Voters Support Laws to Remove Soft-on-Crime Prosecutors


Nearly three in five likely voters support new state laws to empower an oversight committee to remove elected local prosecutors who do not prosecute violent crimes, according to a new Rasmussen Poll.

Often called district attorneys or state attorneys, local chief prosecutors are publicly elected at county and sometimes city levels to steer criminal prosecutions on behalf of the people of a particular state. They have wide discretion in setting policies on when to file or drop criminal charges, what kind of criminal charges to file, and how cases travel through the criminal justice system.

In the last decade, an increasing number of elected progressive prosecutors began to use the discretion at their disposal to go softer on certain crimes and decrease population behind bars.

The poll, released Feb. 9,  also finds that the majority of likely voters support state laws that empower state attorney generals to appoint special prosecutors if elected prosecutors abuse their discretion.

Conducted by National Police Association and Rasmussen Reports, the poll randomly surveyed 982 likely voters in the country by phone or web on Feb. 7, 2022. Of those polled, 67 percent of the survey responders are white, and 13 percent are black; 33 percent are Republican, and 35 percent are Democrat.

The margin of sampling error is three percentage points, with a 95 percent level of confidence, according to Rasmussen Reports.

Stanford University law professor David Alan Sklansky has been supportive of the progressive trends in the criminal justice system. In 2017, he wrote a journal article called progressive prosecutor’s handbook to guide local progressive prosecutors’ reforms in their local jurisdictions.

But Sklansky also questioned the unchecked discretion of these prosecutors.

“Few public officials have as much power and discretion as prosecutors,” Sklansky wrote in a journal article, “[Prosecutors] have rarely, if ever, questioned the amount of power they exercise, and the absence of meaningful checks—aside from the ballot box—on their discretion.”

Voters concerned with progressive prosecution policies are using the only tool at their disposal—the ballot box. For example, San Francisco voters have successfully pushed for a recall election of their progressive prosecutor Chesa Boudin on June 7, 2022. In Los Angeles, a petition drive is under way for a similar recall election of their progressive prosecutor George Gascón.

Sklansky believes that prosecutors themselves also have an important role to play in determining what kinds of restraints on their power would work best, according to the article.

One solution Sklansky proposed is to strengthen defense counsel through more public funding. A stronger defense counsel will help curb prosecutorial misconduct, he wrote.

The Rasmussen survey also asked voters about specific prosecution policies by progressive prosecutors in several big cities.

For example, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg directed his prosecutors to stop prosecuting resisting-arrest offenses. Nearly three in five responders think that makes it more likely for suspects to resist arrest in the future.

In Los Angeles County, District Attorney George Gascón ordered his staff to stop prosecuting juveniles as adults, regardless of the crime they commit. As a result, a gang member who committed a murder at age 17 was sentenced to six years instead of a possible life sentence.

Three in five responders think Gascón bears responsibility if that gang member commits more crimes after he is released from prison.

The survey also asks voters if they support new laws to allow more legal tools for victims to seek justice. For example, two in five responders support new state laws to empower victims to appeal a non-prosecution decision to a judge.

Follow

Cara is a Chicago-based Epoch Times reporter. She can be reached at cara.ding@epochtimes.com.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

REGISTER

join the Patriot Network

Meet with other patriots

No censorship. Be free.