Remember when one of the burning issues of the day was the unchecked power of overzealous prosecutors manipulating the system to rack up convictions and plea deals?
Just a few years ago, being tough on crime was guaranteed to bolster a DA?s political aspirations. The notion that this approach could hurt?not help–a candidate?s chances of re-election was once unthinkable for Democrats.
During vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris? 2014 re-election campaign for attorney general in San Francisco, she actively sought ? and won ? the endorsements of more than 50 law enforcement groups for being tough on crime. Their backing helped Harris win a landslide victory, political analysts say.
But something is changing. In one of the most stunning shifts in American politics, the pendulum is swinging wildly in the opposite direction, with the emergence of the ?progressive prosecutor.? These are radical reformers who want police departments defunded, law and order watered down, and criminals allowed to escape traditional forms of justice.
Most thinking people agree on the need for reform in the American criminal justice system. The decades-long trend toward over-criminalization, compounded by unjust sentencing guidelines and win-at-all-costs prosecutors, have produced a grim picture: in 2016, some 2.3 million people were incarcerated in the nation?s prisons ? a ratio of one to 100 Americans.
The system is clearly in need of repair. But progressive prosecutors have instituted radical measures that, far from restoring justice, have jacked up crime rates in many cities.
These law enforcement officials refuse in many cases to prosecute shoplifters and people who destroy or deface public property, commit obscene or disorderly acts in public, or resist police. Lawbreakers who commit these crimes are being recast as victims of poverty and circumstances outside their control.
In place of prosecuting and incarcerating offenders, progressives say, other avenues of justice including ?rehabilitation,? ?redemption? and ?reconciliation? should first be explored.? These terms refer alternatively to therapy, treatment programs, community service and reconciliation ?encounters? arranged between perpetrator and victims.
Shoplifters in Philadelphia Get Carte Blanche
Since 2013, roughly 30 progressive prosecutors have been elected. A few now preside over district attorney offices in some of the nation?s biggest cities, such as Philadelphia?s Larry Krasner, Boston?s Rachael Rollins and Chicago?s Kimberly Foxx, all Democrats.
District Attorney Kimberly Foxx announced?in December 2016, shortly before taking office, that her office wouldn?t charge shoplifters with felonies unless they either had more than 10 previous felony convictions or if they stole more than $1,000 worth of goods.
Storeowners?blamed?Foxx?s policy in December 2019 for what they said was a string of brazen thefts targeting their businesses.
Far from being deterred, Foxx announced?in June, as riots following the death of George Floyd engulfed the city, that she wouldn?t prosecute protesters charged with curfew violations, disorderly conduct, small-scale shoplifting and taunting police.
St. Louis, Missouri, far outdid Chicago in ?progressive justice? amid the George Floyd protests.? Police had arrested 36 people on charges of burglary, property damage, assault, and unlawful use of a weapon, among others felonies. Twenty-five of them were arrested in incidents that led to four officers being shot.
The violent protests resulted in the death of a 77-year-old black retired police captain, David Dorn, who was killed by looters as he tried to defend his friend?s pawnshop.
A few days later, all those arrested were released and charges dropped.
Some prosecutors were outraged. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt tweeted, ?In a stunning development, our office has learned that every single one of the St. Louis looters and rioters [that were] arrested were released back onto the streets by local prosecutor Kim Gardner.?
The ?Compassionate? Prosecutor
Philadelphia?s Larry Krasner is a former defense attorney who campaigned on a platform that promised to eliminate cash bail, rein in police misconduct and reverse a system of mass incarceration in which African-Americans constitute the majority of prison inmates.
Before becoming Philadelphia?s top prosecutor, he had never prosecuted a case, notes California professor Jody Armour in The Conversation U.S. Yet he won with nearly 75% of the vote in the general election.
Krasner is not shy about his belief in a soft-on-crime approach, which apparently resonated with voters. In 2018, before a packed university lecture hall, Krasner lauded the progressive prosecutor as a ?compassionate? public servant, as opposed to traditional district attorneys who are punitive, wrote Prof. Armour.
The ?compassionate? Krasner diverted a significant number of gun-related offenses, including illegal gun possession, away from prosecution and into rehabilitative programs in his first year in office, a local Philly newspaper, The Trace, reported?in January.
But amid a spike in violence, the city?s mayor and police commissioner?called on?Krasner to be more aggressive in prosecuting gun crimes. When pressed on the high rates of gun violence during an NBC News?interview, Krasner blamed poverty.
?You know, the truth is that poverty equals bullets. And poverty has always equaled bullets. The truth is we haven?t dealt with poverty. And in many ways, the criminal justice system has caused this problem,? he said.
Mounting anger from Philadelphia residents over Krasner?s office allowing drug trafficking to harm their neighborhoods by exempting lawbreakers from consequences, finally hit home.? Bowing to public pressure, Krasner?announced?in June that his office would work more closely with police to crack down on gun violence.
Dallas: Turning a Blind Eye to Theft
In another example of progressive prosecutors taking radical departures in law enforcement, Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a Democrat,?announced?in April 2019? he would no longer prosecute the theft of ?personal items? valued under $750 if they were in the category of ?necessary items.?
In a letter explaining the decision, Creuzot clarified that ?personal items are limited to necessary items, such as necessary food, diapers and baby formula.?
How did these progressive policies impact the crime rate in Dallas? Murders in this city reached the highest levels?in over a decade?last year and are projected to remain at this level for the present time, the Dallas Morning News?s editorial board noted in an Aug. 6 column.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr minced no words in slamming ?progressive? prosecutors for? ?undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook, and refusing to enforce the law.?
In a December rally, President Trump singled out Krasner, calling him ?the worst district attorney,? one who ?lets killers out almost immediately.?
?Quality-of-Life? Crimes Get A Pass in San Francisco
In yet another example of left-wing prosecutors marking a new trend in law enforcement, San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin?pledged during his campaign?that certain ?quality-of-life? crimes which he deemed outgrowths of poverty and homelessness, would ?not be prosecuted? by his office.
?We will not prosecute cases involving quality-of-life crimes such as public camping, vagrancy, committing bathroom acts in public and blocking a sidewalk, etc.. These should not and will not be prosecuted,? Boudin?promised?in response to an American Civil Liberties Union questionnaire.
He expressed his view that offenses of this nature were expressions of a diminished ?quality of life,? and that to prosecute them would be unfair. ?We have a long way to go to decriminalize poverty and homelessness,? he added.
Boudin drew fire for being soft on crime immediately after taking office in January, by withdrawing charges against a man who was shot by officers after trying to attack them with a bottle, the San Francisco Chronicle?reported.
The DA also faced mounting flak in March after withdrawing charges against a 20-year-old man? involved in an attack on an elderly individual that went viral on social media, prompting widespread outrage, the Chronicle reported. The article noted that the accused was already on probation for assault and battery at the time of the attack.
The video showed a man threatening and swinging a pole at an Asian man who was trying to get back a shopping cart loaded with aluminum cans he had collected.
A second person recording the video told the victim to ?go get your cans? and ?I hate Asians.?
Later, the victim was shown weeping. Several people were standing around in the Bayview neighborhood, but none intervened and some jeered and mocked him.
New Mask for Old Myth
Boudin defended his decision to drop charges, noting through a spokesman that ?We?ve been in conversation with the victim who expressed interest in a restorative justice outcome in this case. ?We respect victims and their desires and we will explore this type of outcome.?
?Restorative justice? is the new term progressives have coined for a very old myth. People are innately good, they say, but resort to crime due to poverty and lack of education. In this romanticized view of humanity, the sharp distinctions between victim and perpetrator are blurred because the perpetrator, too, is a victim.
Instead of meting out punishment to the offender, the thinking goes, the system should arrange for him to meet with the victim, along with experts who guide the encounter to a ?reconciliation? between the two parties.
In such an ?educational? setting, the perpetrator will be persuaded to view the victim as a human being and regret harming him/her. The victim, in turn, might be persuaded to view the aggressor as a victim in his/her own right, and magnanimously choose not to press charges.
To get a sense of how the fantasy of restorative justice has fared in the real world since Boudin took office, a glance at the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) crime data tells all, says a?? Minnesota Sun article.
?The homicide rate has shot up alarmingly,? noted the article, citing the Department?s records. ?Compared to the same time period last year, homicides in the city are up 25%, burglary is up 42%, motor vehicle theft is up 31% and arson is up 45%.?
Where does that leave the mostly liberal residents of San Franciscans who voted for Boudin? One would hope that so devastating a picture would shatter left-wing delusions promoting ?restorative justice? in this city of nearly a million people.
Whether that will happen, and if it will happen in time to stop the spiral into lawlessness taking place there, as well as in Seattle, Portland and other cities where progressives have opened the floodgates to heightened crime, remains to be seen.
The Soros Connection
Political analysts studying the trend that has leading prosecutors embracing ?soft-on-crime? policies have pointed to the immense influence wielded by left-wing billionaire George Soros in placing these law enforcement officials in office.
Soros created local, independent political action committees (PACs) which allowed him to bypass the contribution limits on giving to a candidate?s own committee. He was then able to spend unlimited amounts on mailings and television ads on behalf of the candidate of his choice.
Soros?s plan to elect progressive prosecutors has been well documented. The New York Times lauded him for pioneering the ?push to overhaul prosecutors? offices? across the country, and leading media outlets have reported on different angles of his relentless campaign.
?Here?s why George Soros is spending big to help decide who?ll be your next DA,? the Los Angeles Times informed readers.
?George Soros? Quiet Overhaul of the U.S. Justice System? read the title of a Politico article about criminal justice reform, and how ?the billionaire financier is providing the cash to make it happen.?
?Billionaire Soros Funds Local Prosecutor Races,? reads the headline in a Wall Street Journal article. ?Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has plunked $1.5 million into several California district attorney campaigns, the latest in millions of dollars the international financier has spent to influence the nation?s criminal justice system,? the article attests.
Examples of Soros?s modus operandi were on display in the election victory of the above-mentioned County District Attorney John Creuzot of Texas, who campaigned on the promise that he would not prosecute a host of crimes?including thefts.
Creuzot admitted his campaign was largely funded through Soros or his groups. He has been so dismissive of crime and police that Texas Governor Greg Abbott has had to send in the Texas State Patrol to police large swaths of Dallas.
The above-cited Illinois Attorney Kimberly Foxx, who presided over the June street violence in Chicago and released all those detained for burglary and assault, took office in 2017 after winning her election with the help of a Soros-funded super PAC.
?Soros gave $333,000 to the Safety and Justice PAC in 2016 to support Foxx,? wrote former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich in The Federalist.
Murders and Violent Crime Spike
The result? Murders in Chicago are twice what they were in 2019 according to the Chicago Sun Times: ?Summer violence drops in August, but murders up 50% from 2019: CPD [Chicago Police Dept.]
Soros and his organizations spent $1.7 million to help get Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner elected in 2018.
?Since Krasner took office, dozens of experienced prosecutors have either been fired or resigned. Criminal prosecutions have plummeted and crime has risen. Philadelphia now has the second-highest murder rate among large cities in the country,? notes Gingrich.
Soros?s plan seems to operate on the principle that all politics begin on the local level. It exploits local DA races to remake the American justice system from the bottom up.
The leap from remaking the nation?s justice system, to remaking all of America into the far-left world of Soros?s vision, may seem like an unrealistic stretch to some. But law and order is the core of the country?s existence. Uproot that foundation and what will be left?
Weakening Western Democracies
?On the surface, the vast number of groups and people Soros supports seem unrelated,? notes political analyst Caroline Glick. ?The fact is that Soros-backed projects share basic common attributes; they all work to weaken the ability of Western democracies to uphold the laws and values of their nations.
?Their aim is to make it impossible for governments to maintain order or for societies to retain their unique identities and values.?
The catchwords masking these subversive efforts are well known. All is being done in the name of ?democracy,? ?human rights,? ?economic, racial and social justice? and other glorified terms.
Glick points to Black Lives Matter which receives millions from Soros-controlled groups, as a classic example of these efforts. Until recently, she notes, the police were universally admired in the United States as a force for good. No longer.
BLM has worked on uprooting that perception, insisting that police forces in this country are a tool of white repression of blacks, guilty of ?systemic racism.? The impact of the BLM movement has been to foment contempt for law enforcement, sparking an increase in violent crimes in cities across the nation.
?The goals of Black Lives Matter go far beyond what most people think,? writes an opinion piece in New York Post. ?It?s a Marxist organization in the guise of a civil rights group.?
For those who look beyond the slogans and the innocuous-sounding media hype, the group?s goals, as depicted on its website, are clear: a radical Marxist agenda that seeks to uproot the economic system in this country and redistribute wealth in the way BLM deems fair.
?If this country doesn?t give us what we want,? a BLM leader told Fox News following the George Floyd riots, we will burn down the system.?
Hacked Documents Exposed Soros? Enmity Toward Israel
A hacking disaster in 2016, in which thousands of emails from Soros?s Open Society Foundation were leaked by DCLeaks, exposed for the public a system of funding networks, whereby Soros secretly funded controversial groups by channeling the money though other Soros groups to hide his involvement.
The billionaire financier used this indirect route to further his global vision by financing many non-profit organizations throughout the world, all the while concealing his role.
NGO Monitor was one of the first to uncover, in 2013, documentary evidence that Soros was secretly funding a wide range of anti-Israel NGOs, Front Page magazine noted. Until then, the source of the extravagant funding for these groups was only suspected.
The 2016 hack of the OSF exposed the intensity of Soros?s hostility toward Israel. As one hacked document spelled out, the overall objective of the Soros-funded group was to ?challenge Israel?s racist and anti-democratic policies? and erode its image as a democracy in the international arena.
Soros-financed groups work to delegitimize every aspect of Israeli society and to turn Israel into a pariah. These groups all preach the message that a ?racist, apartheid? state like Israel has no right to defend itself, or even to exist.
According to the leaked documents, since 2001, the largest Soros grant, almost $2.7 million, has gone to the Israeli-Arab NGO Adalah. ?Adalah vilifies Israel as an ?apartheid state,? charges it with ?war crimes,? and calls for its international isolation,? reports Front Page Magazine.
The leaked documents show that $1 million of Soros money has gone to another Israeli Arab NGO, the L?lam Media Center. During the 2014 Gaza War, L?lam called on the anti-Israel UN Human Rights Council to ?condemn the deliberate, systematic and widespread targeting of Palestinian civilians.?
The group set up an ?international commission of inquiry? to criminalize Israel for its war against massive Hamas rocket fire.
Some of the funding to these and similar NGOs was channeled through the New Israel Fund. NIF is used to ?launder? Soros money to organizations ?that are active in campaigns to? demonize and delegitimize Israel,? NGO Monitor discovered.
New Israel Fund, despite its benign-sounding name, was thus revealed as an arm of a sinister Soros-backed network devoted to harming Israel.