Prosecutor Quits Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement, Citing “Tough on Crime” Bias

The Federal Docket

September 14, 2020

Last week, prosecutor John Choi, the elected head prosecutor of Ramsey County, Minnesota, announced that he has resigned his position on the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice, a commission established to study the social impact of policing and ways to improve policing. Back in January 2019, Attorney General Barr listed several areas the Commission would study, including ways to improve officer training, the relationship between policing and mental illness and homelessness, and the lack of trust that local communities have for law enforcement officers.

Almost a year later, Choi has resigned from the Commission and reportedly told Barr that he is concerned that the Commission’s function is “providing cover for a predetermined agenda” that will “vilify local prosecutors” who endeavor to reform policing in their communities or increase the use of alternatives to incarceration. Choi noted that the commission is made up of mostly members of law enforcement; the ACLU has suggested the commission is a “sham” formed to promote a “law and order agenda.” Choi warns that the focus of the group has been “under-enforcement” of criminal laws, including the use of prosecutorial discretion to refrain from charging the most serious offense, and longest potential sentence, in every case.

The Commission has also had a heavy focus on “the trend of diminished respect for law enforcement and the laws they enforce” and even has a working group titled “Respect for Law enforcement.” the working group has reportedly been critical of the “progressive prosecutor movement” and has pushed for harsher laws against those who challenge police authority.

Click here to read the article regarding Choi’s resignation.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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