Can We Talk about Harris's Role as a Prosecutor?
In the Democratic primaries, Kamala Harris's often harsh approach as a prosecutor was regarded as a strike against her. Now that she is Biden's running mate, and Trump is so thoroughly hated (by all but his supporters), will it be possible to criticize her record as a prosecutor?
See, for instance, this article by law professor Lara Bazelon, of the University of San Francisco School of Law, before that, she was the director of the Loyola Law School Project for the Innocent in Los Angeles,
In 2015, when called upon by the Legislative Black Caucus to support bills that would have mandated that all police officers wear body worn cameras and that the Attorney General’s office investigate lethal officer-involved shootings, she declined. She championed a law that went after the parents of chronically truant children, laughed when asked if marijuana should be legal, and supported a system that locks up people who are too poor to post exorbitant money bail. These policies were part and parcel of a system of mass incarceration that has deeply harmed poor people and communities of color.
An article in the Intercept which is generally critical of her record as a prosecutor acknowledges that she could redeem herself:
The more deft among the candidates — and we’ll see if Harris is among them — will figure out how to distance themselves from their records with sincere apologies and, even better, actions that manifest a commitment to change. Not everyone will successfully rehabilitate themselves. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
For those who regard turning Trump out of office as the highest priority, is it necessary to ignore Harris's record as a prosecutor? Or is it better to hold her accountable with the hope that she will apologize and commit herself to change?