Backlash against progressive, Soros-backed DAs continues as violent crime soars
Nationwide, prosecutors are under fire for being soft on crime while criminals devastate major cities.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
- raw count
- deputy DAs
- spoken out publicly
- 2018 prosecution
- still considering
- murder rates
- fewer felonies
- latest figures
- police report
- 911 audio
- changed course
In the wake of last month's recall vote ousting San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin from office, left-wing prosecutors in Democrat-run cities from Los Angeles to Philadelphia are facing growing backlash for soft-on-crime policies as violent crime spikes devastate local communities.
Many of these progressive prosecutors are funded by left-wing megadonor George Soros, who has spent the last several years injecting tens of millions of dollars into local DA races nationwide, backing candidates who support policies such as abolishing bail, defunding the police, and decriminalizing or deprioritizing certain offenses.
One such Soros-backed prosecutor currently under fire is Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner.
Last week, the Pennsylvania state House formed a bipartisan committee to investigate a crime spree in Philadelphia. The committee will be allowed to subpoena witnesses and documents from Krasner's office and can make evidence-based recommendations up to the impeachment of Krasner.
Pennsylvania doesn't have recall elections.
Under Krasner, the number of murders in Philadelphia soared from 353 in 2018 to 562 in 2021, the deadliest year in the city's history.
This year, homicide totals are tracking closely with last year's record-breaking figure. Additionally, violent crime in Philadelphia has risen by 8% and property crime has risen by 30%, compared to 2021, according to crime data from the Philadelphia Police Department reviewed by the Epoch Times.
In response to the violence, the city's political leaders have established a 10 p.m. curfew for kids under the age of 18, although police aren't allowed to fine juveniles out past curfew. Instead, officers must make "every reasonable effort" to take them home, according to the mandate.
During his tenure, Krasner has cut the future years of incarceration by half and slashed the length of parole in probation supervision by nearly two-thirds compared to the previous DA. He has also made a priority of not prosecuting people who are illegally in possession of guns unless they hurt or kill people.
Another Soros-backed prosecutor facing backlash — and potential unemployment — is Los Angeles County DA George Gascon, who's the target of a recall attempt to remove him from office.
In total, 715,833 signatures have been submitted for a petition to recall Gascon, according to a raw count announced earlier this month. Officials from the L.A. County Registrar Recorder announced last week that a random sample of the collected signatures met an initial threshold to proceed with having all the signatures of the petition verified.
In order to bring the recall to voters in L.A. in the November election, 566,857 signatures need to be verified by the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder by Aug. 17.
"We remain confident that the recall will qualify for the ballot," Recall Gascon Campaign cochair Kathy Cady told Fox News Digital. "Gascon's policies violate the law. He is an abysmal leader with 98% of prosecutors voting to support the recall. His unlawful hiring and promotion actions will result in millions of dollars to settle lawsuits."
The vast majority of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys, a union representing hundreds of prosecutors, and even deputy DAs in Gascon's own office support the recall. Some of the deputy DAs have spoken out publicly against policies implemented by Gascon.
Dozens of cities in Los Angeles County have also issued a vote of no confidence in Gascon, who has overseen a surge in robberies while homicides soared last year to their highest level in over a decade.
The recall campaign's website says that as a result of Gascon's "pro-criminal" agenda, "criminals feel emboldened, residents unsafe, and victims abandoned."
On his first day in office, Gascon ended cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. He also told his deputy DAs never to try juveniles as adults or seek the death penalty and to stop prosecuting people for first-time non-violent misdemeanors. He has sought to put more convicted criminals in rehabilitation rather than prison.
Moving to Missouri, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner is another Soros-funded prosecutor under scrutiny.
In April, Gardner appeared before a disciplinary hearing, where she faced charges of ethics violations stemming from her 2018 prosecution of former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.
Last year, Missouri's chief legal disciplinary officer accused Gardner of rampant misconduct in the prosecution, saying she lied to judges in court filings and testimony, withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense, misled her own prosecution team, and violated the constitutional right to a fair trial.
Gardner, who initially denied all wrongdoing, admitted to the disciplinary panel that she "unintentionally" failed to produce documents at pretrial hearings and failed to correct misstatements under oath by her lead investigator.
The panel agreed to a plea bargain in which Gardner would receive a "reprimand" but not lose her law license — which was a possibility if the charges against her were upheld.
Seven people who served on a special grand jury that indicted Gardner's handpicked investigator in her case against Greitens penned a letter, obtained by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, urging the panel to take "stronger" action against Gardner, calling her conduct in the Greitens case "reprehensible."
The agreement still needs final approval from the Missouri Supreme Court, which is still considering the case.
During Gardner's tenure, crime skyrocketed in St. Louis, with the city experiencing near-record murder rates. Last year was among the city's deadliest in decades, despite murders being down from 2020.
Gardner has declined more cases, issued fewer arrest warrants, charged fewer felonies and prosecuted thousands of fewer cases overall than her predecessor. She has also deferred prison sentences for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies as part of her reform initiatives.
Last year, Gardner came under fire after three murder cases under her purview were dismissed in one week due to prosecutors in her office not showing up for hearings or being unprepared.
In Chicago, meanwhile, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, yet another Soros-funded prosecutor, is also facing backlash amid rampant violent crime and historically low arrests.
Chicago has experienced a surge in violent crime since Foxx became state's attorney of Cook County. In 2021, there were 797 murders, more than in any year since 1994. Criminal sexual assault was up 27%, according to crime statistics.
The latest figures show homicides are tracking at a lower rate than last year, but overall crime is up 34%.
Despite the violence, Chicago police are making a record-low number of arrests — and citing the city's prosecutors as a key reason why.
Police have made arrests in just 12% of crimes reported last year, the lowest level since at least 2001, according to a Chicago Sun-Times analysis.
One cop told the newspaper that officers hesitate to engage "criminals with guns" because prosecutors now have such a high threshold for approving felony charges. Other officers echoed that point.
Statistics support the officers' claims: During her first three years in office, Foxx dropped all charges against 29.9% of felony defendants, a major increase from her predecessor, who dropped only 19.4%, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Foxx came under renewed scrutiny after police were called to her home for a domestic incident last month. According to the police report and 911 audio, Foxx's husband called to report the incident and accused the progressive prosecutor of slapping him in the face.
Left-wing DAs are now especially under the microscope after fed up San Francisco voters ousted Boudin from office in a recall focused on his soft-on-crime policies last month.
Since Boudin took office in January 2020, overall crime fell, but burglaries went up 45% in the past two years, and homicides rose by 37%. What received the most criticism, however, was the surge in organized shoplifting, public defecation, car break-ins, open-air drug dealing, and similar crimes that led to a growing, city-wide sense of disorder.
Crime skyrocketed as Boudin prosecuted significantly fewer felonies and misdemeanors than his predecessors. Boudin had said he wanted to abolish cash bail and end "mass incarceration."
The crime situation in San Francisco got so bad that Mayor London Breed, a liberal Democrat who in 2020 announced her plan to cut $120 million from law enforcement and redirect the funds to social programs, changed course.
Breed made an emergency request to the city Board of Supervisors for more money for the police to support a crackdown on crime.
"It's time the reign of criminals who are destroying our city, it is time for it to come to an end," she said. "And it comes to an end when we take the steps to be more aggressive with law enforcement. More aggressive with the changes in our policies and less tolerant of all the bulls**t that has destroyed our city."
Breed has continued her shift into this year, saying she will fight for more police officers and calling for more policing.
San Francisco's new DA, Brooke Jenkins, fired 15 employees and named new hires upon taking office in an effort to hold repeat violent offenders accountable.
A report released last week by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law concluded there's insufficient evidence to establish a link between increased violence and progressive policies.
But Americans across the country feeling unnerved about the level of crime in their communities are seeing a link — and want to hold someone accountable.