Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Old Enough To Know Better?

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Old Enough To Know Better?

Many of these Progressive Prosecutors for Justice are younger, several swept into office over more moderate Democrats, so may not recall how crime tripled in a decade in the late 60s and 70s. Eventually, the public concluded that relaxed laws, not unlike what Progressive Prosecutors for Justice are seeking, had something to do with the crime spike, which lasted for decades. "Three strikes" and mandatory minimum sentencing were enacted in response to the resulting public demand. In their 2005 nonfiction bestseller Freakonomics, Leavitt & Dubner use the tools of social science to show that higher rates of imprisonment had a lot to do with driving crime rates down.

These prosecutors also call for ending the death penalty, which raises a deeper question. During the time Alexandria Commonwealth Attorney Brian Porter has held office, Alexandria has had a number of brutal slayings, but none has been prosecuted as a death penalty case. Always excuses are given as to why each case is unsuitable for the death penalty. Some might suspect wanting to avoid devoting the extra resources such a prosecution typically takes, but never has he cited as a motivating factor opposition to this method of punishment. Capital punishment, however, enjoys support even in liberal places, such as California, where voters defeated a repeal referendum in 2016, and likely locally too.

Lastly, among the reasons Progressive Prosecutors for Justice cite for the reforms they propose is current laws' disproportionate impact on minorities. However, our civil rights laws specifically prohibit quotas and disallow disproportionate impact only when the circumstance giving rise to it is proven to be a pretextual.

History contains a stern warning about what happens to crime when, in Leavitt's & Dubner's turn-of-phrase, laws are relaxed in response to "the era's liberal aesthetic." The laws we have resulted from the public demand in response to the last time views such as those proffered by Progressive Prosecutors for Justice prevailed in the body politic and produced unacceptable crime levels.

Dino Drudi