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Reform Prosecutors Win In Minnesota, Iowa, Texas

Back in 2019, Mary Moriarty, chief public defender of Minnesota’s Hennepin County, reviewed arrests by the Minneapolis police over low-level marijuana sales and found that 98 percent of the people arrested over a five-month period had been Black. Police stopped sting operations, and County Attorney Mike Freeman announced he would halt marijuana prosecutions. After George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis unleashed a national reckoning over police violence, Moriarty was ousted in what she called retaliation over her speaking out for racial justice. Now Moriarty is taking the prosecutor’s office. In a major victory for reform prosecutors, Moriarty easily won the race for Hennepin County Attorney on Tuesday, with 58 percent of the vote. She defeated Martha Holton Dimick, a retired county judge and a former prosecutor, reports Bolts.

Moriarty and Holton Dimick embraced opposing sides a progressive turn versus more of a tough-on-crime approach. Moriarty promised to ramp up police accountability and to institute a “do-not-call” list that would bar her staff from relying on police officers who have been shown to repeatedly lie on the stand as witnesses in cases. She also said she would seek to expand alternatives to incarceration such as diversion and restorative justice programs. Moriarty is one of several reformers who won prosecutor offices on Tuesday. Kelly Higgins, a Democratic defense attorney, won the DA race in fast-growing Hays County, Tx. Kimberly Graham, who represents abused and neglected children, won in Polk County, (Des Moines), Iowa’s most populous county. Reform candidates suffered losses as well as incumbents prevailed in Plymouth County, Ma. and Douglas County, Ne. In Dallas and San Antonio, Democratic DAs beat tough-on-crime challenges.


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