Fair and Just Prosecution Applauds ABA Resolution on Prosecutorial Discretion

Via Unsplash.com

By Bryan Miller

WASHINGTON, DC – Fair and Just Prosecution Executive Director Miriam Krinsky released a statement this week “applauding” the American Bar Association’s House of Delegates after passing its resolution “affirming the essential role of prosecutorial discretion in the criminal justice process.”

In addition to this affirmation, the FJP stated the ABA’s House of Delegates, through its resolution, is “calling on all government officials to respect the independence and discretion inherent in the prosecutorial function.”

The ABA’s House of Delegates resolution declares “removal, suspension or substitution of an elected or appointed prosecutor should not be permitted for partisan, improper, or personal reasons.”

The Resolution document notes, “The unexpected success of the reform-minded prosecutor movement has drawn increasingly fierce pushback.”

Much of this success is seen by what the ABA’s House of Delegates reports is 70 reform-minded prosecutors serving in elected positions, which they say represent about 20 percent of Americans.

The ABA states most of the pushback comes against “policies that end the prosecution of certain offenses—such as simple drug possession, loitering, or sex work—unless exceptional circumstances warrant it.”

The ABA adds, “Critics claim that prosecutors are obligated to enforce all laws and that reformers are shirking their responsibility by indicating that they will presumptively abstain from charging certain offenses.”

Despite these challenges the ABA resolution states that “communities have continued to embrace the prosecutorial reform movement, tapping reformers to replace traditional tough-on-crime prosecutors in contested races and re-electing pro-reform incumbents.”

The ABA’s House of Delegates continues in its resolution, stating it is crucial that voters “have confidence that the power of prosecutors is being wielded according to the highest standards” and that “confidence has been shaken in many places. It is time to take steps to restore it.”

In her statement Krinsky states, “Recent attempts to seize power from democratically elected reform-minded prosecutors—and even to remove reformers from their elected offices—are not about placing meaningful checks on prosecutorial discretion or improving public safety.”

Krinsky argues that, rather, they are attempts by the opponents of criminal justice reform to seize “electoral power away from communities that embrace the promise of criminal justice reforms.”

Krinsky addresses in her statement, “As opponents of criminal justice reform continue to attack the independence and discretionary power of reform-minded prosecutors across the country we are encouraged to see the American Bar Association affirm the deeply rooted, well-settled role of prosecutorial discretion in the American legal system.” 

ABA’s House of Delegates charged, “The attack on prosecutors is an attack on the historic commitment of prosecutorial discretion to elected and appointed prosecutors.

At the conclusion of her statement Krinsky stated she and her organization “applaud the ABA’s House of Delegates for recognizing the crucial need to safeguard the independence of local prosecutors.”

About The Author

Bryan Miller is a fourth year political science - public service major at UC Davis. He has a desire to pursue law in the future and has a large interest in the justice system and constitutional law. In his free time Bryan likes to spend time outdoors fishing and hiking.

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