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Opinion: The price of refusing to prosecute | Opinion

Violent criminals roam free, but the officials tasked with keeping them under control do nothing.

In a disturbing movement plaguing major cities across America, progressive prosecutors simply refuse to prosecute crimes. Unfortunately, Tucson is no stranger to this dangerous trend.

Prosecutors, charged with protecting communities and enforcing the law, often make headlines for the wrong reasons. Last year in San Francisco, District Attorney Chesa Boudin was ousted by perhaps the most liberal voters in the United States because of its notorious de-crime policies.

Most recently, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner resigned in May after he filed a lawsuit against the Missouri Attorney General for failing to pursue an existing lawsuit, according to the Associated Press. He failed to prosecute in a case brought by the police. He did not properly communicate the circumstances of the incident to the crime victims and their families.

Sadly, people in Tucson know this kind of failure all too well.

Pima County District Attorney Laura Conover proudly claims that she wants to “revolutionize” the work of the Pima County Attorney’s Office. She is in a position to protect the rights of all citizens and bring charges to the police, but to leave criminals unattended, force law-abiding citizens to fend for themselves, and undermine the ability and damage of the Tucson Police Department to enforce law. It looks more intentional. order.

Several Tucson police officers, who requested anonymity for fear of backlash, also spoke out against the way Conover operates. “They don’t seem to want us to crack down on drug crime. They just refuse to prosecute people facing drug charges,” said one police officer.

Another police officer described a never-ending cycle of misconduct and lack of enforcement. “If you arrest a person who has taken drugs within two hours before the arrest, you are required to take them to the hospital. After that, they just walk back to the street, and an hour later you’ll see the same person doing the same thing that got them arrested in the first place. We know we can’t do anything, and we’re tied up behind our backs because of crime-friendly policies coming out of the county attorney’s office.”

Can you think of one reason Pima County can’t prosecute violent crimes? Money. Over the past eight years, the county has happily raised nearly $4 million in grants from the left-leaning MacArthur Foundation to reduce the number of inmates in the county. The county literally gets paid to keep criminals out of jail — and Mr. Conover’s policies suggest the county is making the most of that financial incentive.

One Tucson police officer said: “Why prosecute crimes committed by the police when millions of dollars are pouring in and telling you to do the opposite?”

The county attorney’s job is to prosecute police-initiated cases and prosecute existing cases, regardless of political ideology. But too many of these elected officials use “prosecutorial discretion” as an excuse not to enforce the laws entrusted to them by voters. While prosecutorial discretion is an important tool, it has been hijacked, manipulated, and bent to suit their personal ideologies by rogue county and district attorneys. As a result, criminals, many of whom were repeat offenders, were able to roam the streets without fear of prosecution, resulting in a large increase in crime. Meanwhile, law-abiding citizens, whose tax dollars are supposed to be used for law enforcement, continue to suffer.

Pima County voters elected Mr. Conover to perform a very important task of keeping the people of southern Arizona safe. Instead, she used her prosecutorial discretion to bend her laws to her own ideological will. The “revolution” of the county attorney’s office has made Tucson more and more like San Francisco and St. Louis, but only to the benefit of lawbreakers.

Austin Vanderheyden is the City Affairs Contact for the Goldwater Institute. Please contact

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