Press Release

05/24 Quart for Manhattan DA Week in Review

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2021
Contact: Kate Smart
617-510-4803
kate@danquart.com

Forward: Bullied as a kid for being Jewish, Dan Quart says he’ll be tough on hate crimes as Manhattan DA

Quart Joins BNC To Discuss Why Police Accountability Is Critical To Public Safety

Where Others Have Tried & Failed, Quart Will Build A Robust Conviction Integrity Unit

NYMag: Quart Building “Broad Support”

Quart Joins Avenues for Justice On Instagram Live

MANHATTAN - This week Manhattan district attorney candidate Dan Quart discussed why standing up against hate is personal for him in a Forward profile. Quart also sat down with Black News Channel and Avenues for Justice for conversations on how he will reform the criminal justice system as district attorney.

As the campaign enters the final month ahead of the June primary, NYMag also highlighted the “broad support” Quart for DA has built across Manhattan. The campaign will continue to scale their organizing program to turnout voters in the final weeks.

Read more below.

Quart sat down with Forward to discuss growing up in Washington Heights, why standing up to hate is personal for him, and why he’ll always fight for public safety as Manhattan’s next district attorney.

Forward: Bullied as a kid for being Jewish, Dan Quart says he’ll be tough on hate crimes as Manhattan DA

Growing up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan in the early 1980s, Dan Quart, now a member of the State Assembly, was the frequent target of antisemitic slurs.

“The walk from my house to synagogue was pretty long,” Quart, 48, said in a recent interview. “I’d go with my friends, and as a big group of boys in yarmulkes, it wasn’t uncommon to have slurs shouted at us or eggs dropped on our heads from the buildings we passed by.”

Quart, who since 2011 has represented the 73rd District, which includes parts of the Upper East Side and Midtown in Manhattan, said that those Saturday experiences stuck with him when he went into public service. “You can’t ignore moments like this,” he stressed. “It stays with you and it’s a part of who you are.”

Now, he said, he wants to use the Manhattan District Attorney’s office to oversee tougher hate crime prosecutions, but also to boost public safety and reform policing.

On Thursday, Quart joined Black News Channel’s  “Making the Case” with Yodit Tewolde and discussed why police accountability is such a critical part of achieving public safety.

"The next prosecutor has to ensure a level of police accountability because police accountability is public safety,” said Quart. “I go throughout the borough to knock on doors… in communities like the ones I grew up in in Washington Heights, Central and East Harlem, and people are talking about not the absence of policing but a different type of policing. They want police to do their job but they don’t want them to be overly aggressive… So we have to find the right, appropriate response and part of that as district attorney is holding police accountable that engage in excessive force, violence, or who lie on written reports, and I’ll do that.”

Watch the full interview here.

Quart re-committed to building a robust conviction integrity unit as district attorney this week after reporting from The Appeal found Brooklyn’s unit exonerated far fewer people under candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein’s leadership.

Quart will build a robust conviction integrity unit, one not led by former prosecutors, that roots out injustice and exonerates wrongfully convicted people. Quart is not new to this issue-- he has partnered with the Innocence Project to pass the Challenging Wrongful Convictions Act, drafted legislation to create a statewide conviction integrity agency, fought for benefits for exonerated New Yorkers, and has been endorsed by prominent wrongful conviction advocates, including Jeff Deskovic and Derrick Hamilton.

Davis Vanguard compared Quart’s record with Farhadian Weinstein’s.

Davis Vanguard: Manhattan DA Candidates Promise Conviction Integrity Units – but There Are Doubts

Dan Quart, district attorney candidate in Manhattan, has promised to build a robust conviction integrity unit that “roots out injustice and exonerates wrongfully convicted people,” and his history and endorsements suggest that he would.

But, another candidate, current general counsel Tali Farhadian Weinstein at the Brooklyn DA’s office, holds a similar stance when it comes to implementing a conviction integrity unit, looking toward her own experience overseeing the conviction integrity unit in Brooklyn.

Criminal justice reformers, however, have cast doubt on her record.

The Appeal/New York Focus: A MANHATTAN D.A. CANDIDATE TOUTS HER LEADERSHIP OF A CONVICTION REVIEW UNIT. WHY DID IT EXONERATE SO FEW PEOPLE?

[...] But during the year and four months that Farhadian Weinstein oversaw the bureau, its conviction review unit exonerated just three people—a far lower rate of exonerations than in previous years.

[...]

And the 25 exonerations in the Brooklyn unit’s report? Only one occurred under Farhadian Weinstein’s leadership.

“She’s taking credit for exonerations that she had nothing to do with,” said Derrick Hamilton, co-founder and assistant director of Family and Friends of the Wrongfully Convicted, who was exonerated by the conviction review unit in 2015 after 21 years in prison on a wrongful conviction for murder.

Now, Farhadian Weinstein says she would “use her experience in Brooklyn to establish the nation’s most robust Post-Conviction Justice Bureau in Manhattan.”

But advocates and public defenders who have interacted with the Brooklyn bureau say that its record makes it unworthy of imitation—in part because the head of its conviction review unit was a prosecutor who had long worked side by side with the prosecutors whose convictions he now reviews.

“If the model that’s currently operating in Brooklyn is set up in Manhattan, that would be a disaster,” said Nick Encalada-Malinowsksi, civil rights campaign director with the criminal justice advocacy group VOCAL-NY.

Reporting in NYMag highlighted the uniquely “broad support” Quart is building across Manhattan.


NYMag: Who Will Replace Cy Vance As Manhattan District Attorney?

[...] Quart, 48, is a six-term state assemblymember representing the East Side of Manhattan who previously worked as a court-appointed criminal defense attorney and as a pro bono attorney defending tenants’ rights and public lands. Quart’s time in office has helped him build broad support — he received endorsements from major unions like the Communications Workers of America and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, as well as nods from State Senator John Liu, Assemblyman John Kim, and Representative Carolyn Maloney.

Finally, on Tuesday, Quart joined Avenues for Justice for a conversation on Instagram Live.

Quart discussed ending the school to prison pipeline and reforming how the Manhattan district attorney’s office treats youth.

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About Dan Quart: Dan Quart is one of NYC’s top pro bono attorneys and a New York State Assemblymember representing Manhattan’s East Side. A Washington Heights native who grew up in subsidized housing with working-class parents, Dan was raised by a public school teacher and a social worker who taught him the value of public service. Since graduating law school, he has dedicated his career to standing up for tenants' rights and advocating for criminal justice reform.

As Manhattan’s next District Attorney, Dan will fight to end mass incarceration, hold law enforcement accountable for police brutality, and ensure that all Manhattanites feel safe. Learn more at DanQuart.com and DanQuart.com/Press.