuals they are supposed to be helping.

To truly help those individuals – and communities as a whole – these prosecutors should seek appropriate bail and prison sentences for dangerous defendants.

The idea that appropriately long prison sentences won’t help protect communities is nonsense. Studies show that the longer the prison sentence, the lower the recidivism rate. In fact, the United States Sentencing Commission recently released a report which found that “the odds of recidivism were lower for federal offenders sentenced to more than 60 months incarceration compared to a matched group of offenders receiving shorter sentences…[and] the odds of recidivism were approximately 29% lower for federal offenders sentenced to more than 120 months incarceration.” The authors also found that the “odds of recidivism were approximately 18% lower for offenders sentenced to more than 60 months up to 120 months of incarceration.”

When violent criminals are not required to post bail, there are also increases in crime. That’s simply common sense. Moreover, in an academic paper on the subject, two law professors analyzed the Cook County Bail Reform Study, which supposedly proved that lax bail laws do not impact the crime rate. The authors found that, contrary to the Study’s findings, the “bail reform” changes in Cook County “appear to have led to a substantial increase in crimes committed by pretrial releasees in Cook County,” and the “number of released defendants charged with committing new crimes increased by 45%.” Worse yet, “the number of pretrial releases charged with committing new violent crimes increased by an estimated 33%.”

No wonder the public is souring on these rogue prosecutors’ radical policies and the havoc they wreak. Voters in liberal San Francisco recently removed rogue DA Chesa Boudin from office. His successor has pledged to hold criminals accountable while still offering diversionary treatment programs like drug court to appropriate individuals—something prosecutors have been doing for many, many years.

Ironically, after voters recalled Boudin, one of George Soros’s representatives objected to the Washington Free Beacon calling Boudin a “George Soros darling” in an attempt to put distance between Soros and the failed DA.

A similar issue occurred when we wrote about Baltimore’s now-defeated (and federally indicted) rogue prosecutor Marilyn Mosby. A Soros representative reached out and objected to our characterization of Mosby as a Soros-backed prosecutor, since he never directly contributed to her campaign, even though she attended numerous trips paid for by Soros-funded or inspired groups.

The rogue prosecutor movement operates under two principles: (1) that the entire criminal justice system is racist and (2) that the only way to address this supposed racism is to reverse, engineer, and dismantle the current system by electing pro-criminal, anti-victim zealots into office. Flush with cash or support from George Soros and his like-minded wealthy friends, candidates like George Gascon (Los Angeles), Larry Krasner (Philadelphia), Kim Foxx (Chicago), Kim Gardner (St. Louis), and others have been elevated into office and have imposed their pro-criminal agendas on an unsuspecting electorate. The consequences have been predictable and deadly.  

Prosecutors are the gatekeepers to the criminal justice system. Our nation’s 2,300 or so elected district attorneys have a solemn duty to enforce the law and to do so fairly, compassionately, and without favor. This shouldn’t be a Left or Right, blue or red, Democrat or Republican issue. Either you support law and order and equality under the law, or you back a radical social experiment that, so far, has led to utter chaos and misery.

These are the facts.

Zack Smith is a Legal Fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Charles D. Stimson, a senior legal fellow at Heritage, manages the think tank’s National Security Law Program.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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