Press Release

ICYMI: Davis Vanguard: Manhattan DA Vance Is Leaving the Office after Three Terms; While He Touts His Record of Reform, Critics Look for Someone with a Bolder Vision

March 16, 2021
Contact: Kate Smart

MANHATTAN - With the announcement that Cy Vance would not seek a fourth term, Davis Vanguard discussed Vance’s record and spotlighted Dan Quart as an experienced and proven reformer with a long record fighting for police accountability and criminal justice reform. Read more below.

Davis Vanguard: Manhattan DA Vance Is Leaving the Office after Three Terms; While He Touts His Record of Reform, Critics Look for Someone with a Bolder Vision

One of the reform candidates is Assemblymember Dan Quart, who has been an advocate for criminal justice reform in the NY Legislature and a critic of Cy Vance.

Quart told the Vanguard that he wishes Vance and his family well in their next stage of their lives, but he looks forward to the opportunity this presents to working for “systemic and deep reform of this office which allow us to achieve public safety without punishing poor people, people with mental illness and so many societal problems that for all sorts of reasons have ended up in the Manhattan criminal courtroom over the last decade or so.” [...]

It was Dan Quart who sought to legalize the gravity knife. For two consecutive years in 2016 and 2017, the NY Legislature overwhelmingly approved the measure, only to have Governor Cuomo twice veto it.

As Quart points out, the classification of the pocketknife as illegal was used disproportionately against people of color.

“Unfortunately the history of this office—the law was used for punishing poor people and by extension disproportionately people of color,” Quart explained. [...]

He said that before many others opposed Cy Vance’s policies, before it was easy and popular, “I was against Cy Vance’s policies when I thought they were hurtful to my constituents on the east side.”

Jeffrey Deskovic, an exoneree who is now an attorney and who has formed the Jeffrey Deskovic Foundation, was critical of Vance’s efforts on the issue of conviction review and wrongful convictions.

“Cy Vance’s conviction review unit was, from the beginning up until the end of his term, a complete and utter sham,” Deskovic said. “People like the still wrongfully imprisoned Jon Adrian Velazquez and Danny Rincon, and the eventually exonerated Johnny Hincapie are examples of his unit’s failure to deliver justice.

“Cy Vance’s retirement, therefore, represents an opportunity for currently wrongfully imprisoned people from Manhattan to be exonerated—depending on who is elected,” he added. “I personally am rooting for Dan Quart, given his huge body of work as Assemblyman on wrongful conviction issues.” [...]

For Dan Quart, he believes that the time is right for change.

But, as he pointed out, “That all depends on whether they select a practical progressive as district attorney.” He noted his record as a “decarceral progressive” in the legislature, but there is the need to be practical in terms of “the ability to actually accomplish things.”

Read the full article here.

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 and