Sen. Kamala Harris styles herself a “progressive prosecutor.” But Harris wasn’t nearly progressive enough for Lara Bazelon, a law professor and former director of the Loyola Law School Project for the [allegedly] Innocent in Los Angeles.
In a New York Times op-ed, Bazelon rips Harris for her “regressive” conduct and positions during her time as a district attorney in San Francisco and then California’s attorney general,
According to Bazelon:
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.
Bazelon presents a bill of particulars. I lack the information and/or knowledge needed to evaluate most of these complaints.
It’s clear, though, that Harris has an enemy on the left. It’s also clear that this enemy is focusing on themes that are politically fraught — themes with the potential to undermine Harris’ status as a darling of the left.
Criminal justice reform is one such theme. The death penalty is another. According to Bazelon, Harris appealed (as she should have) a ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional. That won’t warm leftist hearts.
Then there’s marijuana. In 2014, Harris apparently laughed when a reporter asked if she would support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. Marijuana is no laughing matter unless, of course, if one is high.
It gets worse. In 2015, says Bazelon, Harris opposed a bill requiring her office to investigate shootings involving officers. She also refused to support statewide standards regulating the use of body-worn cameras by police officers.
Doesn’t Harris realize that black lives matter?
It must be impossible these days to be a prosecutor without at times alienating both the defense bar and the far left. Bazelon apparently belongs to both groups.
Thus, it’s natural that Harris has an enemy in Bazelon. But this doesn’t mean that Bazelon’s attacks lack the potential to injure Harris as she competes for votes from the Democratic left.