DA candidates begin to separate themselves on issues

Rollins, Carvalho, Henning, Champion, McAuliffe

Rollins, Carvalho, Henning, Champion, McAuliffe.

CommonWealth summarizes the ACLU-sponsored forum for the five Democratic candidates for DA at Hibernian Hall the other night. You basically have three candidates on the left (Rollins, Carvalho and McAuliffe), one who, if not a right winger, not exactly with any plans to become the next Larry Krasner (current assistant DA Henning) and one who shares some views with the first three and some with Henning.



Free tagging: 



By on

Seeing all the faces in blocks like that I thought it was snowstorm coverage.



By on

Blindly committing to saying that you will not prosecute ANY drug possession cases seems like the crazier sentiment to me than simply not committing to saying so.

How about a violent, repeat offender caught with possession? Why have drug laws if you are going to commit to not prosecuting them? And yes, diversion programs for real addicts, great, not talking about them in this blanket commitment.


Prove it

By on

Prove it.

Statistics needed.

You were asked for proof

That isn't proof of anything other than a huge demographic bulge aging off.

Here's some reality:

"Crime was starting to go down in New York prior to the Giuliani election and prior to the implementation of broken windows policing," says Harcourt, the Columbia law professor. "And of course what we witnessed from that period, basically from about 1991, was that the crime in the country starts going down, and it's a remarkable drop in violent crime in this country. Now, what's so remarkable about it is how widespread it was."

Harcourt points out that crime dropped not only in New York, but in many other cities where nothing like broken windows policing was in place. In fact, crime even fell in parts of the country where police departments were mired in corruption scandals and largely viewed as dysfunctional, such as Los Angeles.


Your turn. Facts and statistics and references, please.


Quite frankly,

Henning is a piece of shit. You want more bullshit prosecutions of people that only create more OT for cops, then he’s your man.



Not a whole lot of "bullshit" prosecutions in Boston going on. But I do hate when people bring up the old "what if the state takes your home because of a few marijuana plants?" That is bullshit. 100% security theater/scare tactic bullshit. Never seen anything close like that happen and if it is close, it is so rare that there are a million other injustices to worry about first. (not saying this was an example used, just that it was even brought up)

If you want to reform the civil forfeiture laws fine. But a judge still needs to rule on what can or cannot be taken, so the focus should be on them.

Single drug prosecution and their punishments is another issue that is basically handled (and should be) by judges. Don't like the drug possession laws? Change them. Think you are being profiled because of your race/gender/economic status? File a complaint, argue it in court, or simply don't break the law in the first place.

What happens with drug possession cases is that you have felons with 100+ previous arrests, convictions, etc getting stopped by the police in a legitimate stop with a lot of hard drugs but not enough to charge them with trafficking (possession of a lot of drugs) or intent to distribute. Do these DA's not want to prosecute these guys? Because if you don't, possessing hard drugs is the least of your worries when that guy shoots someone down the road. Or are they trying to look good and scare us about the 17 year old with no criminal history going to jail for 5 years for a bag of weed. That never happened and probably never will.

These DA's who try to scare you into this stuff might be the best people for the job, but don't BS me with crappy scare tactics that aren't practical in the real world.


Henning is Conley's choice

By on

I was at an event a little while back. Conley was working the room for Henning, introducing him to those present. I give Henning credit for introducing himself to me a few minutes before Conley started chatting me up, but since this was a social situation, I didn't want to talk politics.

For better or for worse, Henning is Conley's horse in this race. People can take what they want from that. Having Conley's political machine has meant that I would say Henning is the favorite to win at this stage of the race. As for me, I'm still undecided.


By on

how cute you are!

Think you are being profiled because of your race/gender/economic status? File a complaint, argue it in court, or simply don't break the law in the first place.

So people who are discriminated against systematically need to use the system to systematically decide that they need to be systematically victimized!

Sweet honey child ... no.

How police states work

(and I'm in no way claiming that we're a police state, but bear with me for a second)

How police states work is to have so many laws on the books that, at any given point, pretty much anyone you pick at random is in violation of a large number of laws, but none of them are routinely prosecuted, so nobody takes them seriously.... until someone in power wants you gone, and then they pick you up and throw the book at you over the 37 laws you happened to be violating at the point they arrested you.

That's not a good system. We should be doing everything we can to distance ourselves from it.

And, since, even though we are not anywhere close to being a police state, we do have a large number of laws on the books that are widely violated by ordinary people and are not routinely prosecuted.... So telling people to "obey the law and you'll avoid trouble," is kind of disingenuous.


Philando Castile

Was obeying the law.

(and, no, traffic stops are not felonies and are absolutely not capital crimes)

So was Trayvon Martin.

Shall we continue this list?

Those two have nothing to do with the conversation.

One was pulled over for a suspected felony (we live in a country with a lot of guns, robberies and violence) and the other was profiled by a racist loser (who was charged with a crime and probably would have been convicted in MA by Conley or any of the above DA's.)

So find another list and remember that there are exceptions to everything. Just because you think they are important, doesn't mean they are in the bigger picture.

Not that disingenuous, and that was part of my point...

Like you said, we don't live in a police state, so why use scare tactics in order to say that we are? People in Boston aren't getting arrested or jailed (the most important) for minor violations.

Again, change the laws (recent justice reform act was pretty good on that end), or don't commit crimes. By "doing everything we can to distance ourselves from it" sounds good, but that comes back to changing the laws, not political campaign grandstanding.

Higher Than Average

By on

Boston's homicide clearance rate has been higher than the average for years. According to a Northeastern study and the FBI, the most recent BPD average is 57% vs. 52% for cities the same size. For murder clearances, that's actually a pretty good rate.

(Sources: http://www.northeastern.edu/rugglesmedia/2017/02/13/homicide-rate-in-bos..., https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s)

Also not really sure the prosecutors who handle low-level crimes could or should be out there solving murders with detectives.


Agree 100%

By on

Just pointing out that it's not really accurate to call a rate "low" when it's measurably better than average and climbing while other cities appear to be falling.

How are you ranking priorities?

How are you determining that clearing murders is the most important thing detectives and prosecutors do?

Murder is actually pretty uncommon. Prosecuting those who commit robbery or violent assault or prosecuting corrupt police or corrupt government officials would seem to me to offer at least as much if not more benefit to ordinary people trying to live their lives than clearing murders.


By on

"McAuliffe, Rollins, and Carvalho all said they supported the elimination of cash bail for defendants who have been charged with offenses but not yet tried, while Henning and Champion said they did not.

Anyone able to explain this bail quote a little better? McAuliffe, Rollins and Carvalho all want elimination of cash bail?

So someone is arrested, charged with a crime, then released with zero incentive to show up to court? How do these candidates plan to abolish a few 100 year old bail system safely?


another scare tactic anon on Mon.

The new ACLU buzzword/issue is cash bail situations. And I wouldn't argue that there aren't any parts of this country where this is out of hand because there are.

McAulliffe, Rollins and Carvalho are following this national lead and trying to use this issue as another scare tactic.

It might sound good during this campaign, but in the end the Willie Horton situation is what ends up hurting people politically in issues like bail, parole, etc. Cheap talk in my opinion.


Same concept.

Letting people out of jail for whatever reason (default history, dangerousness hearing, violent crime, flight risk, good behavior in prison for violent crimes, etc) and seeing that person commit a violent act against somebody when they get out can be a political nightmare for elected officials (see recent judges in MA who let the cop killer go in Maine/Cape) .

If Adult Brains aren't fully developed till age 25

By on

Then we shouldn't hire any police officers until their brains are fully developed. A more mature police officer would lead to fewer arrests for Graffiti,trespassing and driving while black.on motor scooters.


Henning is Experience and Progress

By on

Adam, you provide a wonderful product, but you wield enormous power and have to be careful about creating a false narrative.

Henning isn't close to the right. He's very liberal and quite progressive, proposing everything from expanded treatment courts for drugs and mental health, young adult specific facilities to separate them from adults, to ADAs working closer with individual's in the system and more community outreach. Henning sees to care a lot about the community. Rollins and Carvalho won't commit to not run for higher office, both seem to be chasing the next position.

Henning talks a lot about his experience having worked one on one with young men to keep them out of the system and even after prosecuting people, continues to work with them to improve outcomes for them and their community.

The fact that his answers are not as far left as other candidates seems to come from a place of experience. (We should have learned a lesson voting in the Cheeto in the Whitehouse, someone with zero experience.) Henning is the ONLY candidate who has ever prosecuted a case in the Suffolk Superior Court. How can the other candidates have any idea how they would manage that, having never done anything close. Henning is the only candidate who has been a criminal prosecutor for more than 2 years....that's scary. (Rollins was a civil AUSA).

Henning has worked as a poorly paid public servant his entire career. The other candidates have all chased highly paid private work, rather than showing an interest in helping the community. He talks a lot about having also been a teacher.

Rachel Rollins was also highly paid Chief Legal Counsel at Massport during the State Police Troop E overtime scandal. That was on her watch. I'd like to know more about that.


Henning is nothing more than a representation of the white power

structure in this town that claims to be progressive, but is still as racially regressive as it was during the busing. So spare me the dedicated to the cause bullshit. Henning is old Boston and and he's banking on that.

If anything, Henning will use the office as a springboard for higher office or higher pay in the private sector eventually.


I haven't picked a candidate

By on

I haven't picked a candidate yet and am leaning towards either McAuliffe or maybe Rollins. But Henning is not a right-winger as said above. He'd be much more progressive than Conley for one and more than most Mass DAs from what I've seen. I'd like to see more independence from him, though, especially from the police. It's obvious that every cop in Boston has a Henning sign in his/her yard.


Roid rage

By on

Does anyone know if police departments in the county test for steroids ? There seems to be a lot of angry young cops. Does the state, Boston or Transit test for performance enhancing drugs and would the candidates support testing.



Must be why they all fought so bitterly against testing for them.

lol Swirly

You really have zero clue how Union negotiations work. Ask any cop in the country if they about getting tested for steroids and I bet close to 100% don't care.

It's a labor relations thing

By on

They were negotiating a contract. The city wanted this. The unions wanted something in exchange.

That's how you get what you want: find something the other side wants and try to get the thing you want.

Henning is not a right-winger.

By on

He may not be a "left-winger" but implying that he is a "right-winger" is irresponsible and unfair. There are still centrists and moderates left, even in Boston.


Met Henning at a Fenway Health fundraiser

He was the only candidate that I saw at a huge fundraising event for Fenway Health. So at the least he is certainly very comfortable with the GLBT community.

I asked him the same questions I ask all candidates about transparency and the Open Meeting Law and was a bit disappointed he didn't know too much about them, but then again that is typical of most MA politicians. Other than that I was impressed with his knowledge and eagerness to do progressive things. I checked with a friend who has worked with him in the DA's office who gave him a big thumbs up.

I haven't taken the time yet to find out about the other candidates and who I'm going to vote for but I agree with the sentiment of JPMom that just because someone isn't far out on the left that they must be on the right.


Well, based on his answers he's the rightest of this group

So I don't think it was "unfair" to jdentify Henning that way. We have seen this essential approach to urban criminal justice before, and have had time to gauge its results. Is it working well? If you think it is, then vote for him. Henning's got the most money, and most of the local establishment firmly behind him, so he'll have plenty of opportunity to make his case to Boston voters. And "irresponsible" would be ignoring the race entirely or giving it merely token coverage, which I am glad to see is not happening here.

Lawn Signs

By on

A purely unscientific study of lawn signs around town suggests that Henning is the candidate of the white power structure in Boston. West Roxbury is covered in Henning signs, the BPD and their unions support him, as does the Mayor.

Rollins has been endorsed by Adam Foss (former Suffolk ADA and champion of criminal justice reform), Councilor Andrea Campbell, Monica Cannon-Grant, and Real Justice. I spied a few signs in Dorchester and in Dudley Sq.

McAuliffe has been endorsed by Sheriff Steve Tompkins, Former SJC Judge Nancy Gertner. She's got a few signs out in JP and Roslindale.