Harris’ criminal justice plan deviates from her record

Joseph Simonson and Emily Larsen of the Washington Examiner report the contradictions between Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris’ criminal justice proposals and her record as a prosecutor.

Sen. Kamala Harris’ criminal justice reform plan represents a stark reversal from her prosecutor days on body cameras, police shooting investigations, cash bonds, and other contentious law enforcement issues, a Washington Examiner inspection found.

Much of the California Democrat’s plan, released Monday on her presidential campaign website, focuses on reducing “mass incarceration” and calls to “drastically [limit] the number of people we expose to our criminal justice system.”

But Harris took a different approach as San Francisco district attorney from 2004-11. In a 2008 letter to the editor in The Recorder, a legal newspaper, Harris boasted that her office “nearly tripled the number of misdemeanor cases taken to trial” since 2003 and argued that misdemeanor crimes “erode our quality of life and are often a gateway to more serious offenses that jeopardize public safety.”

Harris’ criminal justice reform plan calls to “increase funding for body cameras and set standards for its use” and says that the standards “must take into account privacy concerns and community input.”

As California attorney general, Harris did put in place the first statewide body camera program for the state’s Department of Justice special agents. But she opposed “one-size-fits-all” statewide regulations for police body cameras.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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