"ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!"
REASONS FOR RUNNINGThe reason why I’m running is very simple. Our City is overridden with bullets flying by every section of this great City from top to bottom. Public safety is my number one concern, and other matters that a District Attorney should normally be concerned about, must take a back seat to this problem. Everyone in the City is affected by our gun violence, from business owners, to homeowners who are concerned about their property values, all the way down to a teenager leaving their shift at McDonald’s just trying to get home. Minorities continue to vote for the most liberal candidate in most elections and that must stop. The only way it can stop is by education and information. Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately suffering from gun violence, and they must understand that for the OFFICE OF DISTRICT ATTORNEY, they need someone who means business. People must set aside their liberal ideologies they may have and hold in other issues to dig us out of this crisis. If the reader feels no one can make a difference in our gun violence, they are absolutely dead wrong. It is the responsibility of the District Attorney to be the chief law enforcement officer of this City. He or she cannot have the heart of a Public Defender and run the District Attorney’s Office.
Two things are majorly responsible for our escalation of gun violence. First, the penalties do not fit the crime. Too many of our youth act without thinking of the consequences because they have a firm belief, based on their experience with what happened to their peers, that jail is a revolving door. Secondly, the lack of prosecution of drug dealers has made drug dealing much more profitable with less risk than ever before. If there are little or no consequences for drug dealing, then more people will want to get in on the action. The combination of high dollars and fortune, plus little risk, is lethal. If everyone wants to get in on the same action, then they will be willing to fight for it. This is called common sense.
The facts are such that punishment for drug dealing, has never been more lenient in the history of our great City. At the same time, the chances of a first offender going to jail for the unlawful possession of a firearm within our City are slim to none. What message does this send?
FIRST ACT IF ELECTEDIf I’m lucky enough to be elected, before I am sworn in, I will request a meeting with the Board of Judges of Common Pleas Court in Philadelphia. I will ask that they give me 6 Judges of my choosing to hear gun possession and shooting cases. I will make it clear to them that we have an epidemic of gun violence and I need my picks to hear nothing but these matters.
My picks will result in lengthy prison sentences, including 2 years for possession of a gun on a first offense, and 5 years on a second. Any shooting on the streets of Philadelphia where a bullet could even possibly hit an innocent bystander, must result in a sentence of at least 10 years on a first offense. Moreover, this new system will be manned with an elite crew of new and former Assistant District Attorneys who will handle nothing but these cases and treat every one of them like it’s their most important matter of their career.
These Assistant District Attorneys will be known as SPECIAL ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS, with more pay to go with more expertise.
Lastly, we will use our own budget to advertise these consequences, so there could be no excuse whatsoever for anyone carrying or using a gun on our streets.
We must rearrange the priorities of the District Attorney’s Office and rework the budget wherein we will have to temporarily rely on the Federal Prosecutors to handle matters such as insurance fraud, major drug investigations (please read on because this is not inconsistent with what I am saying), and other crimes that suck up so many man hours of this office.
The simple carrying of a firearm, with no legitimate purpose or license, must carry a penalty of 2 years in jail on a first offense! Every offense thereafter must be tripled. Part of the budget of the District Attorney’s Office must be used to inform the public of this penalty through inexpensive publicity. That can be achieved by news conferences where every television and radio station, blogger, columnist, and big mouth will be invited to attend. If we have to resort to paid advertising, so be it.
Plea bargaining in shootings in this great City will stop immediately. If elected, I would ask for a meeting with the Board of Judges in an effort to sit down and hammer out a deal where any gun case or shooting gets assigned to the toughest Judges in the City. This too will be advertised. If Defendants want to plead guilty before these Judges, they obviously won’t be stopped, as that is their right. However, if they are looking to make a deal, they can forget it. Unless they have tremendously valuable information and are willing to get up on the stand and testify, there will be no deals.
To man these courtrooms, we will assemble an elite team of present and former City Prosecutors, which will be the most prestigious unit in the office. A high priority will be staffing this unit with the best of the best.