Law/Justice

Are Liberal Cities Turning Against Their Progressive Prosecutors?

This is an interesting article. Many of these “progressive prosecutors” are still far too moderate for my tastes, even if they are an improvement over some of their rivals and predecessors. But, interestingly, criminal justice reform has become an issue that is the basis of cleavage between centrist liberal, professional-managerial class types and the further left, particularly the libertarian-left. The former typically has a “We want our neoliberalism with our diversity” approach,  and gives lip service to all the “woke” causes while continuing to prefer the Clintonian/Obamaeseque paradigm. Essentially, this is a class conflict between the rising tech-oligarch/new clerisy alliance and the lumpenproletariat.

By Nikhil Pal Singh New Republic

District attorneys in San Francisco and Philadelphia promised to overturn decades of tough-on-crime policies. Now, as violent crime rises, they may be kicked out of office.

In 2016, the killing of Laquan McDonald brought reform prosecutor Kim Foxx into office in Chicago. Larry Krasner, a criminal defense attorney who had sued the Philadelphia Police Department 75 times over the course of his career, scored an improbable victory in his run for district attorney the following year. In 2019, Wesley Bell became St. Louis County’s first Black prosecutor, five years after the police killing of Michael Brown and the protests that erupted in nearby Ferguson. And in January 2020, the city of San Francisco swore in a charismatic young district attorney, Chesa Boudin, whose fame rested partly on being the son of 1960s radicals incarcerated for armed robbery and felony murder.

One of the unlikeliest trends of the Trump years was the rise of the prosecutor as a crusading criminal justice reformer. From Boston to the Bay Area, “top cops” won popular elections on a pledge to overturn decades of tough-on-crime policies. They promised to hold police who had violated the civil rights of criminal suspects accountable, and to address racial disparities in sentencing. They set out to reduce incarceration by ending cash bail, and to stop prosecuting many minor drug offenses and misdemeanors. Some, such as Boudin, were elected by exceedingly narrow margins; others, like Krasner, overcame candidates preferred by Democratic insiders and fierce opposition from powerful police unions.

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