How are We Getting All These Leftist DAs?
You’d think the following monologue was something out of a conservative documentary about law and order in the America of 2022, but it’s not. Try 1952. It was spoken by William Holden, playing a jaded reporter 70 years ago in a crime drama called The Turning Point, when an investigation into a criminal syndicate is on the verge of collapse:
They’ll dig into the record and find out that all this time and all this money produced absolutely nothing — that the sacred investigation was a complete flop. From then on, they’ll play political hopscotch. A committee will be appointed to investigate the investigation. And in due time, they’ll return with a comprehensive report that’ll be promptly filed and forgotten. And in the meantime, the people will wind up right where they were, at the mercy of the hoodlums.
…But something occurs to me. Even allowing for the apathy of the people, and their lack of integrity, and their occasional lack of intelligence, that’s the fact that they all want desperately to believe in — a certain majesty of the law. And for people like us, like you and me, the greatest crime in law is the lack of faith in the law. And that’s when we join hands with the hoodlums. If they can convince us of the uselessness of knocking out crime, the difficulty, the fact that personal sacrifices may be too great, then we might as well hand over the city, and the state and the nation, too, to the [hoodlums], and let them run it for us.
Handed Over to the Hoodlums
I can’t tell you how many letters I’ve received expressing that same lack of faith. Our system of justice has become so politicized that few believe anyone on the left will be brought to justice, as we see those on the right hounded mercilessly and personally destroyed. Millions of Americans are convinced that our country really has been handed over to the hoodlums and that it’s useless to even try to get back on the right track. Their despair is the worst tragedy of all.
Nurturing Law Enforcement Lefties
So, how did we get to this point? It certainly didn’t just happen. Billionaire donors such as George Soros have been working hard getting soft-on-crime DAs elected in major American cities. And now that they are there, some of them are nurturing the next wave of law enforcement lefties at such policy “think tanks” as the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Hells Kitchen, NYC.
Since 2016, this college has been home to the Institute for Innovation in Prosecution, which works with controversial — I prefer the word “failed” — DAs such as Kim Foxx in Chicago, George Gascon in Los Angeles, and Chesa Boudin in San Francisco to reshape how up-and-coming prosecutors around the country think about crime and punishment. It was co-launched by former Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance — you know, the prosecutor who has been trying for years to “find” something on Donald Trump. So, is he soft on crime? Maybe in terms of racial equity, but not when it comes to political adversaries.
Changing the Role of the Prosecutor — More Proactive, Less Punitive
As the New York Post reports, “The Institute’s symposiums and issue papers hold forth on topics such as race, officer-involved deaths and bail reform — all in a concerted effort to change the role of the prosecutor to be more proactive and less punitive.”
Their declaration, “Vision for the Modern Prosecutor,” says that “no one should be defined by their bad conduct alone.” I wonder what factors besides bad conduct should be used in court to prosecute cases and if Lady Justice is now expected to take off her blindfold to assess these. Should she look at what party or political candidates one supports? How one feels about vaccination and masking? What zip code one lives in? What race one is?
According to their position papers, they strive to charge accused criminals with fewer crimes and, if possible, keep them out of jail entirely. They even recommend that offenders not be called “offenders,” but instead something that respects their “humanity.”
They don’t say it, but this kid-glove treatment seems to apply only to criminals who don’t support Trump, as they apparently believe that anyone who supports Trump possesses no humanity and is, by definition, a QAnon supporter (!) and domestic terrorist.
Reimagined Policing, “Restorative Justice”
They do swerve into the truth when their spokesman says, “No one benefits from the conviction of an innocent person.” That’s quite correct, but it’s a huge leap from that to suggest in a paper called “How Prosecutors Can Support a Reimagined Police Response” that law enforcers should celebrate “when prosecutors exonerate someone.”
Another paper, on “Creating a Culture of Racial Equity,” suggests that a hotline be created so that whistleblowers can turn in “internal obstructionists” who aren’t on board with new “woke” policies. We’re seeing more and more of this lately: the government encouraging internal spies to turn people in for even expressing a dissenting opinion.
Take a look at their website, and you’ll see they’re after more than just the big cities. Their next step is to take “restorative justice” to “smaller jurisdictions.”
We see from this page that they are receiving help from Microsoft’s Justice Reform Initiative. Microsoft, really?
Under “Race and Prosecution,” they mention “action guides” such as “Creating a Culture of Racial Equity” and “Race and Prosecution,” which was co-authored by Angela J. Davis, recipient of the Soros Senior Justice Fellowship, “for prosecutors seeking to address systemic disproportionality and disparity.”
There’s a primer written in 2020 called “Prosecutorial Culture Change,” in which students are asked what they would do “on day 1” as an elected head prosecutor. On his “day 1,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg wrote a memo to his prosecutors instructing them not to seek prison sentences for a long list of criminals and to downgrade felony charges for some armed robbers and drug dealers. Bragg’s chief assistant DA, Meg Reiss, happens to have once been its executive director. And guess who was on its initial advisory panel?
Then-California Attorney General Kamala Harris.
“A Significant Failure”
For details on how this effort has not worked, see the NYP story. It seems as though they’re working as hard to crank out leftists as the schools have been. But the attempt to avoid punishing those who commit violent crimes and trying instead to rehabilitate them has been “a significant failure,” according to former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. “I have been very outspoken about my concerns on these so-called progressive DAs,” he said. “Most of the cities now with these violent crimes are the ones with these types of DAs.”
So, really, the same principles apply now that did in 1952. The justice system fails, the hoodlums take over, and the people become convinced it’s hopeless, thinking we might as well hand over the whole nation. But here’s the positive side: we can see the mechanism by which this is being accomplished. And if we know what makes the wheels turn, we can dismantle it.
Mike Huckabee is the former governor of Arkansas and longtime conservative commentator on issues in culture and current events. A New York Times best-selling author, he hosts the weekly talk show Huckabee on TBN.
Originally published at MikeHuckabee.com. Reprinted with permission.