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“Prosecution Equity” is a Mockery of Justice

“Prosecution Equity” is a Mockery of Justice

Social justice activists are working hard, in the name of “equity,” to compromise the foundations of our justice system.

The American justice system exists in order to guarantee all citizens the right to the fair, impartial judgement of the law. Part of that guarantee includes the promise that citizens will not be judged on account of their race.

It’s not news to say that America has historically not always lived up that ideal; from the slave trade to hard drug enforcement in the 20th century, there have been clear failures of our system to live up to its founding principles. However, until recently, Americans agreed that our ideal was a criminal justice system that treated each individual citizen with respect and did not discriminate on the basis of race – that is, a colorblind legal system.  Now, critical race theory and the notion of “prosecution equity” threatens to reverse this commitment to colorblind law.

Social justice activists are working hard, in the name of “equity,” to compromise the foundations of our justice system. In Arlington Country, VA, for example, the commonwealth attorney Parisa Dehghani-Tafti recently announced that she will be adjusting her prosecution praxis to align with the standards of the Vera Institute of Justice, a far-left non-profit that seeks to bring critical race theory into the courtroom. As part of this initiative, she announced that she will be pursuing a “reduction in the racial disparities in prosecution” under the authority of her office.  

Currently, social science research has found that 48 percent of people charged with a crime in Arlington were Black, while 40 percent were White.  A reduction in racial disparities in prosecution would mean Dehghani-Tafti would have to find some way to lower prosecutions for crimes committed by Black Americans or increase prosecutions for White Americans. Already, she has quit prosecuting marijuana charges merely because “African-Americans are at least 8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites” (which has landed her in hot water with the Virginia legal system). Going forward, this could mean anything from getting rid of charges for crimes that Black Americans disproportionately commit to actually levelling different punishments to Black versus White Americans.  

How can this possibly be justified? Within the critical race framework, all white people are members of the “oppressor” class due to their race. Black people are all “oppressed.” Apart from socioeconomic status, power, or any other variable, they hold these classifications constant. By this logic, any crime committed by a white person is a crime in the way we’d normally understand it: an individual chose to break the law, and must be held responsible. A crime committed by a Black person, however, is the result of their oppression; they can’t be held responsible because it isn’t truly their fault. Rather, it is the result of historic, systemic oppression creating the conditions that lead the Black individual to commit a crime.

The problems with this argument are manifold. First and foremost, it is unbelievably racist towards Black Americans. Critical race theory teaches Black people that they are inherently inferior to whites on the food chain of colorblind law, and that nothing they ever do can reverse that. At its core, there is little difference between this viewpoint and that of the Ku Klux Klan. The only distinction is that the Klan uses this idea to advance white supremacy, while critical race theorists use this idea to create social instability and deconstruct Western liberal due process.

Furthermore, it removes all individual autonomy from Black Americans. If a Black person cannot be responsible for his or her failures, the logic follows that neither can he or she be truly responsible for their successes. This in fact ties in with Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell’s concept of interest convergence. Bell, one of the original founders of critical race theory, argued that Black interests are only allowed to advance when doing so is in line with white interests. (Fittingly, Bell was also one of Dehghani-Tafti’s professors in law school). Extrapolating this to individual autonomy, critical theorists must say that if a Black person, say, becomes a successful member of their local community, that success is contingent upon white people allowing them to succeed. This is both demeaning to Black people and also an unfounded understanding of how the world works.

The effects of “prosecution equity” are extremely dangerous within the context of criminal prosecution. There are vast inequities within criminal statistics: Black Americans make up 13% of the population but commit 54% of homicides.  Should they be prosecuted at a rate of 13% or 54% of the U.S. population?  The answer is neither.  They should be prosecuted in accordance with the preponderance of the evidence of their individual crimes.  There are many reasons for this overall criminal disparity between Blacks and Whites, and historical marginalization is quite plausibly one of them–as well as behavior. But rather than analyze and address the contributing variables, critical race theorists argue that prosecutors have an ethical obligation to address this problem by simply not prosecuting criminals

For critical theorists, statistical equity is the goal, even if it comes at the expense of quality of life or societal stability. Rather than address the root problems behind why Black people are more likely to commit armed robbery, the equity-focused approach is to simply not prosecute Black offenders so that it looks like they’re committing crimes at the same rate as white people. Not only is this dishonest; it empowers criminals to weaponize their race and commit violent crimes, knowing that they won’t be held accountable.

We’ve already seen similar policies play out last year during the George Floyd riots. When prosecutors decided to not pursue cases related to violent rioters and arsonists involved in the protests, a trend emerged of repeat offenders destroying buildings, assaulting people, and causing destruction for weeks on end. 

Yet it seems that social justice activists have learned nothing from last year’s riots, which were the most destructive in American history. Instead, radical prosecutors and organizations like the Vera Institute of Justice are more committed than ever to guaranteeing equity in America by making prosecutors racist. 

To be clear, advocates for prosecution equity are not advocating that murderers or rapists be set free based upon their race…yet. But that is where the logic inevitably leads. Already in Arlington County, Dehghani-Tafti is beginning her prosecution equity campaign by looking at “16- to 24-year-olds accused of committing crimes against other people.” If, in critical theorists’ own words, the only remedy to current discrimination is future discrimination, then it only makes sense that as the antiracist agenda moves forward, violent offenders will be protected from prosecution based upon the same reasoning. The only way to atone for our nation’s historical failure to live up to our own standards is to totally reverse the judicial system. 

Antiracist logic is a slippery slope, and it invariably accelerates towards a critical telos. The actions being taken today in Arlington County are one small step towards the complete deconstruction of the American justice system. If we truly want to live up to the ideals spelled out in our founding documents, the idea that “all men are created equal,” we must commit to a colorblind interpretation of the law. Using the courts to discriminate, no matter how noble the alleged justification, will only take us further and further away from a truly just society.

————–

Kenny Xu is the President of Color Us United, which advocates for a raceblind America in the midst of racial division.  He is the author of An Inconvenient Minority which exposes racial discrimination against Asian Americans at elite colleges like Harvard and Yale.

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Comments

It’s Arlington, VA, solidly liberal although on the rare occasion when they’re angry enough they’ll do something shocking like vote for an independent who leans Republican for the county board (Arlington is a county, not a municipality). She’s in office because of Soros’ money, which helped her defeat the longstanding commonweath’s attorney.

She’ll get away with what she’s doing unless the courts or the legislature stop her. Otherwise, she would be to have her primaried by a strong candidate when she comes up for re-election.

    p in reply to p. | July 8, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Sorry for the bad sentence at the end. Preview, must preview.

    I’ll add that VA legalized recreational marijuana use, effective July 1, and also now allows people to now grow up to 4 plants for their own use (yeah, right, like no one is going to share).

    There’s also something else at play here: These are only the cases her office can prosecute. When DC is literally across the river and Maryland isn’t that far away, think of the number of crimes that happen in the VA suburbs, including Arlington, that get or would get the feds involved because of crossing state lines. Happens more often than you would think.

    The_Mew_Cat in reply to p. | July 9, 2021 at 4:02 am

    Fairfax County has a Soros funded prosecutor too (Descano). He won narrowly (about 2000 votes) because an insufficient number of Fairfax Republicans had the sense to vote in the Democratic Primary – which is essentially the General Election in Fairfax County.

Good character, morality and trustworthiness have a disparate impact.

henrybowman | July 8, 2021 at 8:14 pm

Let this sort of selective prosecution take hold, and pretty soon we’ll have judges judging Moslem defendants according to Sharia law instead of domestic law.

    randian in reply to henrybowman. | July 8, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    “pretty soon we’ll have judges judging Moslem defendants according to Sharia law instead of domestic law”

    The UK is already doing that. Not formally, yet, but we’ve seen rulings in criminal cases that are tantamount to that.

The 1965 Immigration Act imported 160 million immigrants (including their US born children), including this Parisa Dehghani-Tafti, from failed countries across the world. Their behaviors are antithetical to the micro-economic behaviors needed to sustain a first-world economy and the behaviors/thoughts that are needed to sustain first-world governance and law. I have no doubt this woman is sincere about her beliefs, but her and her thoughts are more suited to Iran, her birthplace (?), not here. Her presence here is neither good for us nor for her. That 1965 Act was a mistake. It’s time to undo the damage and send them back, before we descend even further into this third-world quagmire.

    MattMusson in reply to ruralguy. | July 9, 2021 at 6:57 am

    Because of the 1965 Act, by 1972 more black Africans had come willingly to these shores than had ever been brought as slaves. At this point, 4 or 5 times more black Africans have come to the US as willing immigrants.

“the Klan uses this idea to advance white supremacy, while critical race theorists use this idea to create social instability”

Call it what it clearly is: black supremacy.

Within the critical race framework, all white people are members of the “oppressor” class due to their race. Black people are all “oppressed.” Apart from socioeconomic status, power, or any other variable, they hold these classifications constant. By this logic, any crime committed by a white person is a crime in the way we’d normally understand it: an individual chose to break the law, and must be held responsible. A crime committed by a Black person, however, is the result of their oppression; they can’t be held responsible because it isn’t truly their fault. Rather, it is the result of historic, systemic oppression creating the conditions that lead the Black individual to commit a crime.

I don’t think this is the theory. As far as I know, the theory is that if black people are 13% of the population then exactly 13% of every crime is committed by black people. Only 13% of marijuana possessions, of embezzlements, of robberies, and of murders are committed by black people, and the claim that those numbers are higher is a racist lie. If 54% of prosecutions for murder are of black people, it doesn’t mean black people commit 54% of murders, it means that a lot of white murderers are getting away with it, and that’s unfair.

Those phantom white murderers fulfill a role in antiracist theory something like that fulfilled by dark matter in astrophysics; their existence must be supposed in order to make the numbers come out right. Dark matter supposedly can’t be detected because we haven’t got the right tools to do so; these phantom white murderers are similarly not being detected because the methods the police use to catch criminals are not attuned to them, and that is systemic racism.

In the case of marijuana possession they may actually be right. It’s likely that white people do possess marijuana at similar rates to black people, but they’re a lot less likely to be caught because they live in low-crime neighborhoods that don’t need a lot of policing, and therefore don’t get it. If police were out to find MJ possessors, they would go to all neighborhoods. But they’re not; they’re out to prevent serious crime, so they go where that is. That’s what the people in those neighborhoods want. But if they’re there, they will inevitably catch a lot of people with MJ, and arrest them. What else are they supposed to do? Pretend not to have seen it?!

It’s rather like the way in pre-satellite days tornadoes were only reported if they were along highways, leading to theories that something about highways attracts them. The real reason was simply that tornadoes not near a highway were not seen and therefore not reported. Once satellites came in that pattern disappeared.

    ruralguy in reply to Milhouse. | July 9, 2021 at 2:04 am

    Critical Race Theory is a new variant on the old Marxist Critical Theory. It’s a Marxist approach to overthrow a power structure that is opposed to Marxist principles, In this case, the power structure is the U.S. Government and its economic system. The “Critique” is the use of language to help overthrow the power structure. In Critical Race Theory, the Marxist use language and behaviors, such as white guilt and virtue signaling, to oppose the power structure, by claiming whites have been systematically oppressing blacks. The Marxists know that’s not true, but they know that guilt and virtue signaling are highly effective in controlling the Intelligentsia in the Media, Government and Corporations. It’s been effectively used in countless Marxist revolutions, since the first in Tsarist Russia.

    GWB in reply to Milhouse. | July 9, 2021 at 11:43 am

    As ruralguy points out, there is much more to CRT than just the “disparate impact” game you mention. For one, “equity” in its Progressive connotation means not just righting any current imbalance, but making up for prior imbalance. This is not how everyone uses it, but is how the most pernicious “anti-racists” use it.

    DaveGinOly in reply to Milhouse. | July 9, 2021 at 5:33 pm

    From what you say, Milhouse, we should expect more white people to be tried for serious crimes for political reasons (i.e., the actual perpetrator was likely black). This would be the logical way to account for the “dark matter” – prosecutions of white people, regardless of the evidence (or lack thereof-Chauvin trial, anyone?). Indeed, CRT says this is what is going on now (black people being prosecuted for the crimes of whites), so it makes sense as a response from the adherents of a political theory that believes the remedy to discrimination is reverse discrimination.

I agree, it’s time for prosecution equity! If they’re gonna prosecute the 1/6 mostly peaceful protesters, then prosecute Antifa and BLM for their federal crimes

I am curious what they will blame when the current explosion in violent crime continues to accelerate. After all, the age old adage of “If you want more of something, then subsidize it…” is at play here where the subsidization of crime, even violent crime, is occurring by their refusal to enforce the law. What I find amazing is how obvious this all is to everyone other than a liberal who only sees the world according to their own perverse, self important logic.

You already have equitable justice in America. Just look how Conservatives are treated compared to Democrats.

Iain Sanders | July 9, 2021 at 8:45 am

Eventually It’ll be illegal to be white.

If this stuff happened in my area then we would see vigilantes making a serious comeback.

    Capsaicin_Addict in reply to Dathurtz. | July 9, 2021 at 9:55 am

    It’s probably coming.

    When the mechanisms of government fail to function, people will look outside the system for solutions.

      DaveGinOly in reply to Capsaicin_Addict. | July 9, 2021 at 5:56 pm

      We always have the option of “taking the law into our own hands” because we are the ultimate source of the state’s authority (states that perversely purport to have an exclusive right to enforce public safety). We did not surrender this authority, we merely delegated it to the state.

      “To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.”
      Sir Robert Peel

    GWB in reply to Dathurtz. | July 9, 2021 at 11:35 am

    The important thing to remember about that (despite the Progressive mindset that only gov’t is legitimate force) is that vigilantes are usually the people reclaiming the authority which they have previously delegated.

    Yes, there are bad vigilantes (the ones that avoid due process out of emotion or fear). But ‘vigilante’ is not a bad word in itself. At its most basic, it is the citizenry acting against threats to the community.

      DaveGinOly in reply to GWB. | July 9, 2021 at 6:00 pm

      The definition of “vigilante” is “a member of a vigilance committee.” A “vigilance committee” is, by definition, a body of citizens organized to enforce law and order. So, by definition, a “vigilante” doesn’t operate outside the law, and use of the word to connote lawless actions is a catachresis (yeah, had to look that up).

Americans agreed that our ideal was a criminal justice system that treated each individual citizen with respect and did not discriminate on the basis of race
Shorter, yet broader: equality under the law.

This phenomenon is merely a continuation the ethos and policies that the vile Eric Holder and his like-minded Dhimmi-crat attorneys instituted at DOJ, during his awful tenure, and, that the vile Kristen Clarke and her fellow Dhimmi-crats are instituting at DOJ, currently. Recall that the vile Holder refused to prosecute Black Panther thugs for brazen and blatant voter intimidation, letting them walk away with a slap on the wrist, merely because these Dhimmi-crat attorney-zealots, all of whom had sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and who are entrusted with enforcing federal laws in a race-neutral manner, couldn’t stomach the notion using federal civil rights laws — laws that inure to the benefit of all American citizens, regardless of skin pigmentation or racial composition — of prosecuting black offenders who had victimized non-black victims. A truly disgusting incident that exemplified the Dhimmi-crats’ utterly lawless moral stupidity and racism.

    DaveGinOly in reply to guyjones. | July 9, 2021 at 6:17 pm

    Which makes me wonder: What do the Black Panthers think of mail-in voting? I mean, if Marxist activists can’t intimidate voters at a polling place, what good is mail-in voting? Dems must have done a cost/benefit analysis and determined that voting fraud has a bigger payoff than voter intimidation.

Also, this is obviously part and parcel of the vile Dhimmi-crats’ decades-long campaign to infantilize black Americans, to treat them as totally devoid of agency, volition, ambition and personal responsibility, and, to absolve black criminals of any personal responsibility for their willfully-made poor choices and criminal behavior, by blaming all manner of external actors and factors for their criminal acts.

Retired in Chicago | July 10, 2021 at 11:33 pm

affirmative action, ever hear of it? it lowered the bar in every aspect of Our Lives so that everyone had an equal chance, forget about education, experience, ability, etc. so if you’re good enough to be hired for a job, you’re good enough to be arrested and tried for a crime. that is if you want real equality. it seems some want to be more equal than others.

And yet, and yet . . . Larry Krasner was just re-elected overwhelmingly in Philadelphia, as was Kim Gardner in St. Louis last year. When California basically decriminalized theft of up to $950 PER DAY it was by public referendum and not by legislative action.

The ominous and unpleasant reality is that there is a very sizeable constituency for crime in this country, and all of us should be prepared to take whatever measure necessary to combat it since it is clear that our local police and prosecutors are actively supporting the criminals.

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