To the Editor:
Andrew C. McCarthy has written a terrific article that succinctly describes a huge problem in our society (“The Progressive Prosecutor Project,” March). I am a retired federal prosecutor and retired state appellate judge. I remember the high-crime era when the Weather Underground were active. Not to mention violent criminals all across this country. Now we are supposed to let them go so they can victimize their neighborhoods—all because we are supposedly racist. What poppycock.
Judge Doug McCullough
AUSA 1981–1996, EDNC
Acting U.S. attorney, 1988-89
To the Editor:
I ’d like to thank Andrew C. McCarthy for the thoughtful treatment of this difficult topic. The left has managed to corrupt the term “fairness,” as treating everyone the same is now against the rules. It is good of you to sound the alarm about this movement and the effort to subvert the legal system. While you might endure verbal assaults from some corners of society, please know that many of us are with you.
Fort Worth, Texas
To the Editor:
Your lead article by Andrew C. McCarthy is one of the most important he has ever written. Unless some process is devised to curb the coming wave of progressive prosecutors, a form of frontier justice will arise as citizens take violent measures to defend themselves from violent felons. George Soros, the man who sees himself as “the philosopher king,” funds these projections in order to bring about such a level of disorder that the only remedy would be Draconian measures by the federal government. This will then further fracture the Republic. Perhaps California will suffer so greatly from the effects of its progressive prosecutors that other states will recognize the enemy within and end those projects in their jurisdictions.
Andrew C. McCarthy writes
Needless to say, I am gratified by the reactions to “The Progressive Prosecutor Project” by Judge McCullough, Mr. Robert, and my friend Chet Nagle. As Mr. Robert notes, this is a difficult topic.
People of goodwill on both sides of our yawning political divide are alarmed by the number of people imprisoned in the United States. As observed in the essay, I cannot say I am equally concerned by the sheer population of prisoners, since (a) I do not believe that 2.2 million is an unreasonable number in a vast country of 330 million, and (b) crime is disproportionately committed by a relatively small portion of the population, so there would be dramatically more preying on society if the population of criminals who deserve to be in custody were significantly reduced.
That said, though, no reasonable person wants to resort to incarceration in cases where rehabilitation and a productive reentry into society are realistic. This is the admirable side of criminal-justice reform: the effort to apply the best social science on recidivism to identify the in-prison training programs that can work. But I fear this effort is being coopted by the progressive “reformers,” who are innately hostile to prosecution and imprisonment on the ideological and racial grounds outlined in the essay. We will not get an idea of which anti-recidivism programs truly show promise if there is reason to suspect that the books are being cooked by activists who are looking for any reason to release hardened criminals, and to resist taking action against those who should be imprisoned.
Judge McCullough and Mr. Nagle make a point that cannot be emphasized enough in countering the racialized narrative that fuels the agenda of progressive prosecutors. The racial disparities in prosecution and imprisonment are a function of differences in the rate of criminal activity between racial groups. We know this because crime has victims who report to police. We know who is committing the crime and, more important, whom it is being committed against. This is not an experiment in woolly disparate-impact theory; it is real life with real victims. To the degree that the progressive prosecutor project succeeds, it is poor minority communities that will bear the brunt.