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CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLATFORM: 2021-2022

 

  • PRIORITIZE VIOLENT CRIME—redirect resources from minor, nonviolent offenses to serious, violent offenses. Use DA’s discretion to seek, for nonviolent offenses, community-based alternatives to expensive, sometimes counterproductive  long term prison sentences. Free up resources to target repeat violent offenders.

 

  • BAIL REFORM—people not convicted of a crime should not languish in jail for no reason other than that they can’t afford cash bail. Use discretion to provide alternatives to pretrial detention for people not convicted of any crime.  Where appropriate, avoid cash bail.  Where bail is appropriate, ensure that the bail is affordable and particularized to the individual defendant’s financial circumstances. Where the defendant is either a flight risk or a danger to the community, deny bail outright.

 

  • JUVENILE JUSTICE—reduce transfer to adult court for  young children and those accused of nonviolent crimes.  Restore federal Department of Justice  monitoring of Juvenile Court to correct racially disproportionate charging, detention, and sentencing.

 

  • OPPOSE MASS INCARCERATION & MINIMUM MANDATORY SENTENCING 

 

  • COST EFFECTIVE PROSECUTIONS—require prosecutors to provide the judge  an estimate of the cost of incarceration at sentencing.

 

  • RESTORATIVE JUSTICE—develop real, regularly used community-based interventions for property crimes, where victims can participate in arranging for restitution.

 

  • CONVICTION INTEGRITY UNIT—establish Conviction Integrity Unit, as used in Nashville DA, to review prior cases for possible errors, wrongful convictions, etc.

 

  • JUVENILE COURT—support expansion of Juvenile Court jurisdiction to age 25, due to modern science on teen brain development.

 

  • “RED FLAG” LAW—support passage of a state “red flag” law, allowing court orders to temporarily take away guns from persons judicially deemed dangerous due to domestic violence incidents, mental health issues, etc.

 

  • MAKE USE OF COURT DIVISIONS THAT PRIORITIZE REHABILITATIONDrug Court, Veterans Court, and Mental Health Court

 

  • APPOINT INDEPENDENT PROSECUTORS TO INVESTIGATE POLICE-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS

 

Stay tuned for more information.


 

CRIMINAL JUSTICE PLATFORM: 2014

We must use county resources to better fight crime in Memphis. We can bring more sheriff deputies into Memphis by reviving and expanding the joint county-city “Metro Unit” patrols or similar task forces. I have been working with Sheriff Luttrell, Mayor Wharton, and City Councilman Collins on this issue. Crime doesn’t respect city-county boundaries, and neither should law enforcement.

We should also use Domestic Violence and Drug Courts, which have worked well both here and in other jurisdictions. As Commissioner, I have consistently voted to support increased funding for the Drug Court; worked successfully to create a dedicated Domestic Violence Court; and have appointed a qualified judge to fill that court.

We need to improve re-entry services for released offenders so that they can reintegrate into society and avoid returning to the criminal lifestyle. As Commissioner, I have supported and fully funded Mayor Wharton’s efforts to strengthen re-entry programs.

We need to work to increase the number of bilingual officers and bilingual 911 operators to better serve our area’s growing Latino population. I have repeatedly conveyed this and related concerns of the Latino community to the Sheriff’s Department.   I have also conveyed to the Sheriff the need to communicate to the Latino community that local law enforcement does not enforce our nation’s immigration laws, so that all members of the Latino community can feel comfortable reporting crimes and serving as witnesses.

We need to fight privatization of our jails and prisons. Reputable studies have shown that privatization lowers the quality of jail services without saving money in the long run.. Privatization destroys good jobs and increases guard turnover. This in turn leads to more escapes, less humane conditions for the prisoners, and costly lawsuits. As Commissioner, I have voted consistently against all attempts to open the door to jail privatization, working with the Mid South Peace and Justice Center and local labor groups.

We need to spend the same kinds of resources on fighting crack in the city as we do on fighting crystal meth. The crack trade can devastate inner city neighborhoods and make them unlivable for law-abiding people.

We need to work to encourage community-based crime prevention efforts—neighborhood watches, domestic violence shelters, youth programs, etc.

While tougher law enforcement is a priority, it’s also important to make sure that criminal defendants get adequate representation. That’s why I’ve taken on many pro bono legal cases to right wrongs for defendants who can’t afford to pay a lawyer. Some but not all of these cases involve my opposition to the death penalty. In one case, I helped obtain the first clemency of a Death Row inmate in Tennessee in 40 years.