Skip to main content

tv   Heritage Foundation Discussion on Progressive Prosecutors  CSPAN  May 17, 2022 4:08am-5:56am EDT

4:08 am
4:09 am
4:10 am
>> the prosecutor has a higher duty than other attorneys. her duty is to seek justice, not simply to obtain convictions. as the american bar association notes, the prosecutor should seek to protect the innocent and convict the guilty, consider the interests of victims and witnesses and respect for constitutional and legal rights of all persons including suspects and defendants. needless to say, prosecutors play a vital and indispensable role in the fair interest administration of criminal law. as members of the executive branch at the local, state or federal level, they, like all other members of the executive branch, take an oath to support and defend the constitution and
4:11 am
faithfully execute the law as written. they do not make laws. that duty falls on the legislative branch. for our purposes, road prosecutors are elected district attorneys who have been funded or inspired by george soros who buy into the idea that the entire criminal justice system is to its -- is systemically racist and needs to be dismantled. there are four common features to these road prosecutors. they usurp the constitutional role of the legislative branch by refusing -- [indiscernible] they abuse and misunderstand the role of the local prosecutor. -- violent -- [indiscernible]
4:12 am
>> keep in mind the following facts. violent crime and incarcerations peaked in the early 1990's. both had declined dramatically as crime rates are the lowest they have been in decades until recently. incarceration rates are the lowest they have been in decades. this did not happen by accident. nor did it happen because of road prosecutor's policies. it happened because real prosecutors, democrats or republicans that follow the law and protect victims rights created -- and more. they are the real progressives. the road prosecutor movement started in 2014 with money from george soros to unseat three pro-death penalty elected da's. after removing those da's from office, they decided to expand their goals and geographical so
4:13 am
-- scope young just unseating pro-death penalty da's but all da's who did not subscribe to their radical pro-criminal ideology. they realize that the da is the gatekeeper to the criminal justice system. she decides who gets prosecuted, who does not end what crimes to enforce. the movement first national candidate was kim fox in chicago who unseated the first democrat latina elected to office at the cook county da or states attorney. since then, the movement, funded by soros and others has provided the funding or inspiration for most of the road prosecutors across the country including well-known folks like larry krr krasner and philadelphia, mosby in baltimore, gardner in st. louis -- in san francisco and former boston da now
4:14 am
massachusetts u.s. attorney rachael rollins. the movement is animated by two ideas. first, that the entire criminal justice system is systemically racist. second, the only way to remedy the situation is to come as one prominent left leaning professor wrote, reverse engineer and dismantle the criminal justice infrastructure. both claims lack merit. dismantling the criminal justice system infrastructure is dangerous, as recent violent crime statistics show. the sad irony of the road prosecutor movement is it causes most harm to the very people they claim to care the most about. minorities. in today's symposium, we will explore two unique aspects of this movement.
4:15 am
first, how united states attorneys in cities with rogue prosecutors have carried out their duty to enforce the law. second, how the claims of the road prosecutor movement, mass incarceration over policing are false. how their policies affect real victims. hosting the first panel is my friend and heritage colleague and co-author zach smith. he is a legal fellow here at heritage. he previously served for several years as an assistant attorney in the northern district of florida. he spent two years at a major law firm here in washington. where he joined after clerking for the honorable emmett cox on the united states court of appeals for the 11th circuit.
4:16 am
>> if our panelists can go ahead and join me on stage. thank you for the kind introduction. i am pleased to be joined onstage today by three distinguished guests. each of whom previously served as united states attorney. by way of background, there are 93 u.s. attorneys in the united states and each attorney is the chief federal law enforcement officer in his or her district. local district attorneys are charged with prosecuting state and local crimes. u.s. attorneys are charged with overseeing federal prosecution. traditionally, the local da's and u.s. attorneys offices have worked together to keep their communities safe. the recent wrinkle is the introduction of rogue prosecutors and many of our nations cities.
4:17 am
our panelists will help us discover this phenomenon and how u.s. attorneys can do their jobs effectively even when the local da is a road prosecutor. to my left is andrew leveling, partner in the boston office of jones day. he served as the united states attorney in massachusetts from december, 2017 to february, 2021. andy was a federal prosecutor for 20 years and focused primarily on international drug trafficking and white-collar crime including securities fraud and international money laundering. to andy's left is aaron cox, partner in kirkland and ellis sand practices in the government regulatory and internal investigations group. she is the former u.s. attorney for the northern district of texas and was only the third female u.s. attorney in the district's 142 year history. in that role, she chaired the
4:18 am
attorney general advisory group, a group of 15 u.s. attorneys selected by the attorney general to advise on national priority. she was only the eighth female to serve in that capacity. to aaron's leftist richard donoghue who currently practices at a major law firm in new york city and practices in the area of corporate -- and white-collar defense. rich served as the u.s. attorney in the eastern district of new york and served as the principal associate deputy general in the department of justice answered for a number of years as an army jack officer whose duties included -- prosecutor and defense counsel. thank you for joining us. since our time is short, i thought we would get right into it. one of the questions i have and i think many people have is, what can u.s. attorneys do to pick up the slack in many of these cities where rogue
4:19 am
prosecutors have been elected and what can u.s. attorneys do to help combat the lack of prosecution and many of the cities and verizon violent crime? andy? >> i see this as moving on to -- two tracks. one is the rhetorical side something rogue prosecutors underestimate is the need to present a tough message about crime. it matters what officials say publicly about crime and the need for order and the need to reduce violence and drug use. on the technical side, u.s. attorney's can use the various federal statutes we've got to pick up the slack, literally. if you're watching cases proceed on the state level and you think cases are being dismissed that should not be, or charges are being brought that are too lenient, you can step in with a federal prosecution even before
4:20 am
the state has resolved. this does not happen often. when it does happen, it really makes a statement both to the public and the local da that you are there watching and you are there to enforce what you think is the public interest, even if the local da is not willing to do that. >> you mentioned all of us served on the attorney general advisory committee. one of the things we did in the interest of the entire department was talked about the need to look at the local community and for u.s. attorneys across the country to understand the needs of their local community and where we felt like local district attorney was not stepping in. we were encouraging and supportive of the u.s. attorney to form stronger connections and ties with local and state authorities and step in where they could with federal charges.
4:21 am
when we saw crime rates rising, where we sought a need for federal charges, the entire department was very supportive about that because we understood our single most important obligation as u.s. attorneys was to lead the effort to make community safer in this was one way we could make a significant impact. >> i agree fully with everything. to give a little bit of context, you need to understand how small we are versus our state colleagues. i had about 100 25 criminal prosecutors in the eastern district of new york which covered five counties. by comparison, there were probably 1400 or so state prosecutors in our jurisdiction. when you realize the difference in the workload and the difference in headcount, you have to be selective in what you pick. we do have a tremendously potent arsenal, particularly when it
4:22 am
comes to crime drivers such as drugs and gangs. that apartment has long pursued projects such as project safe neighborhood, project trigger lock and other task force approaches where we look -- work very close with state and local law enforcement agencies, sometimes with the da, sometimes without. we are uniquely situated to be able to come in on the right cases and target the defendants who are the real drivers of crime numbers and remove them from the community. if we do that well, we can have an outsized impact on the crime rates in our communities even though we are small compared to the state. >> you mention federal prosecutors have potent tools in their arsenals. one of the things that would be helpful to discuss is what are the advantages to indicting someone federally versus the state? are they less likely to get released on bail? do they serve longer sentences? what are some of those tools and
4:23 am
a prosecutor prasad arsenal they can use to effectively combat crime? >> just to touch on some highlights come up a new york perspective we have a debtor's bail system. it is really about pretrial confinement. there has been a lot of discussion in new york over what they call bail reform. in some sense it is a disassembling of the bail structure in new york. thankfully there has been public response we see in election results and otherwise. there are attempts now in albany to undo some of the damage that has been done but we do have a system where when you have a defendant in custody, you can bring them in front of the judge and the judge can consider everything that is relevant. the strength of the evidence, whether they are a flight risk, whether they are a danger to society. these are things that new york state judges have been specifically report -- precluded from considering.
4:24 am
we have that advantage feared we also have an advantage of being able to charge racketeering offenses and larger conspiracy cases, which is typically the case in court. you can capture more criminal conduct and more participants in criminal conduct and we have more mandatory minimums and we have higher sentences. absolutely key in violent crime is when you get convicted in federal court then you are serving a federal sentence, you are going to be removed from the community. it is very likely you are going to be far from new york city. therefore it is not a situation where fellow gang members can take a short ride to visit you. there are a lot of advantages in the federal system prosecuting people but we have to be selective in who we target. >> i think two things i would add to that. number one on the issue of bail, and the federal system it is so important because federal prosecutors are the ones that
4:25 am
moved to detain. we have the ability to assess that and we put on evidence. the judges make the decision. therefore when we encounter violent criminals, we feel like if they are a danger to the community or flight risk we have the obligation to move to detain. in texas that is not how it works. the only way the prosecutors can move to detain as after the initial determination. and for whatever reason, that's not happening. oftentimes defendants are being let out after having committed very violent crimes. this is another way the federal prosecutors are having to pick up slack, where -- is being let out after being charged with very violent crimes. you hear this a lot, this refrain from police, that they are completely demoralized by the fact that they are out arresting violent criminals and within 24 to 48 hours, the
4:26 am
criminals are back on the street. how are they going to make any real impact in creating a safer community when they have done their jobs and get these criminals are not being detained. when there are federal charges, the feds do try to step in and moved to detain. most often we do get those criminals detained because we put on the evidence that they are a danger to the community. with respect to -- we tend to go quicker in the federal system for dark cases tend to get resolved either by guilty pleas or trials. we have less volume, we have the speedy trial act, so we cannot get our cases moving through the system faster than the state. >> the only thing i would add is a corollary. >> street-level gang members are
4:27 am
pretty sophisticated in the difference between federal and state systems. if you keep in mind a view from the street, you see the potency you have of the federal side. the average gang member who gets arrested on a state charge knows he's probably going home that day. but if he is arrested federally he is much more likely to be detained. he is more likely to be convicted and more likely to go to prison on a mandatory minimum or some substantial period. once that person gets arrested, he never comes back. other people in the community see that and they know that, that on a federal charge, you're going to see him in five years. whereas on a state charge, you are going to see him for dinner. that has genuine value which the current crop of prosecutors don't really understand. they don't build that into their own calculations. >> to add to andy's point,
4:28 am
victims know this as well. when you are in a community and you are trying to get people to cooperate with law enforcement, if they know that guy is good to be home for dinner, they are understandably not cooperating. there is a real fear that is well-founded where if he is detained prior to trial and they see people are removed from the community for significant periods of time, they feel safer in terms of cooperating with law enforcement. >> when prosecutors make announcements about the limitations they are putting on crimes, when they say we are not going to prosecute marijuana offenses if you have less than a trope or two ounces, that gets out on the streets very quickly. suddenly the police departments are not finding people with more than four ounces or two ounces, whatever the limitation has been publicly disclosed. it is absolutely something the street gangs are wise to. >> to piggyback on that, one of
4:29 am
the things that many rogue prosecutors say is that they are not prosecuting what they have termed quality-of-life crimes. low-level drug offenses, theft below a certain level, so they say they can focus on more serious crime. i would be curious to get your perspective of that particularly because you said one of the benefits of being a federal prosecutor is to focus on the worst offenders. rich? >> quality-of-life crimes are important and it is a red herring to say we don't have the resources to enforce the more they are not worth enforcing or they have a disparate impact on minorities. i do not think any of those arguments withstand scrutiny. first of all, a lot of these quality-of-life crimes lead to larger things. we were talking earlier about how a lot of cases in new york city have been made starting with the turnstile jump. the guy who jumps the turnstile has a gun, the gun is linked to a murder.
4:30 am
or he's got distribution quantities of drugs. those crimes matter. enforcement of those crimes matters and the police departments know it. they have seen it. we have historically driven crime down for 25 years. quality-of-life policing was a big part of that. now unfortunately in the last for years we are seeing the consequences of it. quality-of-life is -- and when these prosecutors wave the wand and say this entire class of crimes will not be enforced, again, it reduces their ability to effectively protect the community and also strips away legislative power and things of that sort. it really does damage the life of our citizens and the city day today because law-abiding citizens find themselves ceding the public wary of criminals because they have no choice.
4:31 am
>> to play out a line, you take criminal sentencing that is fairly innocuous, say criminal trespass. we are not going to prosecute criminal trespass and you think it's not a big deal. what you have to play out is you from a business owner in a shopping center, now the police department is not going to persecute you for criminal trespass. you start having two or people showing up in the parking lot, nobody can shoot them away. now, 68 people show up. now they are playing dice. a few of them have guns, they're selling drugs, now you have a gang problem. and it all started because you couldn't call the police to get the people from hanging out in your parking lot. that is a criminal trespass, a very minor offense. without being able to prosecute that or even the deterrent effect of being able to call the police and have them threatened to arrest on that.
4:32 am
you have shopping centers that have masses, open-air drug selling and it all started with the ability to gather and no ability to deter that. there's very little the feds can do about that. so you have this type of nonprosecution going on that just leads to bigger and bigger problems. >> to follow-up on that, one of the things we were talking about earlier was this idea of prosecutorial discretion. a lot of rogue da's are not prosecuting those crimes and saying they are using prosecutorial discretion. can you talk a little about why that is not a traditional understanding of prosecutorial discretion? >> prosecutorial discretion does not mean you get to, as a
4:33 am
prosecutor, decide wholesale you're not going to prosecute certain crimes. it does not imbue a prosecutor with legislative authority. if a prosecutor has discretion on any case, given the fact to take the case were not. what i could not do as a u.s. attorney's say there's a whole class of federal crimes i just will not prosecute. importantly, here's a press conference to announce the crimes i will not prosecute. that is simply not prosecutorial discretion. when you do that it creates real problems for your community. >> i think that's all exactly right. you can see this trend developing over the course of several years with an overall reduction of respect for certain laws. marijuana is a great example. a number of states have passed laws allowing possession and distribution of marijuana while
4:34 am
knowing it is illegal under federal law, knowing that federal laws supreme. they do it despite that. that is an intake -- indicator along the line of this trend. i think what you are seeing with rogue prosecutors is an absolute intrusion into legislative function. categorically carving out immunity for certain crimes, they are short-circuiting the legislative process. the legislator may have decided -- i think the da in dallas can decide to not charge larceny for under $750. if the legislature wanted that, it would have done that. >> just a follow-up on one of aaron's points, it is not as if we are seeing these prosecutors say, well as a matter -- and within my prosecutorial discretion i am not going to pursue these. because i need to apply those resources throughout the
4:35 am
criminal chain. what we are seeing is them select, basically disassemble the system from top to bottom. in new york, murder one is a limited class murders. you see da's in new york city saying now, we will not pursue life without parole in murder cases period. if a police officer gets killed in new york city in that particular county, if they follow through on this publicly stated commitment, they will not pursue murder in such a way that the defendant can get a life without the possibility of parole. that does not tell me you are taking the resources that would otherwise focus on quality of life and applying them elsewhere to get more deterrence. you are across the board dismantling the system and watering it down. which only encourages violence against police officers.
4:36 am
>> i don't want prosecutorial discretion to be misinterpreted too because we all use prosecutorial discretion and every prosecutor wants to have it. some of the most of -- most important decisions we make as u.s. attorneys are the ones where we decide not to prosecute individuals. the decisions we made that no one will know about. to say that we would just wholesale announce we were not gonna prosecute certain crimes would not be what we are doing. >> each of you served as u.s. attorney and cities were a local da, a rogue prosecutor had been elected as the local da. one of the things i am curious about is, what is the best approach for a u.s. attorney to take when the local prosecutor has made those announcements that they are not going to prosecute entire categories of crimes and they're not going to seek certain sentences even
4:37 am
though the legislature has authorized the what is that relationship like with that da and how can u.s. attorneys still effectively use their power? >> i have a great personal relationship with my local da. rachael rollins. i thought that while i was the u.s. attorney and she was the da of suffolk county, it was not in the public interest to air their dirty laundry that way. to have those spats publicly. we tried to work with her where we could on gang cases. on a separate track, what i would do, because i think this is an important aspect of the prosecutor role which is not discussed enough, i would have clear communications with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. say look, we have your back. continue to do what you are doing. if you have a case you need done and the boss and to the da won't
4:38 am
do it, call us. we will do it. when it came to public messaging, i went out of my way to be extremely supportive of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. law enforcement agencies are sensitive to morale issues. they think to themselves, we are putting ourselves at risk for your benefit so you had better be supporting our activities. in my jurisdiction, i found that worked best. it was in no one's interest to have an overly hostile and publicly hostile relationship with my counterpart. that did not make the communities any safer. that was the approach. >> i had and do have a good relationship with the da. he is a person that i respect. he had a lot of good experiences. we worked together on many
4:39 am
important initiatives where we could benefit the community and still work together on certain things. we had lots of discussions. we, importantly, respectfully disagreed on certain fundamental things. it was never going to be a situation where we disagreed publicly or did anything publicly to make the other person feel like we were disrespectful of one another's positions. i certainly felt like it was incumbent upon the u.s. attorney to force those relationships with -- for the safety of the community as best we could. we needed to work together in areas and we did very successfully on domestic violence and human trafficking and public safe neighborhoods. there was just no way i was going to jeopardize doing that because we disagreed. i certainly was open and upfront about our disagreements but we were able to work together on
4:40 am
many things which benefited our community. >> that's absolutely right. you have to have a constructive relationship, as constructive as possible. there's too much at stake. there's a lot that you can still work on together very collaboratively. sometimes as a good guy, you have some not great teammates. you do the best you can. in areas where we can have a lot of overlap such as drugs and violent crime, and we can take up slack and there are other areas you don't have that federal reach, he did not find it constructive to speak out publicly about certain da's or policies elected by the people. i did speak out publicly about bail reform in new york because i felt it was dangerous and misguided. but that was legislation that had been passed in albany and things of that nature that i thought they should be considering because as a public
4:41 am
safety advocate for the people of my community i felt the need to speak out. but generally you do the best you can and make good decisions along the way to do the best in the interest of the community. >> all of you were u.s. attorneys under the trump administration. we have a new administration and power. is there anything the biden administration or biden appointed u.s. attorneys should be doing that they are not to help to keep their communities safe? especially in communities where rogue da eggs -- da's are not prosecuting crimes. >> and i -- what i think about most is messaging. there are substantive things you can do. homicides are up 20%, the opioid open to make -- epidemic is worse than it has ever been despite our efforts. covid made short work of our efforts. so, no more memos about school boards.
4:42 am
make a nationwide push on violent crime and drug enforcement. one of the things we were told when we started is we have a very rhetorically powerful decision. a.g. sessions used to describe us as the convening authority. lead from the front. what you need from the attorney general on down is distinct messaging by the u.s. attorneys about the need to combat violent crime. not gun violence, violent crime enjoy trafficking. tone matters. that does trickle down to the street. if people think there will be unhesitating and strong enforcement, you will begin to see a deterrent effect. but that is not the messaging you see and i think that is a big factor. that has been very lacking in the current moment we are in
4:43 am
when we see crime creeping up. >> i do think that you have to realize that one of the most important tools that the department of justice has is the 93 generals they have in u.s. attorney offices. this is the way that justice can have a huge impact across the entire country. one thing i think general sessions did was really empower the u.s. attorneys to look within their districts, determine within their districts what were the most pressing crimes we had to deal with, work with state, local and federal oil it agencies to deal with them. violent crime was a huge issue for all of us. drug crime, human trafficking. we were lurking within our -- to where we could make the biggest impact. they empowered us then to communicate that message of what we were doing within our districts.
4:44 am
we were to communicate what we were doing to press conferences, through media releases. they wanted our communities to hear from us. they didn't want all that message to be coming from maine justice fear they wanted us in our communities talking with our people. for someone like me, my district was a vast swaths of texas. over 8 million people. the largest district in texas. if my district were a stated would be the 10th largest state in the union. there was a large geographic community to cover and i was expected to get out in the community and work with people. we were empowered to do that. >> i have had the privilege of serving -- in every president from bill clinton through joe biden. what i told people consistently throughout that time is when we have a change in administration, recognize that lawn -- law enforcement is the least
4:45 am
affected. no one wants gangs to succeed, no one wants drug dealers to succeed. there's no republican versus democrat way of taking down a street gang. the overlap is significant and a continuation of that effort in the that said, i would say to my colleagues right now, you need to recognize that you as a u.s. attorney are directly responsible for the crime in your district. i used to track comps -- in new york. they use it in very detailed data. it is fantastic. it lets you see what is going on in the city on an hourly basis. you can see crime's spike and trends developing, bad actors in certain parts of the city. i would tell them, don't fall victim to the theory that the da's are responsible.
4:46 am
and we asked federal prosecutors somehow fly above it and occasionally make racketeering cases per that is not what we do. we are as responsible for the day-to-day violent crime rates in our districts as the da's and we need to look at it does -- that way and we need to work collaboratively in a task force model with those state and local law enforcement authorities to address it on a day-to-day basis. >> i see we have a few minutes left in our panel. i know we want to leave time for questions either from folks in the audience where we may have questions coming in from our viewers online. if anyone has any questions they would like to ask our panelists, start thinking about those and we will go to the question portion of our program after this next question. i want to follow up on something you mentioned, a program called project safe neighborhood. could you briefly tell us what that is and why it is important?
4:47 am
and how u.s. attorneys may be can use that to effectively combat violent crime? rich? >> psm was first started in 2001. i might be off by a year. i was relatively young and it was tremendously exciting to be told by leadership, we want you to go out there and address violent crime directly. do not wait for it to work its way up from the das office. what we did was we prioritized gun crime. robberies relating to commercial establishments and things like that. we also worked collaboratively with our da's in the eastern district of new york and across the department. we reached out to each office and said, we want you to work with us. give us your prosecutors. we will pay their salaries. they will exist in both worlds. they will do your state and county court cases and they will
4:48 am
help us identify -- if it is a particularly bad actor worthy of federal consideration and then they bring the cases over to us and they do the cases in our courthouse. it was tremendously effective. there is a great deal of data how successful that was in 2001 through 2005. in the obama ministration, it continued on paper but was deemphasized and a lot of the funding went away. in the trump administration it was brought back into the same results. tremendous results, tremendous partnership. -- is very important to the success of driving down crime rates in our local communities. >> in the trump administration, psn was improved because there was a lot of studies done from the early years. in the trump administration reused a lot of data-driven exercises. so when we started our programs
4:49 am
back up again in the northern district of texas, we used an outside criminologist to look at the crime rate in big urban areas. that is where we focused enforcement efforts. we focused in just on the data, looking at the data where the most violent crime was happening , and then we targeted our enforcement areas there. the other thing we did was, using grant money, we engaged our communities in very direct ways in those same areas. we went in the communities and we had -- we engaged with schoolchildren. we engaged with communities. we used our resources at the u.s. attorney's office and the das office to go into those communities and introduce them to law enforcement, let them know who we were and what we were doing. we had our families there. we had a lot of specific events so that it was not just an enforcement effort. we were trying to let them know
4:50 am
we were making their communities safer and reused money to take out blighted areas and add lighting and community areas. it was a comprehensive program and it was one that is being dis-emphasize. it is my hope that it is still going on. >> two things. one of the fundamental principles of the program was the findings from the 1990's and early 2000's that if you focused only on the most violent actors and found a way to prosecute them federally, yet had an outsized impact on violent crime stats because individual actors were committing multiple violent crimes over the course of a year. they tried this in boston in the 1990's and if they cut the homicide rate by 60% one year.
4:51 am
they called it the boston miracle. it is a great idea. with psn, that grew into a more structured way of interacting with state and local authorities in a symbiotic approach to tackling crime. it was a structured way of funneling grants and money into local communities. there's basically no downside. every administration should be doing it. seeing it deemphasized under obama, that was too bad. you had prosecutors devoted to that work treading water. waiting for new funding and resources. >> quick comments, and he talked about the miracle. there were miracles across the city and across the country for 25 years. we had about 2200 murders in new york city in 1992, the year i graduated law school. we drove that down to less than
4:52 am
300 over 25 or 27 years. that is incredible. if you had said to the law enforcement community in 1992, we need you to drive down the murders by 80%, they would have said it was impossible. it is not impossible. we know how to do it. it is not something new we have to learn. >> if anyone in our audience has any questions they would like to ask a mobile sunday microphone. i see a hand in the back. we will come down front afterwards. >> hi. i have been following this issue for about five years now. my question is, when it comes to road prosecutors, what recourse is a crime victim have within the federal court system to bring the issue of a crime before the feds under circumstances when the victim is
4:53 am
based with a police department that will withhold a police report and demand the victim get a court order to get the police report. when the attorneys won't take a case because there is no police report and the victim -- in the victim's possession and they assume there is something wrong with it if the prosecutors refused to prosecute it. the third element is refusing to communicate with crime victims claiming it is all -- product. when a victim's faced with that situation and the clock is ticking, how does a victim approach the federal prosecutors with that situation with no attorney, no police report, no cooperation from the da echo what is a practical step they need to take? >> the next panel will talk specifically about victims rights. but, i open it up to our panelists who have thoughts. >> not a great situation, right?
4:54 am
there is so much out there the u.s. attorney hasn't considered. in every district, they have a website for you can contact them. there are forms you can file. that said, it's not a great situation. police report as an ausa, there's not a lot to assess. you do start with the presumption that if the cases worthy of federal prosecution, they would have referred it. i would say the role of victims organizations, not just the individual victim which is important, but one thing we are missing in the current conversation is what was so important in the 1980's, victims rights organizations stepping forward. in the federal system we've got the victims rights act. it is a strong statute that tips -- that gives victims a voice. but issues not in the federal system because a crime has not been charged there, it is just not available. make your concerns known. report to the u.s. attorney's
4:55 am
office. try to work with victims groups to show the u.s. attorney's office that not just an individual case, but these types of cases are not being adequately addressed. >> we had these exact discussions about how the rights organizations were so much more vocal. i will tell you that i had these very examples that came to me when i was u.s. attorney. these were victims and they wanted us to help them get their cases prosecuted. it is a heartbreaking situation where you have to tell them, hey, i cannot force the state to take your case. what i can do is have you meet with a federal agency, whether it is dea, fbi, secret service, and they can explore whether there is a federal charge. if there is not, there is honestly nothing i can do. every single time i would arrange for those meetings because u.s. attorneys do not invest a great crimes, we work
4:56 am
with investigative agencies. on many occasions that was the result and it was heartbreaking. i hear the it is one we deal with a lot. >> the victim was one out of the state where the crime was committed, because i go to federal jurisdiction? for that be enough for federal prosecutors, because the crime happened in one jurisdiction and the victim was a resident of another is that enough? >> not typically. but it depends on the type of crime and that is what we explore in this conversation. >> i think i saw another handed down front, in the front row. that's ok. >> a lot of liberals who are soft on crime, also support
4:57 am
strict and control. i am trying to find out, do you know if these same prosecutors, who are soft on these victimizing crimes are willing to punish those who use guns in defense of self and others against victimizing crime? >> one of the things i am curious about, federal prosecutors often prosecute felon in possession cases of guns. why are those types of felon in possession cases so important for a federal prosecutor? >> i think something common to all of us is, felon in possession charges are often an effective way of getting serious criminals off the street because by definition, this is an individual with a prior felony. usually they involve someone with a prior violent -- felony and they are now found with a firearm they are easier cases to
4:58 am
prove. and you can get those people off the street and so not committing further violent acts and into federal custody. it is easy to do a lot of those cases. this gentleman's question, on the federal side this issue does not come up often. i can tell you that, when we were in office, if someone had used a firearm, in the course of self-defense, you think very hard about whether or not you would prosecute them for that thing because we recognize that you are allowed to do that. that's an error comes up much more on the state and local level than it does. on a federal level. [indiscernible] many issues, i've heard a case in oakland were a historic owner was prosecuted because he went out and shot at some muggers,
4:59 am
robbing one of his customers who went out the store. that is what i'm trying to say, are the state and local prosecutors, when they go after or are they strict on punishing those who are not otherwise criminals who use firearms in defense of others, who cannot get permits. >> i've seen very few stories on that. one, i have not heard any prosecutors address this directly. i do not know that would be a priority. two self-defense is a defense. if you are someone who uses a firearm in self-defense, even the road -- will prosecutors are not going to be quick to prosecute that person because legally that would be a losing. they would not be eager to bring the case even though there are prosecutors who would be perfectly happy to prosecute gun crimes because they want guns
5:00 am
off the street and are supportive of gun control. >> i think your comment has broader implications because why do you have these confrontations? you have them in part because people in the community do not feel that law enforcement can or is protecting them. so, that is part of the unfortunate part that goes back to quality-of-life prosecutions and whether or not moralities good in the police department because we have all seen it. most of us here are around long enough to remember the 80's and 90's and how it was. we start in new york city, i spent most of my professional career there. when you have this low level lawlessness good -- it encourages a situation where you unfortunately have more confrontations between citizens and criminals instead of just the police and criminals. those can go bad in a lot of ways. >> that is almost accounted, at least in where i was u.s. attorney, i worked disgustedly with eda -- successfully --i
5:01 am
worked with eda. -- i worked with the da. especially with domestic violence cases were we prosecuted domestic violence perpetrators who were carrying guns. we did that very successfully. >> i think we have time for one more quick question. i know we have some more hands in the audience but we are getting some questions online, as well. so i wanted to see if we had any online questions. >> we have one online, several online, one of them has asked, we have hurt you say in the past that prosecutors or u.s. attorneys may not be a big of a problem, because there are more bar rails for federal prosecutors they have to answer to the ag there are federal policies etc.. but don't u.s. attorneys exercise discretion?
5:02 am
is there any action congress can or should take to but more guardrails in place? >> personally i do not think i would encourage congress to put guardrails in place for you he want a field general to have a lot of expression to fight crime in their particular district since the district is -- knows what their needs are. by no road prosecutors who become u.s. attorneys are facing greater control than they were purely elected officials. if healthy. if you are a road prosecutor who is now u.s. attorney. and you do something that is really out of bounds, you're going to get a phone call from d.c. about that. that is a good thing. i think that is an improvement on having these men and women as elected da's. they have a lot more power than local ones but i will not go so as far as to suggest congress should rapidly and further restrict the role of the u.s.
5:03 am
attorney in a given district. >> you are not an elected official anymore you report to the attorney general and you serve the pleasure of the president. >> thank you all so much for participating in our panel. this has been a fascinating discussion. if everyone would please joining me and giving our panelists a round of applause. [applause] >> if you don't mind, you can go ahead and return to your seats in our next panelists can make their way to the stage. our next panel to introduce my colleague coley stimson who
5:04 am
kicked off the event today. he's the director for legal and judicial studies at the heritage foundation. he also serves as the senior legal fellow here. he is an experienced trial attorney he served as a prosecutor at the state and local levels. he also served as a variety of roles as an officer in the navy. he served as an assistant to the u.s. attorney for the district of columbia and as a prosecutor, he is focused on homicide, violent sex crimes, domestic violence and other felonies. he served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense in the george w. bush administration and he writes extensively about crime control and criminal justice policy. he is my co-author on the rogue prosecutor series and the co-author for our upcoming book on the same topic. i turned back over to you. >> thank you, zach. and a great first panel. we are going to switch our focus
5:05 am
from u.s. attorneys to the broader mill you of the rogue pot -- prosecutor dems -- victims perspective. i'm delighted to be joined by two colleagues, kathleen katie is a victims rights attorney in los angeles she provides pro bono representation to crime victims and assist them with asserting their rights in criminal and juvenile justice cases. she was the deputy da and the leds office for 30 years, from 19 89 to 20 19 where she held leadership activities for the victims bureau services and prosecuted hundreds of cases including high visibility homicide, sexual assault, child abuse and other cases. she is a board member on the national crime victim longitude, the children's advocacy centers in california and served on the california children's justice act task force and received
5:06 am
numerous awards, throughout her career. to date she has represented over george gascon's policies which violate victims rights. rafael is a senior fellow, for the policing and public safety initiative at the manhattan institute in new york and a contributing editor of city journal. his first book, criminal injustice will be available in july of this year. he has authored and co-authored a number of reports and op-ed's ranging from urban crime in jail violence to broader manners of women on civil justice reform. his work has been featured everywhere. in 20 20 he was appointed to serve a four-year term as a member of the new york state advisory committee of the u.s. civil rights. he holds a ba from city university -- in chicago. we are delighted to have two
5:07 am
experts here joining the discussion. i thought it would be helpful if we used some of the policies of george gascon which we described in our literature of the king of rogue prosecutors, and as a proxy to talk about the movement of large. there with me, i'm going to kick off, a number of main policies he has dictatedt --dictated to his huge staff, the largest da office in the country and invite my colleagues to jump in and talk about the two topics. so, his first day in office, george gascon, as you know, issued these so-called special directives to all the da's that you have to follow. the first, pretrial release,
5:08 am
which means, he talked about how cash bail is --creates a two-tiered system of justice and leads to unnecessary incarceration and under the directive prosecutors, prohibited regardless of a criminals long record of requesting cash bail or nonserious felony. misdemeanor case management directive says these are the 13 crimes you can commit in l.a.. the list is not exhaustive. the order says, misdemeanor crimes shall be declined or dismissed for arraignment and without conditions. sentencing enhancement allegations, you and i are going to going to this kathy because you've written a lot about it. what he orders his da's to eliminate sentencing enhancements, special circumstances, life without parole and the death penalty even though california voters have repelled those things and the legislature has passed those things.
5:09 am
kathy, you noted in one of your writings there are over 100 sentencing allegations i n california some of which are mandatory. but he has directed da's not to follow them. the directive says you cannot send anyone under 18 to adult court no matter what. the habeas corpus litigation unit is charged to look at all cases where they worked -- where there were convictions earned in your office to look for injustice including racial injustice, the fox and the henhouse office, which unwinds convictions your office earns. he takes the death penalty off the case no matter how horrible, he established a conviction integrity unit. it did not start under their tenure, started under a traditional da office years ago. including cases that were
5:10 am
tainted by racial discrimination, in his directive he talks about unwinding up to 40,000 convictions that were earned by your office. prosecutors are required to reevaluate and consider for resentencing people who have already served 15 years in prison. the resentencing directive. if you have a sentence over 15 years and you have served 15 years, you are required to join in the defendant's motion to strike all enhancements and join the defense attorney to let them out. those are some of the most agree just of the -- egregious of those from george gascon. let me start with you. we are looking forward to reading your book, we know it will be awesome, this is not a book tour but we will have you for your book to work.
5:11 am
you have done a lot of writing looking into some of the underlying arguments that the rogue prosecutor movement has made. one of which is the entire system is systemically racist. they talk about reimagining prosecution. there is mass incarceration. jump into the conversation to talk about the things you think are wrong about those assertions. >> thank you for mentioning the book. because the book was really an attempt to interrogate the veracity of all of those narratives. i will do an overview of each of those and start with mass incarceration's idea, that the u.s.'s systematically denying people second chances is not true. the idea that our prisons are overflowing with a low level and nonviolent offenders is not true. the mass majority of people in prison are their serving time for a violent crime. the ones that are not serving time for violent crime often have violent criminal histories. with respect to the whole second chance argument i think it is
5:12 am
worth noting that the average state risen in the u.s., when they are released from prison already have 10 and a half prior arrests and nearly five prior convictions. these are not people being denied second chances, these are people who are consistently blowing second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth chances. it implies a massive d car straight in issue. at the easiest way to test whether we have a mass incarceration problem is to ask whether we would serve a public safety harm if we engage in a release of people from prison and we have clues whether how that will work out. longitude in those studies done by the bureau of justice statistics show that between 80 and 80 5% of all people released from state prison will go on to resend at least once, more than one third of them will reoffend five times. when you look at cities that are suffering the brunt of our
5:13 am
livelink -- violent prime --violent crimes, like in chicago where the average shooting -- there more than 10 prized -- prior rest. this is exactly what we would expect to see, what we can expect to see if we engage in a massive d carson ration effort. -- decarcirated. if you include the covid releases in 2020, things are not looking up. i do not ink that is a coincidence think that is a coincidence. it really is an unfortunate line of argument because it is meant to imply racism but it is not directed at anybody, but at the system, they directed at somebody, some individual iraq --after they will defend themselves and with success. they claim the system is a racist but the way they do that
5:14 am
is by ignoring an entire side of the ledger. it is true that certain slices of certain communities do bear the brunt of the cost associated with policing and enforcement. the reality is, they also bear the brunt of the violent crime problem. that is what brings police resources into communities. when the criminal justice system achieves its and, as stated by those, the result is a crime reduction and who benefits from that crime reduction? it is mostly minority communities, low income minority communities. just a couple of data examples, and new york city every single year that we have data on, a minimum of 95% of all shooting victims are either black or hispanic, almost all of the mail. there is nowhere near 95% of the population i can tell you that, from 1990 to 114 across the entire country we saw massive decline in the homicide rate.
5:15 am
the homicide decline added 0.14 years to the life expectancy to the white man, it added 1.0 to the life expectancy of lachman. the x --two black men. it is a major accomplishment to the benefit of low income minority communities. when we talk about the unequaled distribution of the cost associated with enforcement we cannot have a rational and fair conversation about that if we are not also including the unequal distribution and the benefits associated with the operations of the criminal justice system. >> anything you want to pick up in terms of what he just talked about and if not i want to pick up on one of the articles you wrote about that i think is outstanding and we should talk about? >> thank you so much for having us and highlighting what is important. what i would add to what he spoke about is that most of the
5:16 am
crime victims murder families i have represented it would he say -- would say the same thing he did. when you let people out of custody and you are not prosecuting them the way the law allows you are letting the back --the law allows your letting them back into communities and they are victims' who are surrounded by game members who feel intimidated who say i do not understand why you're not prosecuting these gang members because when you not do that you let them into our community and my community is the one that suffers. i am seeing that anecdotally with the victims that i have had the honor of representing. >> as you know, because you are on our panel, the first one was in l.a. and is available on the -- on our website. you are with the current city deputy da's, all as whom club identified themselves as democrats. we have interviewed with the
5:17 am
sheriff of l.a., i think that zack and i learned ths is not a democratic/publican issue. this is a law and versus chaos issue. it has nothing to do with this. you have done some great writing on --since you have retired as a d.a. because you cannot really do it as much as when you were d.a.. one of the pieces i thought was worth discussing today was entitled preventable murder. you start by saying on january 8, 40 one-year-old alejandra garcia was working at a drive-through in taco bell in south los angeles he was shot by jonathan madden after he tried to pay with a counterfeit $20 bill. you use this to talk about how
5:18 am
this death was completely preventable but for the fact that people have abandoned this idea of holding people pretrial because of this obsession of eliminating cash bail. talk more about that. >> i would not say people have, but i know my former colleagues in the los angeles district attorney's office if they were able to do their job, what they have made sure he was in custody? one person, george gascon, had decided that when he issued those policies, that he would take away prosecutors ability to make sure that that defendant had been in custody. so, just to back up a bit, when george gascon took office and took the old to follow the laws and at the same time, apparently someone hit the send button on the email that issued the over 60 pages of policy that directed prosecutors not to follow the laws.
5:19 am
those policies were written before he became d.a.. they were written by certain people who were probably with the public defenders office who he has since brought over to help him run the office. some of those policies dealt with not filing legal enhancements and allegations and many of those allegations --allocations should have been brought to bear in a case where this defendant had been arrested. that defendant who murdered mr. garcia, he had a very long criminal history. he had been arrested and put in prison several times for a --various crimes, including robbery, narcotics, being in exile in possession of ammunition. he had gotten out of his laser -- latest prison stint and he picked up a case of being an
5:20 am
ex-con with a gun. to that charge, he should have some prior allegations added. specifically, strike priors is what we call them in california. though should have been added which would have added to his bail. gascon's policies on not allowing prosecutors to file enhancements to allegations does not affect the sentence you received but it affects whether or not the bail that they are given. of course, judges do not have a crystal ball to let them know whether or not a defendant has a prior criminal history. what they look at is the trucking document that is supposed to give them an indication of whether or not the defendant has a criminal history. the charging acumen did not show it because gascon's policy did not allow it to be added. he bailed out on a very low bail. he got into the community a few months later he picked up a second case in that case was a
5:21 am
sales of narcotics. on that case he should've also had prior allegations added but he should have had it out on bail allegation added so when you are in a current pending felony and get picked up on another one the law allows you to be charged with being out on bail. but, because of the policy, that was not allowed to be charged. once again, the defendant was allowed to bail out on a very low bail. then, after that, that is when he got another gun illegally and went to that taco bell and try to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar bill and when that did not happen he shot mr. garcia with that gun. so, of course, had the law, had prosecutors been able to follow the law and follow the allegations that are legally available, the defendant was likely --would have likely been in custody but because of the policy he was not and because of
5:22 am
that, mr. garcia was murdered and his family is left without a husband, father. >> one of the fun discussions we have had back and forth with rogue prosecutors, is he does not prefer that he prefers progressives. he makes the arguments that the voters voted for these people and they know what they're getting, they are not rogue they are just doing what they promise to voters. my retort is, no. these people had a hidden agenda, talking about reimagining prosecution and these silly happy talks to make you think they are doing their jobs as d.a.. moments after they get elected, they unleashed this a massive document, which they have been writing for months, did not show the public on their website when they were running. this is a fun natured debate back and forth. but that document that was put together, which, rachael rollins had one put together, which he
5:23 am
issued the memo after she got elected boston d.a.. 15 crimes you can commit in boston, they also did the same in philadelphia. we are using this example as a way to show this is a proxy, an approximate is asian of what these rogue prosecutors around the country -- an approximation of what these rogue prosecutors do around the country. what is your thought as you hear her give us an actual case of the hiding of this person's criminal ground to the judge has resulted in the murder of this poor man who was a father and a married man? >> unfortunately it is not surprising. i have been writing on this beat for the better part of a decade. it is something i see a lot. one of the stories that really inspired me to write the book that i have coming out is a
5:24 am
story out of chicago in 2019. a young woman named whitney hill was standing outside her home, holding her one-year-old daughter when a car rolled up and open fire on the group she was with. she turned to shield her daughter and tried to get away, she got about maybe 10 feet before collapsing. her daughter still clinging to her chest. she bled out and she died. the whole shooting was con video. it was caught by chicago police department that had been put on the website. because it was con on camera they were able to make an arrest --it was caught on camera they were able to make an arrest. he had nine prior felony convictions, including one for second-degree murder and he was out on parole at the time. the other alleged shooter had multiple prior arrests and was out on probation for a gun charge. this is not a rare occurrence, at least not one that is rare as
5:25 am
all of us in this room would like. it just goes to show what the potential consequences are and why it is so important to understand that the incapacitation benefits of incarceration. a lot of people talk about incarcerations failure to ability. those failures are certainly well documented but it is not the only important one. when you take a bad actor out of the community you are sparing that community from the harm that would otherwise be done. for the average prisoner in the u.s. we are debating eight index felonies for every year they are in prison. those are just index felonies, not counting other other -- other offenses or felonies. >> and index felony is one of the eight offenses that are tracked by the fbi thought to be proxies, generally so they include murder and manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, arson, grand larceny,
5:26 am
auto and sexual assault and rape . so it rarely is incumbent on the reform movement to have a good answer to the question of what do we do when it turns out that somebody you turn to lose goes ahead and re-offense and re-victimizes the community? how do you atone for that? there really is no answer to that question which is why it is so important to actually do your job and make sure these people are taking off the street for significant periods of time, including using all of the tools in the tool chest like sentencing enhancements. which these prosecutors are skewing systematically because they do not like it because it makes them uncomfortable. the reality is that they would never dare let their children walk through some of the neighborhoods, where violence is concentrated at night and it is very concentrated. every city in america, less than
5:27 am
5% --about two percent of u.s. counties every year see about 50% of all murders. the average of the u.s., as any safe place in the world. will we have our our concentrated pockets of violence that have levels of violence that are unimaginable for most people in the u.s. we do an incredible disservice, when we fail to realize the benefits of the incapacitation through incarceration. >> one of the myths that the rogue prosecutors movement has been peddling in assuming, as people in the public to not pay attention to this, that people will buy, is prosecution equates jail. everyone who gets prosecuted goes to jail. we were prosecutors, we did misdemeanors and our rotation through misdemeanors. you have friends watch in the
5:28 am
office, the large d.a. office in the country, most people who get prosecuted for misdemeanors do not spend any time in jail. so, i think we need to, as real reformers, distinguish between prosecution that results in incarceration for the serious people and handling misdemeanors that result in accountability, because that can bring them into the criminal justice system to give them the right incentives to do the right thing but also sometimes the services they might need to get there life on the right path. can you talk to that? >> yes certainly. some of the misdemeanors that gascon has announced he will not prosecute include driving with a suspended license. you can have your license suspended because you were driving under the influence or you have too many tickets. so, when you're prosecuted for having a suspended license,
5:29 am
hopefully you will go ahead and fix that and get a current license. and make sure that you have paid your fines and done your classes that you need so you will be a safe driver. we all want to have safe drivers on the road. but in los angeles county people know now that there will --they will not be prosecuted with driving with a suspended license. they do not have any incentive to make sure they take classes they need, to pay their fines, they do not have to be worried about, getting another speeding ticket. so what? in misdemeanor court, many people, one day come in for low level sensors they have services available to them. this is one of the things available for narcotics cases that they can go to, drug court, various drug programs and they can hopefully get sober.
5:30 am
i have heard from many people that what save their life is being forced to do that. when you take away that incentive for people to try to get their lice -- lives in order, because if they don't they are facing criminal percussions, then they do not --criminal repercussions than they do not have incentive to take care of something. >> just to add one more thing to that is not only is jail not a likely outcome of a misdemeanor prosecution, it is also not a likely outcome of a felony prosecution. the department of justice did a study all throughout the first decade. every single year one of those studies came out it showed that right around 40% of all state felony convictions resulted in a postconviction prison sentence. 60% of the time, that person either is getting out with time served in pretrial detention or they are getting on probation.
5:31 am
it is not even the case that the vast majority of the most serious crimes that would prosecute when a conviction is secured that the person is going to prison. >> one of the statistics that kevin, who was in the clinton drug control policy said in one of his books about marijuana and policies is that the average -- first off there is hardly anybody in prison for simple possession of marijuana. we are talking about less than 1%. the ones that are in prison for possession had on average one 14 pounds of marijuana. this is not cheech and chong and your college roommate pothead this is a distributor who clearly got charges knock down to simple possession. they probably had to cooperate and provide information on who they were working for. it is ironic that you have heard
5:32 am
richard donoghue and others in the previous panel, that the spike in crime was 2022. now, we are at historic lows for violent crimes yet the prosecutor system talks about mass incarceration. i did some number crunching. when you look at the number of murders across the u.s. last year it was over 30,000. that is more than the entire european continent. so, what are we supposed to do if we do not incarcerate violent criminals? what is the solution that prosecutors propose? >> there is no solution. to them incarceration is a net negative in all cases so decarceration is a public policy. the way they make this argument is by misreading a body of a still developing research that shows that in some cases incarceration can be come an agenda can, which means
5:33 am
--criminal genic, which means they can commit more crimes had they been diverted from that kind of system. there is some research showing that this is the case as to certain types of defenders. when you dig into those studies they latch onto dear life, what you find is those studies cannot be applied to the general prison population in the u.s. the best of those studies are using natural experiments to try and assess what the impact of incarceration is going to be. in the u.s., judges, prosecutors have discretion to when someone is spared incarceration, they are spared for good reason. when someone is treated they are treated for a good reason. that decision is almost never random. if you want to study the effect of incarceration you have to find a way in which, whether someone is exposed to the treatment is random.
5:34 am
the way they do that is they will look at random judge assignment or a random assignment to a prosecutor. they categorize certain judges or prosecutors leaning -- as lenient or harsher and they will look at the marginal defender. the one engage in conic and has a criminal history such that whether to incarcerate them is basically a coin flip. they look at the outcomes for those individuals and for those individuals some studies have found that exposure to incarceration leads to highly -- high offense rates. at that literature applies only to the marginal offender. i do not think anyone in this room is against the idea that -- of diverting the first offender from the system. i don't think anyone in this room is against the idea that sparing someone from incarceration who has no criminal history who made one mistake that the idea that we
5:35 am
can just read those studies on to the broader prison population of the united states which is constituted primarily of people who committed serious crimes and have lengthy criminal histories, that's just wrong. this is my major beef with the progressive party which is they do not have an alternative solution. there is no alternative system that can provide the same public safety bellowed -- benefits. that -- >> do you want to pick up on something you seem to be nodding? >> what i would say is that, my peace in all of this is when i represent victims what i hear from them is the trauma and re-trauma that comes when they realize the prosecutors are not going to be following the law. victims i can only speak to victims in california though i
5:36 am
know many other states have similar statute for provisions in their constitution but in california victims' rights start out by saying in order to preserve and protect the victims rights to justice and due process. then there are 17 enumerated rights in california that victims have in our constitution. victims, first and foremost, these are murder victims families, they do want justice. justice to them does not mean you can say to someone, oh well say you are sorry and you can get out of jail. justice means the person who took their loved one's life where they will not be serving a life sentence without their father, husband, son, that that person should be held accountable. unfortunately, for many of these prosecutors. i'm talking about george gascon
5:37 am
and other people who agree with what he is doing, they seem to think that victims are just going to be ok with someone getting out of custody and not really having to do much time. they think that victims are going to be ok, with not having the law followed. they think victims are going to be fine with not charging a gang enhancement when the whole reason is that there --that their loved one is dead is because of a gang initiation. the victims i have spoken to are not ok with that. they are not ok at all. they are really mad. and they certainly want to make sure that they are elected -- there elected strict attorney knows that they are not ok with the policies he has enacted. >> andrew lelling is a democrat. i had the privilege of spending time with him. he went on the record to talk
5:38 am
about the effect of george gascon's policy. one of the things he said that i would like you to pick up on, he said, when i saw beverly hills and some of these really swanky places in the -- and let vote no confidence against george gascon, there are a dozen across l.a. that voted that, andrew said, where do you think these criminals are going to go? they are not going to go to beverly hills. they're going to come back to my community and they're going to terrorize mike unity. i think that is -- terrorize my community. i think that is why there are people that signed their names on this recall effort. is not been driven by the right wing it is being driven by people who are affected the most in the cities. when they see gascon yell at a murder victim's family, calling her uneducated on camera and prohibiting his own da's from attending parole hearings, such
5:39 am
that the sheriff is sending his own the deputies up there to represent the people in victim, this is resonating with folks. tell us a typical type of case you represent. somebody comes to you, and they want you to do what for them? what do you do for them? >> so, i am privileged to work with several other former prosecutors and we are all doing this pro bono. when i or when the others get a call, the victim says, usually a murder case, says, my son was murdered. the prosecutor is telling me they are not going to be filing the gang allegation, they are not filing this allegation, they --they are doing it because of gascon's policy. when george gascon first came in and prosecutors are being order to dismiss allegations, myself and these other former da's were
5:40 am
able to go to court and take two judges, we are here to represent the victims and we are asking you to not go along with what the prosecutor is asking because to do that would -- you have to make a finding that it was furtherance of justice. there was none in this case and because of that we're asking you not to follow what the d.a. is asking. i new cases that are coming, victims do notn have that same ability. all that we are able to say, yes, we understand how upsetting it is. the one right they have, the victims rights law in california, is that they have a right to reasonably confer. if you want to try to speak with people in the office who might have the ability to change that decision, i can help you in trying to set that up but it is important to manage victims expectations and state please know that even if we set that up it is not likely they will change their minds but i understand that for you, as a
5:41 am
mother of a murdered son, you need to know you've done everything you can to make sure that your voices heard and that you are representing your son and trying to get justice for him. even though you may know you may not get what you want, i'm happy to help you and trying to assert your rights and make sure you have an upper knitting to equal someone in the das office -- make sure you have the opportunity to speak to someone in the diaz office -- das office. >> pulley --we saw a recently in a senate confirmation hearing, with the district court, judge nominee, one of the senators taking this person to task for this position she took prior to the -- being nominee.
5:42 am
he was a retired city police officer detective, he lost two partners during that time. you also, in our talk before, talked about a 2018 study about one million calls tried to cash credit tyler together --try to tie that together. >> part of what gave the modern progressive movement legs is the idea that they could do something about controversial police killings. in 2014 you had the death of michael brown. shortly thereafter, robert mcculloch, the incumbent d.a. in st. louis county was challenged by wesley bell. that whole campaign was centered around the michael brown kid, the need of progressive prosecutors not just to address mass incarceration but also to hold police officers accountable. this narrative that informs this movement is really pernicious
5:43 am
and just wrong. the idea that police are killing unarmed black man on a daily basis is false. you're talking about maybe 14 to 15 cases of unarmed black man being shot by police. also, it may be uncomfortable for some to confront this reality but it is one nonetheless that the fact that someone as unarmed does not necessarily mean they're not a candidate for use of deadly force. i think that case is a really good example of this. in two thousand four,two new york city police officers tried to affect an arrest on a man who decided he did not want to go to jail and he fought. he was able to get bobby's gun, shoot bobby in the chest and exchanged fire with --who was also killed. the idea that somebody is unarmed and therefore not a danger is just not real. police officers have on their
5:44 am
person deadly weapons that can and often do get used against them they have every right to defend themselves against that. with respect to police use of force it is not a common outcome, the vast majority of interactions police have does not result in deadly force at all. i did an article for the federal society review a couple of years ago and i looked at the case in 2018 and i estimated police officers fire their guns a little over 3000 times that your. they affected 10 and arrests. it is well under --.03%. there is another study you mentioned in 2018 that looked at a million calls for service across three police departments one in north carolina and arizona and louisiana. those calls for service resulted in one 14,000 criminal arrest. only one fatal police shooting
5:45 am
was captured. less than 1% of all those arrests, no force was used whatsoever. 90% of the cases in which --98% of the cases in which force was used, they found no mild injury was suffered. meeting less than 2% of those cases which force was used was did not -- do not have major injury sustained. police do their job with a very high rate of success. the single biggest predictor of whether or not police are going to use force is suspect haver and that is something people do not want to talk about. >> let's talk about that then. one of the thing that the rogue prosecutors are proud of, they publish this in -- time they will not prosecute is when they resist arrest. when you say you are not going to prosecute a crime you are going to get more of that crime.
5:46 am
you say you are not going to prosecute turnstile jump, or possession of the intent to distribute or prosecute aft, you are going to get more of those --prosecute theft, you're going to get more of those. when you add in the toxic trio of defund the police, demoralize the police, and you and in the rogue prosecutors you have a horrible combination that results in low police morale and part-time recruiting and rising crime. what about this? idea of not prosecuting resist of arrest? what message does that send to folks in the community? >> it sends a message that you have an ally in the government. it emboldens them. i also think it is important to understand these policies about resisting arrest are being probably gated in conjunction
5:47 am
with signals that those prosecutors are sending to police officers. they will prosecute you if you use too much force. it is not just, hey we are not going to prosecute you for resisting but if you knew -- put your knee on this guys back, we are going to criminally prosecute you and we are going to make your life uncomfortable. what that does is a twofold effect. it emboldens criminals and demoralizes police. what you see is in the areas were police officers have the most discretion that is where you see the decline in activity. that is not what you want. what you want is police to be the eyes on the street and actually trying to find crime themselves and not just respond to 911 calls. when you have that situation you get what we have now which is rise in crime. it is concentrated both demographically and geographically. it harms the most vulnerable communities across the country.
5:48 am
>> well, what i would say is that is exactly what is the problem with these blanket policies. certainly that george gascon has issued. which is where not prosecuting misdemeanor resisting arrest. there may well be one or two or three cases when you look at the fact and circumstances, you would use your discretion not to prosecute but when you issue these blanket policies that say we will never prosecute, and absolutely --it absolutely does hurt morale in police departments, sheriff departments and they put themselves on the line every single day. they have a difficult job to go into situations that are very dangerous. when we are saying, by the way, if someone hurts you or fights you or will not comply with commands that use a legally, well, that is too bad. we are not going to do anything
5:49 am
about it. i would say it is a violation to uphold the law. >> one of the things that was said on the last panel, sort of echoed what we have been writing about and that is imagine a different rogue prosecutors movement. let's say it was littered throughout the u.s. attorneys offices around the country. they are moving -- their moving theory is we are not going to prosecute bank robbery cases because the people who are robbing the banks need the money. this is a quality-of-life thing. or another pernicious rogue prosecutors movement like, we do not think sex between an adult and a juvenile is a crime. it is an act of love and a transaction and we're not going to prosecute those cases. we laugh, but there is no difference between the failure
5:50 am
to enforce, the law evenly in the current system versus the hypothetical one we are talking about. here is the pushback. they say, data and science. support their approach. what do you say to that? >> piggybacked --piggybacking on what i said before, the studies they rely on to make that claim, they do not say what the study show. the data is clear that the vast majority of people who are involved in the criminal justice system are not first-timers. the vast majority of people who are first-timers are spared any kind of meaningful sanction which is exactly the right approach. people who are given sanctions have been given multiple chances before are extremely likely to reoffend again. the studies they rely on are looking and marginal offenses. it's important for you guys to understand that the decision about whether or not to
5:51 am
prosecute or incarcerate is not a random decision. these decision-makers are taking into account someone's criminal history, the nature of the offense, the likelihood the sanction is going to prevent them from prim -- committing another crime, the risk to the community. when you're trying to build out an analysis of the effect of incarceration, you have to narrow it to a circumstance in which the treatment exposure is random. so, again, you're looking at a population for whom the pressure to incarcerate them is going to come down to whether or not the prosecutor has a tendency to be more lenient or stricter or whether or not the judge has the tendency restrict. if this is not a population that is --this is not a population that is represented in our prison or jail's and among those that are getting the most attention from local police officers. >> we are almost out of time.
5:52 am
i think we can turn this conversation on for a lot longer. a lot of our research is available on one webpage. if you go to heritageorg. and you look at rogue prosecutors all of our research is out there. his book is coming out this summer we are looking forward to reading that. i want to give the last word to you to -- two. i will start, as a gentleman would with the lady. >> well, i am grateful again that this is a topic that is being looked at. i can say that, on behalf of the victims that i now am fortunate enough to know and represent and another stories, it is so incredibly important that prosecutors out there understand that when you initiate these kinds of policies it is devastating for crime victims to
5:53 am
feel as though they are being re-traumatized, not just having someone they loved murdered, but there being traumatized again because they feel they are not getting justice in the criminal justice system and they deserve that. >> the only other thing i would add, is when the criminal justice system is seen is not doing its job, what that is going to encourages four people to take justice into their own hands and that is not what you want to see. you don't want to see it getting resolved on sidewalks and in parking lots and in schoolyards. you want the government to do its job because that gives people the confidence they need to go out and act in the world, engage in economic transactions without having to feel like they need to take steps to use violence to respond to what they see as life. the only other thing, again, it is the most vulnerable
5:54 am
communities in america that are going to suffer the most of the downside risk associated with the progressive prosecute of policies. d policing, not going to change daily life -- depolicing is not going to change the daily life. the places things are going to change day-to-day are the places like east harlem, the west side of chicago, south-central ole, where you have cash south-central l.a. -- south-central allay, where you have the biggest areas of crime. >> please thank me in joining our panelists. [applause]
5:55 am
the threat against nuclear war with russia. this is just under three minutes.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on