Press Release

THE CITY: Manhattan DA Candidates’ Reform Talk Rattles Veteran Prosecutors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 10, 2021
Contact: Kate Smart
617-510-4803
kate@danquart.com

MANHATTAN - Dan Quart will rebuild the Manhattan district attorney’s bloated office and refocus its priorities from win records to public safety and fairness. While some prosecutors might be fearful of the coming changes a Quart administration might bring, Quart will build the office that Manhattanites are demanding. He recently spoke with THE CITY about how he would reform the office to best serve Manhattan.

Read more below.

THE CITY: Manhattan DA Candidates’ Reform Talk Rattles Veteran Prosecutors

On the campaign trail, most candidates for Manhattan district attorney have promised major changes to the storied office. And some have pledged to shrink it.

[...] Assemblymember Dan Quart has said major personnel changes would follow if he wins — citing as a benchmark the 28% staff turnover that took place in the first year of reform prosecutor Larry Krasner’s tenure in Philadelphia.

With the Democratic primary quickly approaching, current and former prosecutors tell THE CITY these campaign-trail promises have stirred up fears of careers ending, and a new boss who will reshape and gut the office.

[...] “I’ve been very direct with the voters about my vision for the office and I would have hiring practices and bring in personnel consistent with that vision,” he told THE CITY. “And that’s how democracy works. That’s why we have elections.”

A Need for Change

[...] As of late May, 1,088 of the office’s 1,514 current staffers are assistant district attorneys or community associates, a role that, according to a spokesperson for the DA’s office, most commonly includes paralegals, investigative analysts and discovery analysts.

Even as arrests have fallen, employment at the DA offices citywide is at historically high levels, according to a 2020 analysis by the Independent Budget Office. Staffing in Manhattan is more than double what it was in 1980, when there were just 706 full-timers — and crime was rampant.

To Brandon Holmes — co-director at the Freedom Agenda, also part of the group pushing a 50% budget cut for the DA — reversing the trend of expanding prosecutors’ offices is overdue.

“We need to draw a clear line in the sand that we’re not going to continue to give them the resources and to have the size and scope that they currently have…to over-police and over-incarcerate specific communities, most often low-income communities of color,” he said.

Read the full story 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 DanQuart.com and DanQuart.com/Press.