Democrat Julie Gunnigle, a candidate for Maricopa County, Arizona, county attorney attempted to walk back previous support of progressive district attorneys across the country in a recent interview on Oct. 16.
“Some of the things you’ve talked about—and this is going to be your critics are going to ask this—that you’ve talked about have been tried in Philly, San Francisco, Baltimore, Chicago, L.A. These are cities where crime rates are soaring. People are afraid. They’re worried. They don’t like what they’re seeing. Can you assure the voters that you’re not trying to take Phoenix down that road?” Fox 10 Phoenix anchor John Hook asked Gunnigle.
The Democrat said that “none of those places and none of those cities” have similar proposals to her when it comes to incarceration rates.
“Sure. So, first, the proposals that I’m putting forward—which each and every one are based on the best evidence that we have, things that will actually reduce harm in the community and save us money—are supported by conservatives and left-leaning folks alike. The only people who aren’t supportive of them are the people who are getting rich off our current largely privatized prison system. But, to just talk geography, the programs that I’m proposing in particular that take us down to being just the center of the nation average for once when it comes to incarceration are none of those places and none of those cities. It’s the state of Utah. Those are the proposals that we’re talking about,” Gunnigle replied.
However, it’s true that Gunnigle has praised district attorney’s in areas with high crime, like Philidelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner and Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez on issues such as drug policy, according to interviews reviewed by RedState.
“And I don’t believe that pushing a policy of decriminalization of all drugs in Maricopa County is evidence-based. No other jurisdiction in the country—even those who’ve elected so-called progressive prosecutors like Larry Krasner and Eric Gonzalez—are pursuing total drug decriminalization like we just heard as a long-term solution for the war on drugs,” she said at a forum in May 2020. “Instead, they’re pursuing the same sorts of solutions that I am—specialty courts, diversion, treatment—because they know that they work and that they break the cycle of addiction.”
She doubled down on her support of Gonzalez and Krasner a few months later in September 2020, when she was also up for the job.
“What we’ve seen nationwide is: When you get a reformer into this office, like an Eric Gonzalez or Larry Krasner, like, what you can see is immediate Day One change. Because our criminal justice system is a result of intentional choices … I think, if we can get someone in this office who’s equality-minded, we can have real change,” Gunnigle said in an interview with “Pod Save the People.”
On Wednesday, Pennsylvania state House Republicans filed articles of impeachment against Krasner, as they believe that he has not adequately handled crime in the city, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
In addition, Gunnigle has said her proposals with plea offers are more progressive than California district attorneys in her views, particularly when it comes to transparency with people facing charges and their plea offers.
“So, one of the biggest things that we can do as a reform-minded county attorney is being transparent with the plea offers and making sure that people are not charged with charges that are so stacked against them and then they’re threatened with a trial tax if they test the government’s proof. I think that’s the greatest thing that we can do and then making that data available to the public,” she said in an interview with the podcast “Between the Liars” in July.
“So, it’s not just, ‘Hey, I’m Julie. You should trust me.’ It’s, ‘Hey, I want to earn your trust,’ and you can actually see in real-time what your criminal legal system is doing and how we’re handling these cases. Not a single DA in the country does that, by the way. Not a single one. Even your reform-minded California DAs,” Gunnigle added.
In California, there was a petition to get Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon recalled, and a successful ouster by voters of San Fransico District Attorney Chesa Boudin in June.
While there may be some policies that the Democrat supports from progressive processors supports and others that she does not, her current and past remarks are leaving an unclear picture about who she would be modeling after if elected, if anybody.