Lisa’s Platform

 

ENDING MASS INCARCERATION 

a.    End the practice of over-charging of defendants to coerce plea bargains.

b.    Restore integrity to the office by using discretion to only bring charges that further public safety or rehabilitative goals – not seeking to maximize convictions as an end in itself.

c.    Treat addiction as a health issue.

d.    Treat mental illness as a health issue.

e.    Create TRUE diversion programs in order to keep people out of the criminal legal system when social services, mental health care, housing and employment support, and drug and alcohol rehabilitation are more appropriate. Provide for automatic expungement of charges upon completion of program.

f.     Identify all intercept points where an individual can be diverted from the criminal justice system and provide an assistant DA at those points to facilitate review of case and diversion strategy.

g.    Do not request probation sentences consecutive to sentences of incarceration.

h.    Limit the length of probation sentences after careful review of an individual’s criminal conviction history and current charges.

i.     Advocate in Harrisburg for sentencing reform, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to reduce excessive sentences, provide parole opportunities for lifers, and increase funding for re-entry services and support.

j.     Expunge all charges not sustained by conviction or guilty plea.

k.    In an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, to maximize the use of limited resources - do not file criminal charges where lead charge is Possession of Marijuana

l.     In an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, to maximize the use of limited resources - do not seek the death penalty.

RACIAL JUSTICE

a.   Compile statistical data on past cases. Publicize data on racial disparities in arrests, bail charging decisions and plea offers and sentencing and implement strategies to end them.

b.    Publicize statistical data on racial disparities in seeking mandatory sentences in past cases. Do not seek mandatory minimum sentences.

c.    Draft, implement and publish charging and sentencing procedures to ensure that charging decisions are made pursuant to written policy. Assess the racial impact of all policies prior to implementation. 

d.    Maintain statistical data on arrests, bail, charging decisions, plea offers and sentencing. Publish and evaluate data to ensure that racial inequities do not result from policies.

e.    Utilize only those risk assessment tools which are proven to be racially unbiased to determine risk to public safety.

f.     Advocate with police agencies to end over-policing for drug crimes in communities of color.

g.    Charge under ethnic intimidation statutes when malicious intent toward the race, religion or national origin of the victim is indicated.

h.    Advocate in Harrisburg and work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to eliminate laws that have a discriminatory effect on communities of color, i.e. school zone drug laws; work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to eliminate those laws. 

JUSTICE FOR YOUTH

a.    Draft and implement policies with regard to when Petitions to Decertify Charges to Juvenile Court will be opposed. Make opposition the exception.

b.    Develop and support restorative justice initiatives in the office and the community, especially in cases involving children and young adults.

c.    Exercise discretion in favor of proven rehabilitative goals and programs, rather than detention and/or incarceration.

d.    Advocate in Harrisburg for juvenile justice reform, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to reduce charges that must be charged in adult court.

e.    Advocate in Harrisburg, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to pass legislation further limiting the use of juvenile adjudications in assessment of an individual’s prior record score.

f.     Advocate in Harrisburg, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to raise the age of criminal responsibility to the age of 21.

g.    Pursuant to advances in medical science, create a young adults court for individuals between the age of adult responsibility and 25.  

SUPPORT FOR VICTIMS 

a.    Listen to the voices of those communities most impacted by violence.

b.    Train all prosecutors on trauma-informed practices for relating to victims, witnesses, and colleagues.

c.    Add social worker(s) to staff to provide immediate assistance to victims and witnesses.

d.    Prioritize eradication of laboratory backlogs in rape kit testing.

e.    Add immigration attorney to staff to advise potential witnesses and victims on immigration consequences.

f.     Educate victims on utility of restorative justice process and encourage them to participate in restorative justice programs. 

g.    Require any community service to be performed in community where harm was caused.

h.     Prosecute domestic violence cases when provable without the participation of the victim.

i.      Refuse to file missing witness warrants or request court costs for those victims who fail to appear

POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY

a.    Hold police officers accountable when they violate people’s rights – do not use perjured testimony or police witnesses who have proven not credible in the past.

b.    Do not accept cases for prosecution from police officers who routinely violate constitutional rights of citizens.

c.    Communicate with all police agencies for the release of discipline records of police officers in order to compile such lists.

d.    Advocate in Harrisburg, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to establish an independent agency to investigate and prosecute police officers who are suspected of engaging in any criminal activity. Until such time as an agency is formed, create a firewalled unit in the District Attorney’s Office to investigate and prosecute such cases. 

e.    Refer any decision not to prosecute to Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office for investigation and prosecution without the specter of conflict of interest.

f.     Work with the community to develop strategies and policies to pursue racial justice and public safety.

g.    Work with police departments to develop strategies and policies to pursue racial justice, restorative justice, true diversion and public safety.

h.    Advocate for Countywide Citizens Review Board and accept referrals from any such board and the Pittsburgh Citizens Review Board.

i.     Advocate in Harrisburg, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators for statewide database of police officers who have been disciplined.

j.     Work with Chiefs of Police to promulgate countywide standards for policing. 

ENSURING JUSTICE REGARDLESS OF INCOME 

End Cash Bail

a.    Will not request cash bail in any case. The DA will request release, release with conditions (such as drug treatment, no contact with the victim, mental health treatment) or no release. Advocate with Magisterial District Justices to end the practice of setting cash bail.

b.    Request for pretrial confinement based solely on public safety concerns. An individual who is a threat to public safety should not be provided with the opportunity for release by payment of cash bail.

c.   Identify who is issued bail, a detainer, or released; demographics, decisions of individual magistrates, judges and prosecutors. Publish and evaluate data to ensure that racial inequities do not result from policies.

End Oppressive Fines and Costs

d.    Suspend fines and cost for those people receiving government assistance and clients of the Office of the Public Defender.

e.    Advocate with other progressive District Attorneys and state legislators for laws prohibiting the extension of probationary periods purely for payment of fines and costs.

 

Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture 

f.     End all pre-trial/pre-conviction civil asset forfeiture.

g.    Release data on past civil asset forfeiture acquisition and distribution.

h.    Keep and release data on civil asset forfeiture acquisition and distribution.

i.     Use any civil assets forfeited toward treatment programs for those impacted by the behavior leading to forfeiture- i.e. assets forfeited from drug offenses used for drug treatment programs.

 

CONVICTION INTEGRITY 

a.    Create a conviction review unit to identify wrongful convictions and free the innocent.

b.    Conviction Integrity Unit to review convictions when advances in forensic science demonstrate that outdated methods may have been used in gaining conviction.

c.    Do not oppose defense requests for DNA testing on closed cases

d.    Review cases where defendants were over-prosecuted and sentenced excessively.

e.    Review cases of prosecutorial misconduct.

f.     Adopt an “open-file” discovery policy, meaning that the prosecution shares with the defense ALL information that will not endanger victims or witnesses.

IMMIGRATION RIGHTS

a.    Do not cooperate with ICE

b.    Add immigration attorney to staff to advise potential witnesses and victims on immigration consequences of participating in the criminal justice system and assist in the acquisition of appropriate visas.

c.    Make charging decisions, cognizant of immigration consequences. 

LGBTQIA+

a.    Withdraw charges against any person who is unsafely housed in the Allegheny County Jail pending trial for non-violent offenses.

b.    Evaluate effects of bullying and harassment of LGBTQ students on increased interaction with police. 

c.    Train all prosecutors on trauma-informed practices for relating to victims, witnesses, and colleagues.

d.    Advocate in Harrisburg, work with other progressive District Attorneys and legislators to expand Intimidation statutes to include malicious intent toward gender and/or sexual orientation.

Environmental Justice

a.    Form an Environmental Justice Unit to investigate and prosecute violations of the Clean Stream Law, Solid Waste Management Act and Air Pollution Control Act criminally, rather than continue to rely on civil penalties.

b.    Creatively charge in order to hold individuals responsible for acts done under the guise of a corporation

Public Corruption

a.    Form a public sector investigation unit to investigate and prosecute violations of the public trust