Bragg’s Deputy: Prosecutors Can Impact Justice by Declining Charges

Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan District Attorney, has a chief prosecutor named Meg Reiss, who suggested prosecutors have the ability to disregard the rule of law and infuse their own ideology into their decisions.

Chief Prosecutor Emphasizes Independent Power of Prosecutors

In 2017, while speaking at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Chief Assistant District Attorney Reiss stated prosecutors possess the authority to bypass mandatory minimum laws.

“Nobody understands the amount of discretion that prosecutors have,” she remarked.

Reiss emphasized the independent “power” these individuals hold in choosing to reject certain prosecution cases. This can lead to systemic changes within the criminal justice system — a system she perceives as inherently racist.

Chief Prosecutor Meg Reiss conveyed prosecutors have considerable leeway when choosing the cases they want to prosecute.

She explained, “If prosecutors refrain from charging a crime, a judge cannot impose a sentence for that crime.”

Leniency for Criminals, Strictness for Police Misconduct

Police officers may choose to decline prosecution when making specific arrests. “Despite officers persisting in making arrests, if the prosecutor decides against prosecution, the matter concludes there.”

Reiss elaborated on the power prosecutors hold at the federal level, emphasizing they can unilaterally choose what to charge, how to charge it, and which outcomes to pursue, without the need for legislative intervention. However, she believes most people are unaware of this power.

In 2016, Reiss founded the Institute for Innovation on Prosecution (IIP), an organization that partners with prosecution offices, including the Manhattan District Attorney, to promote racial equity reforms.

The IIP endorses an ideologically driven approach to prosecution, acknowledging the historical impact of slavery and racism on the criminal justice system.

Reiss has consistently advocated for leniency and understanding towards criminals, even those involved in violent assaults.

However, she holds a different stance for police officers accused of misconduct, such as excessive force, asserting they do not deserve the “benefit of the doubt” from juries.

An IIP report, co-authored by Reiss and Alvin Bragg, proposed establishing a special prosecution unit focused solely on charging officers.

To achieve its racial equity goals, the IIP also recommended prosecutors intentionally challenge the charges brought forth by police officers.

This article appeared in Right Wing Insider and has been published here with permission.