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'Stay in your lane': Former DA warns against prosecutors choosing which laws to enforce

"[I]f you want ... a criminal law to change, run for the legislature," said former District Attorney Tom Hogan. "Don't run for district attorney."

Published: July 15, 2021 5:12pm

Updated: July 15, 2021 11:44pm

"Progressive" prosecutors who choose which laws to enforce are responsible for the crime that results from a lack of prosecution, said Tom Hogan, the former district attorney for Chester County, Pa.

"[E]ven 10 years ago, if you got 100 prosecutors together in a room, no matter what their party affiliation was, they would generally agree on how to stop violent crime," Hogan told the John Solomon Reports podcast. "And they would generally agree if you presented them with a hypothetical about a case about the appropriate way to handle it."

"You don't see that anymore," Hogan said. "You're seeing prosecutors breaking in all sorts of different directions, doing all sorts of crazy things. And that really started with the progressive prosecutor movement, which has been funded from a certain angle, and you are getting to see the results of it right now in the big cities."

Progressive billionaire George Soros has been involved in the financial backing of progressive district attorneys like St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner, who prosecuted former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and was found to have engaged in misconduct by the state's chief legal disciplinary officer during the criminal prosecution.

In New York, Alvin Bragg is the Democratic candidate for Manhattan district attorney, and he has promised not to prosecute trespassing or resisting arrest, Hogan said. He added that Bragg also said, "Everyone is going to get bail unless they commit a murder, an assault with a deadly weapon where somebody actually was seriously injured, or a sex crime." This means cases of shootings where no one is injured, domestic assault without a weapon, illegal possession of a firearm, and drug dealers will get bail, Hogan explained.

A warning sign of these political district attorneys is when "they say that they're going to deprosecute whole swaths of crime," Hogan said. "In other words, they're going to take a particular area of crime, and even if the legislature passed the law, and even if the governor signed it, the prosecutor's saying, 'I'm not going to enforce it.' That is a huge red flag, because that's not a prosecutor's job. The prosecutor's job is to enforce the law that's on the books.

"They are usurping the authority of the legislature. If you want a law to change, a criminal law to change, run for the legislature. Don't run for district attorney. That's not your role, stay in your lane. And we're seeing that across the political spectrum: People are coming out of their lanes and deciding that they're going to do what they want."

Hogan added that voters need "to pay attention" when they vote for elected prosecutors.

"They have to demand that their prosecutors actually enforce the law," he said. "They need to support their police, if they want to be safe, because what we're seeing right now is the violent crime is leaking out from the cities and it's starting to hit the suburbs. I saw an interview with the suburban police chiefs around Minneapolis, and they said that the gangs are coming out there now because they realize they're just not going to get prosecuted."

While "the discretion of a prosecutor is great, and generally has been unfettered" in the courts, Hogan said, the attorney general over the prosecutor has the power to rein them in.

"Now what you can have is every district attorney is also covered by an attorney general, and a U.S. attorney's office," Hogan explained. "So you could have them stepping in and becoming much more law-enforcement-friendly ... for instance, in Florida, when the Jacksonville state's attorney stopped enforcing the death penalty and stopped really going after murder cases, the governor did take away her authority over murder cases and handed it off to the attorney general."

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