Ocasio-Cortez hammers away at unfair prosecutorial tactics while calling for criminal justice reform


Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) continued to prove that she will fight for equal justice for everyone, including the men and women serving prison sentences across the country, in her effort to make criminal justice reform a reality.

Clearly, the way justice is dispensed in this nation is unfair and tilts in favor of those with money and influence instead of being applied equally by police, prosecutors, and judges as the Constitution intended.

We see it every day in the way black people are treated by cops and courts versus the way white people are treated. Or in the way wealthy people are treated versus the way the poor are treated.

On Sunday, Brooklyn public defender Scott Hechinger shared the story of Marvin Mayfield, a black man whom law enforcement charged for having 1.2 grams of cocaine in his possession. The problem is that prosecutors did not provide the evidence to Hechinger’s attorney and they delayed getting a report from a drug lab to determine whether he, in fact, did have a controlled substance and how much. If he had had only a half a gram, it wouldn’t have constituted a felony, which means a much lighter sentence.

But prosecutors withheld this evidence and kept Mayfield, who could not afford bail, locked up for the next 11 months of his life until he took a plea deal to end the ordeal. But his misery did not end there. Mayfield lost his job, his apartment and his car. The situation even tore his family apart. And all because a district attorney had more interest in scoring points than he did in actually getting justice.

Here’s the video via Twitter.

Mayfield had been locked up in Rikers, a prison in Ocasio-Cortez’s district.

As a prison, many Americans would assume that lawmakers don’t represent the prisoners there, but they do. They are just as much constituents as anyone on the outside. That’s what the New York congresswoman believes, and Mayfield’s case drove her to respond because in addition to fighting to save the planet from climate change this Superwoman also fights from criminal justice reform, so she took to Twitter to explain how crooked the system is and why we need criminal justice reform to change it.

If Mayfield had been a rich white guy, he would not have spent hardly any time at all in prison. In fact, he would have called a powerful attorney, posted bail and would have worked out a nice little deal with prosecutors that would have amounted to a slap on the wrist.

And it happens all too often. But we are not supposed to have two different justice systems, one for the poor and one for the rich. This country is supposed to apply the law equally and prosecutors should be interested in justice instead of scoring points to bulk up their resumes. Criminal justice reform will change that and produce a more fair system. And we can expect Ocasio-Cortez to keep fighting for it as long as we make sure she stays in public office.

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