Fair Charging Decisions - Thomas Kenniff - District Attorney

Fair Charging Decisions

The job of a prosecutor is to seek justice, not just convictions. All too often, so-called “progressive” prosecutors pay lip service to criminal justice reforms, yet pursue win at all cost strategies that coerce plea bargains and result in unnecessarily harsh prison sentences. In many instances this is accomplished by prosecutors overcharging defendants with crimes they theoretically can prove, but are disproportionate to the circumstances. Often these disproportionate charging decisions trigger harsh mandatory minimum prison sentences. This allows prosecutors to pressure presumptively innocent defendants into accepting guilty pleas to lesser charges; out of fear of “blowing trial” and being mandated to an upstate prison for many years. Such charging tactics have been the policy of the United States Department of Justice and federal prosecutors under both Republican and Democratic administrations, and have contributed considerably to decades of unnecessary mass incarceration. Sadly, such heavy-handed tactics have been the practice of the New York County District Attorney’s Office under Cy Vance. As District Attorney, Thomas Kenniff will ensure that the facts and circumstances of each case are considered individually, and that charging decisions are made proportionately not tactically.

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