Political Prosecutions: Abusing Discretion in the Service of Politics

Political Prosecutions: Abusing Discretion in the Service of Politics

The FBI’s Recent Raid on President Trump’s Home Demonstrates the Perils of Partisan Law Enforcement and How It Affects All Americans.

Former President Donald J. Trump made his fortune in Manhattan real estate. Jose Alba made his living as a clerk in an Upper Manhattan bodega. The similarities seem to end with a shared connection to New York City, but the two men may have something far more consequential in common: They both offended the political sensibilities of progressive law enforcement actors.

On July 2, 2022, Alba, at 61 years old, was charged with murder and imprisoned on $250,000 bail in Rikers Island after using deadly force to defend himself against an attack by Austin Simon, a 35-year-old violent predator with an extensive criminal history (Fenton, 2022). Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who was elected in 2021 on a platform of rebalancing prosecutorial discretion in favor of decriminalization and ending so-called mass incarceration, approved the murder charge of Alba and initially requested the court set bail at $500,000. The assault was captured on video surveillance. To any honest observer, it was clear Alba was justified in using lethal force to defend himself. After a chorus of public outrage over the charging decision, Bragg dismissed the case against Alba (Campanile, 2022)

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