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Op-Ed: Progressive prosecutors are not doing their duty to equally apply the laws

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In recent years, mainstream media outlets and left-leaning interest groups have consistently claimed that progressive prosecutors hold zero responsibility for the rise in violent crime that has occurred throughout urban America. In fact, most of the liberal media refuse to even admit that crime is up throughout the vast majority of America’s cities. Unfortunately, as most Americans clearly understand, rising crime is a major concern.

Before diving into the current state of the crime problem, let’s examine the history of prosecution in the United States. In short, generally speaking, the role of public prosecutors has been very simple: to equally apply the laws. This is not to say that all prosecutors followed this standard, but it was the agreed upon goal.

However, over the past decade or so, we’ve moved away from that paradigm and into the “new and improved” progressive prosecution style.

There is no universal definition of progressive prosecution, but there are certain aspects that can be identified. According to progressive prosecutors, their overarching goal is to reduce incarcerations. To achieve this misguided goal, they choose not to charge certain crimes. This does not mean that these crimes are not being committed; they simply are not being charged properly and, in many cases, outright dismissed.

This is a vast injustice because it places more emphasis on the criminal than the victim. Furthermore, it incentivizes more criminal behavior because of the lack of consequences.

In our current criminal justice system, being charged with a crime relies on a prosecutor taking it seriously. Once a prosecutor gets a case, they begin plea negotiations with the defense attorney. If a prosecutor doesn’t think a case is worth their time, they will offer the case to be dismissed with no conditions. Of course, any defense attorney is going to accept that offer.

What kind of precedent does this set? It’s fairly obvious to me. This tells me that anyone can commit certain crimes and not face consequences.

In Philadelphia, District Attorney Larry Krasner has spoken on the subject many times. He claims his office charges all crimes, but at the same time, in 2018, he made a policy change to only charge thefts under $500 if the defendant has a previous record. So, in Philadelphia, anyone can steal $499 of merchandise once without any repercussions. That makes sense.

Krasner is quoted in Metro Philadelphia saying, “We have made the legally correct and accurate choice, should we choose to do so, to charge the lesser offense where we think it’s going to promote public safety.”

What disturbs me about Krasner’s view of justice is when he says, “should we choose to do so.”

We can discuss social issues that defendants face on their side of the court system. More importantly, this should bring awareness to the fact that prosecutors like Krasner are blurring the lines of their responsibilities as enforcers of the law.

Technically, as previously explained, prosecutors have some discretion in deciding which laws are enforced. Yet, that is not the main emphasis of their job. We as Americans have a whole branch of government dedicated to the writing of laws, and it isn’t the judicial. Prosecutors are overstepping their bounds when they try to usurp the power of lawmakers.

It’s not just victims of violent crimes who are hurt by the deranged mentality of progressive prosecutors. Local businesses are also being run out of town because they cannot afford to remain in neighborhoods where shoplifting and other crimes are not taken seriously.

For example, a CVS sales clerk told The Philadelphia Inquirer that she is scared of the perpetual criminals who take advantage of Krasner’s soft-on-crime policy. She even pointed out that it’s “the same people com(ing) in, day in and day out.” It’s not as if a law-abiding person will steal for the fun of it. Despite Krasner saying he prosecutes retail theft when there is a record, apparently that record has to be pretty extensive. Philadelphia criminals have been conditioned to feel as though they are untouchable.

If prosecutors did not think laws were at their discretion, they would see the value of prosecuting any and all crimes indiscriminately. Unfortunately, that is not the world we currently live in.

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