It’s frightening thatMark Fliedner people often confuse the words “prosecutor” and “persecutor.” This misconception about the prosecutor’s role causes folks to avoid or absent themselves from the system, particularly those who need to access it the most. If the most disenfranchised of us decide that the system can’t work for them, their only alternative is to operate outside the system or wait for the day that the current system can be replaced. We can’t wait generations for justice and fairness, especially not when their are ways to achieve it now.

Prosecutors are supposed to guard the rights of those who are accused of a crime and those whose lives have been shattered by crime. That does not mean blindly processing all charges initiated by the NYPD, including “broken window” prosecutions that are used as a pretense to profile those from disenfranchised communities (immigrants,the homeless, lgbtq folks, all people of color). Prosecutors have extraordinary discretion, more than anyone else in the system, including the judges. That discretion can and must be used to effectuate criminal justice reform