Manhattan DA candidate will decline to prosecute as many cases as possible if elected

Manhattan DA candidate will decline to prosecute as many cases as possible if elected

Manhattan District Attorney candidate, Tahanie Aboushi, says she will decline as many cases as possible, including charges resulting from poverty, mental illness, or substance use, if elected.

Aboushi believes that “the only way to end mass incarceration is through fundamental and wholesale change to the criminal legal system, focusing on decarceration at every opportunity.” She says that “Prosecution is inherently harmful.”

Aboushi’s Declination Policy is broken up into three parts which includes: 

  1. First, decline to prosecute crimes that are public health issues, including cases that result from poverty, mental illness, or substance abuse.
  2. Second, offer to adjourn as many cases as possible in contemplation of dismissal, recognizing both that one mistake should not define a person’s life, and that repeated incidents are best helped with targeted programming, not a revolving door in and out of Rikers.
  3. Third, in every other case, seek to offer alternatives to incarceration that have been proven to address harm and reduce recidivism.

Some of the crimes Aboushi promises not to prosecute include:

  • Theft of services
  • Criminal possession of stolen property, 3d degree
  • Petit larceny6
  • Burglary, 3d degree
  • Trespass (violation)
  • Criminal trespass, 3d or 2d degree
  • Possession of “burglar’s tools”
  • Making graffiti
  • Possession of “graffiti instruments”
  • Fortune telling
  • Possession of “radio devices”
  • Jostling
  • Loitering
  • Forgery, 3d or 2d degree 
  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument, 3d or 2d degree 
  • Unlawful use of a credit card, debit card, or public benefit card
  • Prostitution
  • Permitting prostitution
  • Patronizing a person for prostitution, 3d degree
  • Possession of a controlled substance
  • Sale of a controlled substance
  • Offenses involving marijuana or THC
  • Criminal nuisance 
  • Gambling offenses
  • Arts and Cultural Affairs offenses
  • Driving while ability impaired (alleged BAC of <.08)
  • Unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle (V.T.L. § 509)
  • Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 3d degree
  • Aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, 2d degree (V.T.L. §§ 511(2)(a)(i), (2)(a)(iv))
  • Non-criminal car accidents (N.Y.C.A.C. § 19-190)
  • Escape
  • Bail jumping
  • Failing to respond to an appearance ticket
  • “Criminal mischief,” 2d, 3d, or 4th degree
  • “Criminal tampering,” 3d degree
  • Criminal facilitation, 4th degree (P.L. § 115.00(1))
  • Reckless endangerment of property
  • Possession of a weapon, 4th degree (except firearms)
  • “Harassment,” 2d degree
  • “Aggravated harassment,” 2d degree (P.L. § 240.30(1))
  • NYC administrative code violations for possession of toy or imitation weapons
  • Resisting arrest 
  • Obstructing governmental administration, 2d degree
  • Unlawful assembly 
  • Disorderly conduct 
  • Refusing to aid a peace or police officer

Under the second part of Aboushi’s policy, the DA’s office would suspend certain cases for six months. If the accused person stays free of arrests, the case is dismissed. Those crimes include:

  • Assault, 3d degree
  • Assault, 2d degree (P.L. § 120.05(2), (3))
  • Criminal trespass, 1st degree 
  • Burglary, 2d degree
  • Criminal mischief, 2d or 1st degree 
  • Criminal tampering, 1st degree
  • Grand larceny, 3rd or 4th degree
  • Welfare fraud
  • Criminal possession of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a weapon, 2d degree
  • Criminal possession of a weapon, 3d degree (P.L. § 265.03(3))
  • NYC administrative code violations for possession of rifles or shotguns
  • Misdemeanor driving while intoxicated
  • Robbery, 2d or 3d degree
  • Unauthorized use of a vehicle, 2d or 3d degree

All other cases not declined or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal will be eligible for an alternative to incarceration.

Furthermore, if elected Aboushi will refuse to seek sentences longer than 20 years and will review all old sentences that would exceed the 20-year maximum and will seek release for people whose sentences are “too harsh, who pose no risk to public safety,” or for people incarcerated for crimes they would no longer prosecute.

Aboushi will also refuse to prosecute gang conspiracy charges and “other crimes that have historically harmful effects on communities of color.”

Aboushi, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is endorsed by Linda Sarsour and Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib.