Op-Ed: Black Prosecutors Play a Vital Role in Our Justice System

Mr. Sajid Khan,

Your recent opinion piece published by San Jose Inside was inaccurate, incendiary, and hurtful in numerous ways, but we would like to focus on a few.

Primarily, as black prosecutors, we do not appreciate the wide brushstrokes with which you have painted all district attorneys’ offices, and by implication, all deputy district attorneys. Your assertions that district attorney’s offices “are actively, affirmatively and proudly dehumanizing black people,” “rob black people of their humanity,” “DA’s offices … repeatedly and flagrantly tell us that black lives don’t matter,” raises especially unique questions for how you view black prosecutors.

If this is how you view all prosecutors, are we as black prosecutors, “race-traitors” in your opinion or are you saying that black people can’t or shouldn’t play a role in the criminal justice system in a way to overcome systemic racism?

While many of us have been attorneys longer than you, we all most assuredly have been black longer than you. Every black prosecutor we know became a prosecutor to curb systemic racism and to protect our communities.

Your opinion piece, whether intentional or not, shows a complete lack of understanding of the role of a prosecutor. To be blunt, Mr. Khan, you have no idea what goes into the decisions to charge, prepare, or prosecute a case.

We neither work for the police nor do they work for the prosecution. We are an independent point of checks and balances in the criminal justice system. As a defense attorney, you have the luxury of advocating zealously for one client at a time without considering the impact on the larger community.

As a prosecutor, we pursue what is just for the victim, the community, and the defendant. Contrary to your assertion, no black prosecutor takes joy in “sending black boys and young men to prison for life and long sentences,” but the reality that you are choosing to ignore is that there are white, Latinx , Asian and black victims.

In our experience, no victim that has had to be comforted and guided through the criminal justice system has ever taken solace in the knowledge that the perpetrator of the crime against them was of their same race.

What is truly offensive in your opinion piece for us is your repeated reference to black men, boys, women, lives, bodies, victims, people and communities, as you attempt to co-opt the murder of George Floyd to push your own agenda.

Black prosecutors do not need you to remind us of the horrors of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice—being black in America is our reality—not an observation.

The story of Emmett Till is practically a bedtime story told to black children by their parents while they are still in elementary school. We are not removed from the plight of black people. Despite our jobs, not one of us looked at the video of George Floyd’s murder and did not think, “that could be me.”

Yet, a condemnation and abdication of the role of the district attorney, as you suggest, merely subjects black people, Latinx people, Asian people, white people, and everyone else to the whims of the wicked. To advocate for such a system merely furthers the continued subjugation of black people in the United States.

We, black prosecutors, respectfully decline your type of “help.”

Black people want to go to work. Black children want to go to school. Black people want to live their lives in peace, raise their children, feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods, and enjoy the rights and liberties enshrined in the Constitution.

Black people are entitled to live their lives free of police brutality. Black people also deserve and are entitled to be free of murder, rapes, assaults, robberies, and the destruction and theft of their property.

Black people want equal justice—period.

Equal justice necessitates that whether black people are the victims or suspects of crimes, that they are entitled to both the full protection of the law and the faithful execution of the law by those entrusted to carry it out. If we are innocent, free us. If we are guilty, convict and sentence us fairly. If we are victims, treat us and our communities with the same respect, care, service, and protection as you would white communities.

Equal justice demands nothing less.

To interfere with the prosecution of those who would deny those rights is racist. Do district attorneys’ offices sometimes make mistakes? Is there bias in the system? Absolutely. But, the system would not be better without black prosecutors.

For black people to achieve equal justice, we need to be a part of every aspect of the criminal justice system that directly affects us: from police on the streets, to defense attorneys, to prosecutors, and judges. That is why we matter.

Sincerely,

Santa Clara County Black Prosecutors:

Ann Huntley

Dan Okonkwo

Troy Benson

Garner Morris

Leigh Frazier

Tamalca Harris

Tyrone Wilson

Kalila Spain

Olusere Olowoyeye

Demetricia Sampson

Cheri Hawkins

Irene Williams

Noel Walton

Opinions are the authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Send op-ed pitches to [email protected].

37 Comments

  1. Sajid Khan is a buffoon. Thank you to all the dedicated prosecutors, black, white, Asian and every other race, color, creed and sexual orientation. They fight for true victims, and seek justice everyday by a simple creed “do the right thing”.

    • Agree on Khan is a Buffoon. Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen is the top criminal in this county though always putting high SES criminals above justice. He gives passes to criminal law enforcement officers who engage in violent crimes such as Domestic Violence, crimes against children, white collar fraud and so on. The SCC supervisors not only know this, they continue to increase his salary and power. The systemic corruption of this county is way too much. This is why we not only have a pandemic of COVID-19 but also of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking…STATE AUDIT NOW! They are not too big to fail. I know your ways Jeff Rosen. Cuando digo que la gata es parda, es porque tengo sus pelos en mi mano… But evidence can always be manipulated to serve the purpose of those in power and benefitting from systemic corruption. Criminal Justice and police reform has been a long standing unmet need and the roots of this nation’s social injustice. Laws are meaningless without enforcement.

  2. Thank you Santa Clara County Black Prosecutors for all you do!!! Mr. Khan is yet another example of mostly privileged individuals speaking on the plight of African Americans without any experiential basis. There are people who are qualified to speak on this issue. Deputy Public Defender Khan is not!!!

    By definition, his job is to unleash criminals back into the community to rape, rob and murder again. The fringe benefit is how he and others celebrate the accomplishment. Public Defenders’ office have plaques and statues dedicated to honor these accomplishment as their colleagues give them a standing ovation. The actual guilt of their clients doesn’t matter. The fear the victims and community faces as a result of this so called “success” doesn’t matter! People like Mr. Khan get paid approx $200,000 to trample on victim’s rights.

    Just ask ANY victim in any case if this true. Ask their families! Ask Mr. Khan and wait for the delay in his voice. Ask him if it matters that he KNOWS his client is a child molester or baby killer! The hesitation in his answer as he tries to distract you with legalese should be answer enough. And if there is no hesitation in his response, then that will speak volumes about Mr. Khan’s character as a human being.

    • I’m unsure if any of you actually read Sajid’s post. It didn’t call out any specific group of people. It called out District Attorney’s offices in addition to the police. Anyone who knows anything about the criminal justice system knows these two players work hand in hand. It’s a natural conclusion to question their practices. My question is- why so defensive?

      • Microinvalidation is a form of racism. It ignores the experience of POC. Why did Mr. Khan feel the need to ignore the experience and work done by POC ON ALL SIDES OF SYSTEM?! Step back and think about how you are being so racist justifying completely LEGITIMATE perspectives from black prosecutors. When you ignore the experience of POC, you are allowing ongoing violence to oppressed communities. Are you a POC? If not maybe you should stand down and listen. No one asked you to agree. But no one asked you to support ongoing mincroinvalidations.

      • I read it and replied to it. I do belief he is a Buffoon though. But what you say about police and prosecutors is true. I know not all prosecutors are corrupted in Santa Clara County but just enough of them to give Jeff Rosen the power he needs to manage his web of corruption. They are using the Black card to defend the DAs office. How many Black prosecutors are there in this county and how many of those wrote this piece? Former Judge Cordell is a Black woman and she gives a sh!t about social injustice. She only cares about herself and her privileged friends. People from minority groups can simultaneously be the oppressed and the oppressors. Those unaware of that are IGNORANT! These marches should not only be about racial injustice but also SES injustice. Most of you reading this will rather invite any rich person from any minority group to your home than the homeless or any socially disadvantaged White person.

        • > Most of you reading this will rather invite any rich person from any minority group to your home than the homeless or any socially disadvantaged White person.

          Yes, Civilized people like to associate with civilized people.

          So, what’s the problem?

          • Because my lord is Jesus, I am on the side of the disadvantaged. Calling the disadvantaged not civil speaks volume to you privileged thinking and most likely Bx.

  3. I am proud of every black prosecutor who works in the justice system and especially those in Santa Clara County. We became prosecutors in order to help achieve justice for all, not to deny it to people of color. I spent thirty years in this county doing just that and never missed an opportunity to be on the side of justice along with my colleagues. Rolanda Pierre Dixon- Assistant District Attorney Retired

  4. Bravo! While there is still much work to do to ensure equality in many areas of law enforcement, it cannot be accomplished through hyperbole. Mr. Khan’s op-ed uses the same tactics to indict prosecutors as he claims are used against black defendants. Any legitimate point he had to make was obliterated by his own hypocrisy. If he wanted to achieve change, he failed. I applaud my colleagues in their pointed response to his misguided opinions. It seems he didn’t see them or consider them significant within the DA’s Office.

  5. Just in the city of Gilroy, in 2011 a former SJPD Officer killed himself after killing his wife. All this after long history of violent BX from this individual that the GPD and DA’s office ignored. In 2012 another Gilroy woman reported her then husband for child porn watch and DV BX that started after her discovery. Her then husband had retired from the SJPD in 2008 and was working as a sheriff’s deputy for the Santa Clara County. The system and individuals such as supervising judge Julia A EMEDE protected this individual. He kept his job. In 2016 he engaged in IRS Fraud by forging his ex wife’s signature. He cashed at least one check before she learned of the fraud. In May 2019, this the same individual attempted to choked his own biological daughter over an argument about trash in the kitchen. GPD and DA Jeff Rosen and other DAs ignored evidence. They used blind eyes and deaf ears because of the influential supporters of this man. The sheriff’s office wrote a good standing letter for this man to present in the family court related to the custody of minor child of the marriage. This even when the child porn investigation was pending. The Gilroy shooter also grew in a home with these characteristics that also included an influential family member. The Gilroy shooting victim by police officers…Other officers engaging in sexual Bx with minors..Then the raped victim in San Martin. None of these victims received support from the DA’s office even when requested. Black prosecutors, being Black does not make you a better or worst individual or prosecutor. It is high moral standards, ethics, responsibility towards those your serve, [email protected], and compassion. Tanto peca el que mata a la vaca como el que le estira la pata. Non action and silence are equally complicit. If the head is rotten so the rest of the body. On another note: what is the percentage of Black prosecutor in this county and how many are writing this? Who and how many are “We.” Also Jeff Rosen and county supervisors already know all these details privately and publicly. The ex of this deputy publicly confronted Jeff Rosen during the last in person child sexual abuse forum at the supervisors’ place on Heading. Some of us talked to her after the forum to obtain more details. I am sure Jeff Rosen remembers that moment.

  6. As a prosecutor, we pursue what is just for the victim, the community, and the defendant.

    Thank you.

      • Words matter. I am hearing much different words from others, dangerous words that will lead to disastrous results. Once these words are out there with their names on them, they are forever, and those that said them can be held account.

        The problem with DA Rosen is his words have multiple interpretations and are not rooted. They float, they pass through me like smoke. These words sank in, as they were clear, obvious in a world that is neither.

        Good luck on your investigation and your book, I am no fan of DA Rosen. If you need funding, I would participate in a kickstarter. But then we could hold you to your words too.

        Paul Valentine

    • With all due respect, it’s also your job to defend police work, whether it was done correctly or not. Before you get upset, hear me out. It is VERY rare that ADAs, for example, concede motions to suppress. In 13 years of criminal practice, I’ve seen it happen MAYBE once. Even when it’s super obvious that the police violated the law. They will actually argue for a judge to ignore the law, or argue why it’s ok for police to break the law. If the job was truly about justice, and the officers were clearly wrong, the ADA would concede. But they don’t. They will argue a bad stop until they are blue in the face.

      It is exceedingly rare for an ADA to agree to withdraw a case even in the face of egregious police misconduct. I can send you the notes of testimony right now of a case in which a narcotics officer admitted to lying to a magistrate in order to obtain a warrant for a case. Admitted to it!! The ADA STILL argued against the motion to suppress and tried to justify the officer’s conduct and have the search upheld. The judge told the ADA that he should never have even allowed the case to get to a motion, he should have withdrawn the case immediately. The ADA continued to argue it.

      This is what is common, and what’s concerning is that many ADAs believe that this IS “seeking justice.” It’s not. It’s allowing corruption and police misconduct to flourish.

      ADAs DO seek justice in many circumstances. I respect many of you and I understand the role you play. But to act like ADAs are not part of the cause of systematic injustice in the criminal justice system just ignores everyday reality. ADAs are aligned with the police and the outcome of your cases often hinge on their work. That leads to injustice because even when their work is shoddy or outright egregious, you defend it. Period.

  7. “If we are innocent, free us. If we are guilty, convict and sentence us fairly.” DAs offices do not free innocent black people, and they do not fairly sentence or convict black people.

    According to on of their own reports, Black people represented 2% of the population in these prosecutors’ county, but represented 12% of the people their office sent to prison. For comparison, white people represented 21% of the people sent to prison but represented 34% of the total population…

    Just in case you’re keeping score at home, for black people, multiply the total population (2%) by 6 (SIX!) and you get the prison population (12%). For White people, you multiply the total population (34%) by 0.6 (Six Tenths). So, no, I do not think these fine Black Prosecutors are doing a good job at making sure their own office “convicts and sentences us fairly.” These numbers were taken from the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office directly. They issued a report on racial disparities in the justice system. This is their own report, so they got to choose what data to share, how internal “studies” were conducted, etc. This was the best they could do.

    I respect Black Deputy DAs. I honestly do. I know they have all had to work harder than their white counter parts to get to where they were. That is a fact of life for Black People in almost any field. For their field specifically, they have had to convince a system whose job it is to see them as less than human, that they are in fact humans, and humans capable enough to take part in running that same system. That takes intelligence and that takes courage. But I have not seen any Black Deputy DA in my state actively supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

    Here’s what I have seen. I have seen DAs of all colors with caseloads filled with the George Floyds who were lucky enough to survive their encounter with the police, only to be charged with “resisting arrest” or “battery on an officer.” DAs of all color know that a conviction of one of those offenses can act as a bar against suing the police who beat and maim Black citizens. I see DAs of all colors refuse to call my Black people by their name in court, furthering the dehumanization that my Black people go through whenever they encounter the criminal justice system. I see DAs of all colors get angry and frustrated at defense attorneys and their Black clients when they have somehow convinced a judge to throw out evidence because their police officer violated the Constitution.

    To all Black Prosecutors, I do not see the Justice you clearly want to convince the world exists. It seems like most Black people do not see it either. In fact, 87% of Black people (and 61% of White people) said the U.S. criminal justice system treats black people less fairly. I wish I could believe your office was somehow different. But I have eyes, and they’ve been open.

    • Thank you Will, your first sentences are the main point of this. Those that tried to defend those officers who killed George were pointing to his criminal history and “violence.” The point is, if he engaged in a criminal, act arrest him and give him the opportunity of a speedy and fair process. However this did not happen. Instead he was killed; no violence shown that merits the treatment he and other Black and Latino men receive. These killings happen way too often. The last thing I need is stupid preaching from “Black” prosecutors. I want measurable actions to stop these killings by police NOW!

    • “Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones”. How about Molly O’Neal hire more public defenders who reflect the community they represent. Start with your office if you want real change. Demand that the public defenders in your office reflect the community they claim to defend. There is a reason why some of your colleagues are known as “public pretenders”. Most of you pretend to care about communities of color, but that is far from the truth. Your self-serving chase for the win blinds you from the destruction your choices cause communities of color. My brother’s public pretender was so “woke” that she thought she could out smart the facts of the case. My brother was sentenced to a much stiffer sentence because his woke ass privileged public pretender was focused on the win and was not willing to accept the fair and justified offer by the DAs office. Police departments and DA offices need reform and change, but so does your office. Review the hiring practices of your office over the past ten years. How many Brown and Vietnamese public defenders are in your office? Why is Molly only hiring privileged kids and not making an effort to hire a more diverse work force. Review and reflect on policies that promote getting the win at all cause. That approach is not only unethical, but it devastates our communities of color. Communities of color also deserve and are entitled to be free of murder, rapes, assaults, robberies, and the destruction and theft of their property. The issue with Mr Khan is that he is not woke enough to speak for an entire community. A community he has never been a part of. A community he only knows through the lense of his clients. When was the last time he walked through Poco Way, Kollmar apartments, Foxdale, 7 trees and talked to the families who live in fear everyday. Fear not from police officers or district attorneys but rather from the gangsters he released into their community. You want change, demand answers from Molly O’Neal. You want change, walk the streets of the Eastside and talk to the victims of crime and learn about the community you represent through their lense. I believe that Public defenders are needed in our courts and are part of a check in a system that needs change. Making sure that the government meets it’s burden before the liberty of an individual is taken from him is necessary and I applaud the defense attorneys who fight for this day in and day out. However it appears that the local DAs office has done much more to bring justice and equality to the communities of color that has the Public defenders office under Molly’s tenure. Just saying.

      • Remember two years ago when an Kristin Carter defended a white Rapist cop who raped an immigrant woman while on DUTY and in UNIFORM and her main defense was that the rape victim lied for immigration purposes. Oh and it worked because the jury hung. That case was tried twice. It’s incredibly difficult to get convictions against police officers, even in liberal Silicon Valley. Yet DA Rosen does charge and continues to prosecute the police. The real question Mr. Brotherson is would you defend Chauvin? And if you did, what defense tactics would you use? Would you smear Mr. Floyd? Most trials become attacks on the victim. Those are defense attorney tactics that many public defenders in your office use day in and day out on crime victims of all color.

        https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/03/jury-hung-again-in-former-san-jose-cops-rape-case-retrial/

    • > According to on of their own reports, Black people represented 2% of the population in these prosecutors’ county, but represented 12% of the people their office sent to prison. For comparison, white people represented 21% of the people sent to prison but represented 34% of the total population…

      Maybe white people and black people have different cultural values and behave differently.

      Maybe black people are smarter than white people.

      Maybe white people reflect more light than black people.

      Maybe black people have more rhythm than white people.

      Maybe white people eat more white bread than black people.

      I’m sure there’s an explanation.

  8. It is clear Mr. Khan is capitalizing on a moment to promote his ego while rejecting, ignoring, and continuing the oppression of people of color — people of color who chose a career as prosecutors because they found an avenue where they could use their minds and hearts towards breaking down systemic abuses; people of color whose stories and experiences are as diverse as the public they serve. How convenient for Mr. Khan to disregard some black people while capitalizing on the death of others. Who’s neck will your knee land on next, Mr. Khan, for your air time?

    It is pure hypocrisy and blatant racism to ignore the voices of black prosecutors so that Khan may sow his ideas for a few applauds from his like-minded buddies. How Trumpian, truly. Men who use DIVISIVE tactics to inflame and tear communities apart for their own egos; rather, Mr. Khan, the time calls for all sides to unite and bridge differences so that they work together to do better. How about you listen and learn from these black prosecutors on why they’re here and what they’ve accomplished to more fairly balance the system.

  9. I read both Mr. Sajid Khan’s Op-ed and the responsive Op-ed by the Black prosecutors of Santa Clara County.

    I re-read and dissected Mr. Khan’s writing, searching for some justification for their response — which is essentially a personal attack upon Mr. Khan rather than a true Op-Ed putting forth an independent opinion. They claim his piece was ‘incendiary,’ ‘inaccurate’ and, most revealingly, ‘hurtful.’

    In his opinion, Mr. Khan wrote that in discussing injustice within the criminal justice system we must also look at the role of prosecutors in this unjust system. Nowhere in Mr. Khan’s piece did he write, suggest, or imply that:
    • “Black prosecutors do not play a vital role in our justice system.”
    • “the system would be better without Black prosecutors.”
    • “Black prosecutors are “race traitors.”
    In fact, the opinion does even address Black prosecutors in the slightest!

    Mr. Khan’s Op-ed was a forceful and passionate critique of District Attorney’s Offices nationwide in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and police brutality in general. He asked that “When we yell out black lives matter – we call for and demand the recognition and valuing of the humanity of black people in this country.”

    The District Attorney response was to accuse Mr. Khan of “co-opting” BLM just for saying “black lives matter.” This is not about Mr. Khan! The prosecutor’s Op-ed never addressed the real heart of this issue, whether DA’s offices are part of the problem or not. Instead, they write “we matter” as if Mr. Khan had argued otherwise.

    Only last week, Marilyn Mosby, the Black state’s attorney for Baltimore City (who prosecuted the officers in Freddie Gray’s death) wrote her own Op-Ed published in the New York Times:
    “Prosecutors, Please Stand Up To The Police.”
    Prosecutors must recognize their power to shape the criminal justice system and must realize that
    when we criminalize minor offenses, we expose people to needless interaction with law enforcement. For people of color in America, an arrest can lead to life-altering trauma. Prosecutors must examine their policies and use discretion to diminish the possibility of such deadly interactions.
    And:
    There comes a time when those in authority must be held accountable, and we need prosecutors willing to apply one standard of justice. The woefully low number of police brutality prosecutions illustrates that this is not easy. In a country with thousands of prosecutors, I remain an anomaly to this day for prosecuting police misconduct.

    Mr. Khan and Ms. Mosby are on the same page here. The author/s of the prosecution Op-ed wrote “Black prosecutors do not need you to remind us of the horrors of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice . . . .”
    In fact, ALL prosecutors need to be reminded of these outrageous deaths because each of those cases reflects the failure of a local DA’s office to seek and pursue justice for these men and women and their families. Whether it was a failure to arrest or bring charges (Breonna); No arrest/charge till public and media demand action (Ahmaud, Trayvon); or a DA decision to present the case to a Grand Jury (Eric, Tamir, Michael) which, as the saying goes, will indict a ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks, but when it’s a police officer, will routinely decline to indict.

    Instead of closing rank and falsely and unhelpfully labeling Mr. Khan a “racist,” consider joining him and enlightened prosecutors, like Ms. Mosby, for a new conversation about mass incarceration and policing the police.
    Kristin Carter
    Santa Clara County Deputy Alternate Defender

    • They do not “need a justification for their response”. Who are you to take away the voice of any black person?! Who are you to take away the voice of black prosecutors in this county?! Are you another white woman trying to blacksplain something to black people?! How many black public defenders are there?! How many black alternate defenders are there?! Are there more black prosecutors or defense attorneys at the public and alternate defenders offices?! YOU WORK IN THE SAME CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM PULLING IN $200K+! You don’t get a pass just because you’re a defense attorney. YOU WORK IN THE SAME SYSTEM! You are also part of the problem and can be part of the solution. I hope you can figure out a way to be part of the solution instead of perpetuating this us versus them mentality. SANTA CLARA COUNTY STAY WOKE AND BE WEARY OF THOSE THAT TRY TO FURTHER DIVIDE US!

      • Yes R.W. She is a Black woman. So, again- what’s your point? And by the way- when you write a response to an op-ed, ideally it should be responsive to the original message. Which this wasn’t. It doesn’t invalidate their perspective-but it does unfairly characterize what Mr. Kahn wrote in his original piece. Maybe you should read it.

    • AGAIN THANK YOU YOUR WHITE MAJESTY KRISTIN CARTER FOR BLESSING US WITH YOUR ULTRA WHITE PERSPECTIVE. WOW.

      Note the context—a simple search of Ms. Carter shows her defending a cop who raped an already victimized UNDOCUMENTED woman who was a victim of domestic violence WHILE IN SAFE SHELTER. You are the epitome of the problem. And no, NOT GUILTY does not mean INNOCENT. MS CARTER YOU MADE IT OKAY FOR COPS TO RAPE AND HAVE SEX ON DUTY. SHAME ON YOU FOR SITTING ON YOUR ALMIGHTY THRONE.

      Seriously though: microinvalidation is racism. You do know that you can support both op-Ed? They are both insightful…. but it is also true that Khan ignores many black perspectives in the criminal justice system. And for that he should also be ashamed.

      And no one is saying you cannot openly criticize the DA office. In fact CRITICISM of any government or state body is important towards accountability. YOU HOWEVER ARE INVALIDATING BLACK PERSPECTIVES.

      Just because you claim to be the “defender” of POC RIGHTS does not mean anything. Look at what you do and the harm your have injected into the Communities OF POC.

      Sure — Question prosecutors. But also question the public defenders and judges who continue to oppress POC with their savior complexes.

      Bye.

      • See this is where Ms. Carter Shows her racism in her comment: “The District Attorney response was to accuse Mr. Khan of “co-opting” BLM”

        THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY.

        No. The op-Ed was written by my guess a few black prosecutors?!! NOT THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY. Again you ignore the voices of black people. Ask yourself WHY.

    • You have to be kidding me! Just read this lovely article about Ms. Carter’s amazing work defending a white officer who rapped a Hispanic victim. https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/05/03/jury-hung-again-in-former-san-jose-cops-rape-case-retrial/

      Looks like the DAs office tried to put this officer away, not once but twice! Care Brownsplaining how you pulled off this victory Ms. Carter?

      Ms. Carter, I hear Derek Chauvin needs a good attorney. Preferably one that can Blacksplain to the jury what really happened.

      • I’m sorry, are you criticizing a public defender for doing her job?

        You do realize that we don’t get to pick and choose our cases, we handle the cases that we are assigned? And we do it because we have one of the only jobs mandated by the US Constitution? If the defendant claims to be indigent, he’s entitled to an attorney. You’re insulting her because she got assigned to the case?

        If the jury hung multiple times, there is obviously a problem with the DA’s case. And it’s literally the defense attorney’s job to highlight that problem, not present like it doesn’t exist because people don’t like the defendant.

        Do you actually understand how the criminal justice system works? It’s adversarial for a reason.

  10. This defensive opinion piece assumes that putting people in jail makes communities safer while pointing no evidence to support that. Many leave jail to return to their communities and again commit crimes, after becoming more dangerous due to the trauma they suffered in jail and more knowledgeable about how to commit crimes after learning from their fellow inmates.

    It’s why people are saying defund the police. Because punishing crime does nothing to prevent crime when you fail to address the root causes of crime. Since the DA is just an extension of the police, we should defund the DA as well.

    If DAs are an independent check on the criminal justice system, then y’all have done a terrible job and we have mass incarceration to prove it.

  11. Dear authors,

    As a Hispanic/Caucasian prosecutor of nearly twenty years in Oregon, and Southern and Central California, I very much appreciate your unique and well-described motivation and perspective as black prosecutors. Thank you for doing what you do. Your insight and life experience are blessings to our profession and the communities you serve. You certainly do matter!

  12. Saw Mr. Khan’s response to this op-ed on his Tumbler page. Did he seriously break out the old trope, “but I have black friends”?
    SMH