Law Professor Offers Blistering Critique of Kamala Harris's Career as a Prosecutor | NTK Network Law Professor Offers Blistering Critique of Kamala Harris’s Career as a Prosecutor

Law Professor Offers Blistering Critique of Kamala Harris’s Career as a Prosecutor

Wrongful convictions, poor judgment, and winning cases by technicality: a University of San Francisco law professor provides a horrifying view of Harris's law career.

By NTK Staff | 01.17.2019 @9:40am
Law Professor Offers Blistering Critique of Kamala Harris’s Career as a Prosecutor

University of San Francisco law professor Lara Bazelon wrote a blistering op-ed in the New York Times Thursday focused on the prosecutorial career of potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA).

Harris expected to announce she’s running for president this weekend. She arrived in the U.S. Senate in 2017 after serving as the attorney general in California, and before that she was the district attorney of San Francisco.

During that career, Bazelon argues that Harris routinely demonstrated poor judgment. She provides a laundry list of evidence, but here’s a brief overview:

Time after time, when progressives urged her to embrace criminal justice reforms as a district attorney and then the state’s attorney general, Ms. Harris opposed them or stayed silent. Most troubling, Ms. Harris fought tooth and nail to uphold wrongful convictions that had been secured through official misconduct that included evidence tampering, false testimony and the suppression of crucial information by prosecutors.

For example, Bazelon writes about a 2010 incident in which Harris was criticized for failing to act when she discovered a police lab technician was “intentionally sabotaging” her work. A judge “condemned Ms. Harris’s indifference to the systemic violation of the defendants’ constitutional rights,” and 600 cases in which the technician was involved had to be dismissed.

Perhaps even more concerning are Bazelon’s examples of Harris vigorously fighting for wrongful convictions, sometimes winning on mere technicalities.

Ms. Harris also fought to keep Daniel Larsen in prison on a 28-year-to-life sentence for possession of a concealed weapon even though his trial lawyer was incompetent and there was compelling evidence of his innocence. Relying on a technicality again, Ms. Harris argued that Mr. Larsen failed to raise his legal arguments in a timely fashion. (This time, she lost).

“All too often, she was on the wrong side of that history,” Bazelon wrote.

While this might seem like ancient history, the Black Lives Matter movement proved to be a powerful force during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. Should those advocates become fully aware of Harris’s background as a prosecutor, she may have a hard time winning them over in key primary states in 2020.

UPDATE: In response to the New York Times op-ed, Huffington Post editor in chief Lydia Polgreen posted and then deleted a tweet saying, “Kamala Harris is a cop.”

Lydia Polgreen Tweet Kamala Harris

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