Reining in rogue progressive district attorneys and judges
As I write this, New York City is laying to rest a 22-year-old police officer killed in an ambush attack by a career criminal.
New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg has doubled down on his written progressive policy stating that the U.S. Constitution gives him the right not to prosecute certain crimes, while Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon has recommended prosecuting a 26-year-old adult transgendered female as a juvenile for a sexual assault on a 10-year-old committed when the suspect was 17 years of age.
If convicted in juvenile court under Gascon’s proposal, the suspect would be incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility with other minors. Rational people understand this is not an acceptable solution.
Meanwhile, Bragg tries to justify his blatant disregard for enforcing the laws he is sworn to uphold by stating, “No prosecutor is enforcing every single law all of the time. We are all exercising prosecutorial discretion.” The problem however is that Bragg’s day one memo flatly outlines certain crimes will not be prosecuted under any circumstances, including resisting arrest. Is it any wonder that felonious assaults against the police are on the rise?
How then do we hold these rogue D.A.s and judges who are sworn to uphold the laws and protect all citizens, but who release criminals with no bond, or deliberately fail to bring appropriate charges responsible? Is it through repeated recall efforts that have failed in George Gascon’s case? I have a different recommendation. For every criminal defendant who is deliberately released on extremely low or no bond and commits a felonious crime when they should be behind bars, the victim of that new crime should bring disbarment proceedings against the district attorney, or judge who deliberately set that criminal free.
Under Rule 10 of the American Bar Association, there is a set of factors that are to be considered when imposing sanctions against a member of the bar. These factors include:
- Whether the lawyer has violated a duty owed to a client, the public, to the legal system, or to the profession.
- Whether the lawyer acted intentionally, knowingly, or negligently.
- The amount of ACTUAL, or POTENTIAL (emphasis added) injury caused by the lawyer’s misconduct
- The existence of any mitigating, or aggravating factors.
Every D.A. and judge across the country swears an oath of office to uphold the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the state in which they are elected to office, and to faithfully discharge the duties of that office (as an attorney, or lawyer) to the best of their ability. They owe that duty to all the citizens (their clients) of the city or state they serve. Violating one’s oath of office is grounds for disbarment in most states.
Declaring in writing that under no circumstances will you or your staff prosecute certain crimes clearly violates your duty as a lawyer owed to your clients, the victims of the crime alleged, the citizens of your city or state, the legal system, and the legal profession and are grounds for disbarment. It is prima facie evidence these rogue D.A.s and judges are acting intentionally, knowingly, or negligently and, as a result, should face civil prosecution as well. We have all seen the tragic results of criminals on probation, bond, or early release who have committed felonious assaults when they should have been behind bars. It is time that D.A.s and judges are held to account for the potential and actual injury their imprudent use of discretion inflicts.
Scott W. Houghton is a United States Marine Corps veteran (Sergeant), and retired 32-year law enforcement veteran of Colorado's Douglas County Sheriff’s Department, and the Denver Police Department.
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