90 Miles From Tyranny : In the US, leftist local prosecutors make inroads

Thursday, February 20, 2020

In the US, leftist local prosecutors make inroads

Arlington (United States) (AFP) – On the national level, President Donald Trump is appointing judges by the dozens to positions on US federal courts, ensuring a conservative tilt for a generation.

But on the local level, a small group of progressive state prosecutors have been elected, and they have big ideas about criminal justice reform.

Parisa Dehghani-Tafti — who is now the top prosecutor in northern Virginia’s Arlington county in the Washington suburbs — knows she is not the “typical” candidate for the job.

“I am an immigrant. I grew up very poor. I have done some (public) defender work,” says the 46-year-old, who was born in Iran, and is a mother to two black children.

“The federal judiciary is changing, it’s becoming very conservative. It’s even more important that folks who are reform-informed people are running and engaged in the local system,” she told AFP.

“We are now the frontline.”

Since he won the White House, Trump has named nearly 200 judges to the federal bench. In that time, about 40 unorthodox prosecutors — one is even a tattooed biker — have taken office.

For Miriam Krinsky — a former federal prosecutor and the executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP), which is supporting these local attorneys — the progressives represent a “drop in the ocean.”

But many of them have emerged in major cities such as Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, and Orlando: “jurisdictions that impact large numbers in terms of prison population.”

– ‘Justice League’ –

The United States has the largest number of prison detainees in the world at more than 2.2 million, according to the World Prison Brief database.

But only 10 percent of those prisoners have been convicted in federal courts. The others are the domain of state and local jurisdictions.

In the past, local prosecutors were known to favor tough sentences for even minor offenses, often as a way of ensuring re-election.

But the new guard is advocating a different approach.

“We need more people joining the Justice League of progressive prosecutors,” says Rachael Rollins, the district attorney in Suffolk County in Massachusetts, which includes Boston.

“We are looking at our profession and crafts differently than many of our predecessors have … They would almost exclusively say that the right solution to...

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  1. picture looks like a sixty year old aoc

  2. And we need to know the color of her kids because? smh....


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