Commentary: Movement Grows to Recall Progressive District Attorneys

George Gascón, District Attorney

The advocacy group “Fair and Just Prosecution” says the goal of progressive criminal justice reform is to create “a justice system grounded in fairness, equity, compassion, and fiscal responsibility.” Starting around 2016, this movement picked up momentum across the United States, primarily by funding candidates in county district attorney elections. There are now dozens of cities and counties with elected district attorneys that are enforcing massive shifts in prosecutorial conduct.

Reforms were needed. But so far, they have been a disaster.

While the most visible source of funding for these district attorney candidates is the notorious George Soros, the movement is much bigger than the agenda of one billionaire. It taps a core belief of progressives, that America’s criminal justice system is punitive and disproportionately targets nonwhite and low-income communities. It also taps into a sentiment shared by progressives and libertarians, that “victimless” crimes, primarily drug related, should not be crimes at all.

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New Wave of Prosecutors Pushing to Ignore Sections of Law

Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill on Wednesday requiring judges to dismiss cases when both prosecutors and defense attorneys agree. The bill was born after Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Greg Underwood (D) announced that he would not be prosecuting misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to The Virginian-Pilot. The bill is an example of a national push to allow prosecutors discretion to ignore whole sections of law, according to Heritage Foundation Legal Fellow and former prosecutor Zack Smith.

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Eight Commonwealth’s Attorneys Pledge to Not Enforce Pro-Life Laws

Eight Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorneys pledged that they will not enforce any laws criminalizing abortions. The pledge was signed by over 60 prosecutors and state attorneys general and expresses concern over attempts to pass laws limiting abortion. The Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) organization published the pledge on October 14, as Congress holds confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett.

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