Violent criminals are being given a “slap on the wrist” and released back onto the streets in eight cities across America, says author Charles “Cully” Stimson.
Between the “defund the police” movement and the election of “[George] Soros’ bought-and-paid-for rogue prosecutors, crime exploded,” says Stimson, co-author of the new book “Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are Destroying America’s Communities.”
The term “rogue prosecutor” refers to “those who are funded by, or inspired and supported by, the George Soros network,” says Stimson, who is a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Stimson’s co-author, Zack Smith, is also a legal fellow there. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
Soros is a left-wing billionaire who has used his vast wealth to further the Left’s agenda, including spending “$40 million in [district attorney] races,” Stimson says, adding that in cities where these “rogue prosecutors” have been elected with Soros money, crime has spiked.
As an example, Stimson compares two cities, “San Diego and Philadelphia, tied as the seventh-largest cities in the United States.”
“The difference between a real prosecutor in San Diego with [District Attorney] Summer Stephan and a rogue prosecutor like Larry Krasner [in Philadelphia] absolutely impacts your public safety privilege. And both big cities [have] gangs. San Diego [is] right on the border by Tijuana, Mexico. … Philly’s on [Interstate] 95; so, the corridor between Baltimore and New York City. Big highways. Last year … Philadelphia [had] over 550 murders. San Diego, guess how many? Fifty—10 times less.”
Stimson joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to explain the spiking crime trend in cities with rogue prosecutors at the helm and to share stories of the lives of people who have been tragically affected by criminals being released back onto the streets.
Listen to the podcast below or read the lightly edited transcript:
Virginia Allen: We’re joined today by Cully Stimson. Cully is the deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center at The Heritage Foundation, where he also serves as manager of the National Security Law Program and a senior legal fellow. And Cully is the co-author of the brand new book “Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are Destroying America’s Communities.”
Cully, thanks for being with us and congratulations on the new book.
Cully Stimson: Well, it’s always a pleasure to be with you and thanks. It was a labor of love.
Allen: Well, it’s impressive and it’s a sobering book to read. I think as we dive in here, the first question we have to answer is, what is a rogue prosecutor?
Stimson: We had to decide that question ourselves because we’ve been writing about these so-called progressive prosecutors for almost three years before a publisher approached us to write a book. And the way we’ve defined it, Virginia, is it can’t just be any one of the 2,300 elected district attorneys across the country who we tend to disagree with.
Stimson: It has to be a specific type of prosecutor. And we defined it down to solely those who are funded by or inspired and supported by the George Soros network.
And so George Soros has spent on direct expenditures $40 million in DA races. That doesn’t sound like a lot of money in politics, but when you understand that most of these races are low visibility and very low dollar, a hundred thousand dollars goes a long way in a DA’s race when the average DA race has $10,000 put to it.
Allen: And for those who aren’t familiar with who George Soros is, give us a brief bio on him.
Stimson: George Soros, he’s 92 years old now. He’s been involved in liberal causes for years. He was born in another country overseas. He came here. He’s done a number of things which many people found to be destructive policy-wise. For example, he shorted the pound in the early ’90s when the pound was on the fall. And of course, he pocketed almost a billion dollars in that. And he’s the No. 1 contributor to Democrats and Democratic candidates around the country and has been for decades.
Allen: So this book, in some ways, it’s hard to read because of the number of just gut-wrenching stories that you’ve told of victims and you’ve really given voice in such a powerful way to these victims in sharing their stories. Share with us a couple of these stories that you-all have investigated. What is going on in these cities with these rogue prosecutors?
Stimson: Yeah, we have hundreds of stories in our book. Some of them have been told for the first time in our book because people reached out to us from across the country and gave us these stories.
Zack [Smith] and I were both prosecutors. I was a defense attorney and a judge. And so we’ve sat with victims for years, advocating for them and for justice. And so we thought it was important to tell the story through the victim.
So this is not a boring white paper that’s turned into a book. This is a real crime novel that also has some of the policies that drove these people and allowed them to commit crime.
We have eight chapters on eight specific rogue prosecutors. One of the chapters is on Marilyn Mosby, who, fortunately, was voted out of office in the primary here recently in the city of Baltimore where she was the chief prosecutor.
And the story we tell, and that we’ve done a short movie on with the help of our colleagues, is about a fantastic loyal, African-American officer named a Deputy Glenn Hilliard. And he was in the Wicomico County that’s in the eastern shore of Maryland Sheriff’s Department. He was married to Tashica. They have three beautiful children.
There was a career criminal named Austin Davidson. And Austin Davidson had over two dozen contacts with law enforcement before he was 20 years old. He was convicted of armed robbery with a handgun of a convenience store in the city of Baltimore under the leadership of Marilyn Mosby. And that is usually a five-year mandatory minimum.
She and her office argues for probation before judgment. In other words, a slap on the wrist, no jail time, walk out the back of the courthouse sentence. The judge typically follows what the prosecutor wants, says, “OK,” gives him probation before judgment, puts him on probation. In other words, you can’t violate the law again while you’re on probation.
Allen: So he doesn’t go to jail after having robbed this convenience store with a gun?
Stimson: Nothing. With a loaded handgun. And when the police asks him, “Why did you do that?” he said, “Because I could.” That’s a quote from him.
So he goes out the back of the courthouse door and then he commits four more felonies in three separate counties in Maryland over the next year.
Each time he commits one of these crimes, they notify the city of Baltimore and Marilyn Mosby’s office. But because she has this reform racial justice woke mentality that these rogue prosecutors have, which are all pro-criminal and anti-victim, she doesn’t direct her lawyers to violate his probation. In other words, yank him back in and have the judge sentence him to real time. So he’s just on the land committing more and more crimes.
Well, somebody spots him in a rural area of Wicomico County on a Sunday, and Tashica and Glenn Hilliard had just come back from church. Her father’s the pastor where they go to church. And she told him, “I have a weird feeling right now. I don’t think you should go to work today,” and he’s like, “Oh, maybe it’s something you ate,” or, “Just relax and everything’s going to be fine.”
He goes off to work, and with his partner, he gets the APB, all-points bulletin, that this Austin Davidson is out in their community. They approach Mr. Davidson, who sees the police officers, runs in the opposite direction, but as he does so, he stops for a second, turns around, and shoots and kills Glenn Hilliard, a father of three.
Now, it doesn’t matter really in the criminal justice system who’s black and white because everyone should be treated fairly. But the only reason I mentioned that Austin Davidson is white is because most of the victims in this failed social experiment are black. And they typically aren’t police officers themselves, although numbers have been killed by these career criminals who should have been in prison, just like Austin Davidson.
The average person who’s killed as a result of these career criminals, who these rogue prosecutors don’t put in jail, are black and brown minorities in the inner city, over 80% to 90% in most cities, and 90% of those are men.
Allen: How common is this story? Because I think people could say, “Well, you can pull out extreme stories from anywhere to make an argument.” How often is this happening, this kind of scenario?
Stimson: Every day. Every single day. It started in 2016, actually, in the fall of 2015 when an employee of George Soros and an employee of the ACLU, Chloe Cockburn, and another young lady got together and they decided to unseat three pro-death penalty elected district attorneys in the South, because in their mind the death penalty is immoral, illegal.
Of course it’s not. The Supreme Court has held that it’s perfectly legal. It’s mentioned in the Constitution three different times.
And they got a million dollars from Soros. They set up a political action committee, a PAC, usually you see them called Safety and Justice, and then fill in the name of the state. And they recruited and placed three candidates into office, and they won. And then they decided to go national. So instead of just going after off of pro-death penalty DAs, they would go after DAs who just enforced the law.
And so the first person they went after was a minority female, Anita Alvarez, a Democrat who was the first elected DA in Chicago, and she’s a Latina. But because she did not bend the knee to [Black Lives Matter] and because she did not prosecute an officer who did have an illegal shoot of a young black man named Laquan McDonald, they primaried Anita Alvarez with a lady named Kim Foxx. And Kim Foxx won the primary. And in Chicago, if you win the Democratic primary, you’re going to win the race. And so she was installed into office.
And as soon as they saw the game plan, set up a million dollars, put it into a PAC, which is what they did, they divided into two PACs in the state of Illinois, all of which went to Kim Foxx. Then they went national. So now there are over 72 Soros-bought-and-paid for rogue prosecutors around the country in major cities.
And the eight major cities that we feature, Virginia, are San Francisco, Chesa Boudin; George Gascon in [Los Angeles], which is a magnificent chapter because we have so many stories and so many internal emails from that office and policies that you won’t find anywhere else. Boston with Rachael Rollins, who just resigned in disgrace as the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts because of her unethical behavior. Alvin Bragg. People will be very interested in Alvin Bragg. It’s not a surprise when you read our chapter that he engaged in political overreach by charging a former president.
Then you have Larry Krasner, who’s probably the most evil and slimy of these rogue prosecutors. He got over a million dollars of Soros money when he ran in 2018, and murders doubled in that city immediately. It became the carjacking capital of the United States. And then, of course, Baltimore.
And the one I failed to mention, also she resigned in disgrace, and that’s Kim Gardner in St. Louis, for her unethical lapses and her poor judgment. She was totally unqualified to be the DA in the first place. And so this did not need to happen.
That’s the interesting thing about it. I mean, there’s 18,000 police departments. There’s 2,300 elected DA offices around the country in 3,143 counties. A lot of DAs are the prosecutor in several counties because they’re very sparsely populated.
Our crime spike crime has been going down, Virginia, in our country. Since the last spike in 1992, it’s been going down dramatically. Why? Because people like me who have worked in drug court and domestic violence court and all these other things at the state level realize we can’t prosecute our way and we can’t incarcerate our way out of this crime tsunami, which happened in the ’60s and ’70s and late ’80s.
And so we created hundreds of alternatives in incarceration. We created drug courts and domestic violence courts and family justice centers and veterans courts, peer and teen courts for high schoolers to understand the criminal justice system. And that drove down crime and states passed a lot of laws that put the worst of the worst in prison for long periods of time.
When you combine all of that, that drove the crime rate down and also it drove the incarceration rate down because that started going down dramatically since 2008.
We don’t have a mass incarceration problem in our country. In fact, we have an under-incarceration problem in our country, unfortunately. Half of murderers get away with it. Ninety-five percent of rapists and thieves and aggravated assaulters get away with it. So if you think a murderer should go to prison, and I think most normal people do, and a rapist should go to prison, and I do, then 95% of those people get away with it.
So yeah, we have a higher incarceration rate than other countries, but we also have more violent crime than most countries.
Allen: So what is the trend that we’re seeing now? We were on that steady, steady, steady decline. Now are we seeing a spike back up?
Stimson: When you have that toxic trio, Virginia, of defund the police or demoralize the police, and the election of a Soros-bought-and-paid-for rogue prosecutor, crime exploded. And don’t buy the myth that this all came about because of COVID and lockdowns, it preceded 2020.
The really interesting thing is, when you compare apples to apples, like the city, like San Diego and Philadelphia both tied as the seventh-largest cities in the United States, the difference between a real prosecutor in San Diego with Summer Stephan and a rogue prosecutor like Larry Krasner absolutely impacts your public safety privilege.
And both big cities, gangs. San Diego’s right on the border by Tijuana, Mexico. Drugs. Philly’s on 95. So the corridor between Baltimore and New York City. So you, got a lot of pressures there, right?
Stimson: Big highways. Last year in Philadelphia, over 550 murders. San Diego, guess how many? Fifty. Ten times less,10 times fewer murders.
And when the George Floyd murder took place and all these race-based riots started happening around the country, crime didn’t spike in San Diego. There weren’t stores looted, there weren’t protests out there. Crime didn’t go up. Residential burglary, commercial burglary, car thefts remained steady or went down in San Diego since 2015. Yet in those other cities that we talk about in our book, they all exploded.
They’re trying to pretend their policies have nothing to do with the crime spike, but this is why the sheriffs are talking out against them. This is why the chiefs of police are speaking out against them. This is why even the liberal city councils now are starting to question … these policies.
And you know who’s really driving this narrative? The victims, minority victim groups. You see liberal leftists in San Francisco recall Chesa Boudin. Five percent of people in San Francisco are registered Republicans, so this wasn’t a Republican coup.
George Gascon in LA, two recall attempts, over 750,000 signatures. Democrats. Minority victims groups.
Rachael Rollins stepped on her own sword because of her lack of character and her immorality. When she was put into office, Virginia, listed 15 crimes on her website that you can commit in Boston, including possession with an attempt to distribute any drug. We have a fentanyl crisis. Breaking and entering the dwelling house of another as long as you want to get out of the cold or something like that. All traffic offenses are no problem.
And in all of these cities, to these rogue prosecutors, here’s the driving force behind this movement—two things. One, they believe the entire criminal justice system is racist. It’s obviously not. There is no system. There are systems all around the country. They’re not. And secondly, they think that the way to fix that is to reverse-engineer and dismantle the system as you know it. That is their words, not ours.
And how do you do that? We have an adversarial criminal justice system. You have a prosecutor who’s ethical and hard charging against a defense attorney who’s ethical and hard charging. I’ve been both. But you need both to get to the truth, and you have to force the government to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt in front of a jury, in front of a judge, a neutral, detached judge who calls balls and strikes. They don’t like that.
So because, to them, prisons are the new plantation—those are their words, not mine. It’s a form of slavery. Their words, not mine. You get rid of the prosecutor and you put in a pro-criminal, anti-victim zealot so you don’t send more people to the plantation. And so their policies, among others, are don’t prosecute any misdemeanors, literally.
Allen: What kind of message does this send to police?
Stimson: Well, what do you think? “Don’t come to work. Don’t arrest people.” Because here’s the ingenious and devilish aspect of this movement—and I got to give them credit where credit’s due. They realized that it’s not the cop, it’s not the sheriff, it’s not the mayor, it’s not city council, and it’s certainly not the governor who’s the gatekeeper to the criminal justice system. It’s the DA. She and she alone can decide who is prosecuted and who is not prosecuted. And so they just waive their regal wand.
Once they’re parachuted into office with all that Soros money, they don’t prosecute any misdemeanors. They water down most felonies to misdemeanors. They don’t add sentencing and enhancements.
You know how you hear the Left talking about, “Oh, it’s the guns. We got to get rid of the guns”? Really? Because in those cities, when people are caught committing felonies and they have a gun, they don’t charge them with the gun enhancement.
So it’s not about the guns, because guns don’t jump off of tables and kill people. People kill people and they use hammers and knives and all sorts of other stuff, and yes, handguns.
They don’t send any juveniles, especially really vicious, violent juveniles, to adult court. Nothing. They don’t allow the death penalty to take place even though it’s authorized in that state. They won’t ask for life without parole for even the most heinous of heinous. They won’t ask for three strikes or one strike.
In LA, under George Gascon’s directives, biggest DA’s office in the country, a thousand lawyers—imagine that, a thousand lawyers in the DA’s office—he won’t let his lawyers attend parole hearings where a convicted murderer is up for parole.
So those victims’ families have to go to that hearing all by themselves. They don’t know the legal system. And they have to make an argument, a legal argument, of why that person should stay in prison because Gascon thinks it’s an abuse of his resources, when in fact it’s his duty to represent victims.
Allen: So these lawyers that serve under these DAs, they’re pretty much told what they can and can’t do. It sounds like sometimes their hands are tied. Even if they want to be on the front lines of holding criminals accountable, it doesn’t sound like they get to really decide. It’s, what the DA says goes.
Stimson: Right. Well, what most people don’t realize is that in most DA offices around the country, the deputy DAs are at-will employees.
So what you’ve seen, and we chronicle in our book because we have emails and we have internal documents from all these other offices, these DAs come in and they just fire the law-and-order DAs. Like Larry Krasner comes in, the day he’s elected and the day he gets sworn into office, he fired 31 of the most career top-notch homicide and violent crimes prosecutors.
You know what he called them in an email to Rachael Rollins? Ticks. He said, “My advice to you, Rachael, was fire more ticks early.”
But in some offices, like in the Los Angeles County DA’s Office, they’re civil service protected. And so they can’t be fired willy-nilly or at whim. And so that DA’s association, which is the union that represents the DAs, has sued George Gascon for putting them between a rock and a really hard place.
Like they say in their motions, “How can we comply with the law where California state law says we must add this sentencing enhancement for a person who is a felon in possession of a handgun when he commits a violent crime when you have a directive from your boss saying you can’t add enhancements?”
And so that litigation is ongoing. They’ve won some of their cases so far, but the typical knee-jerk reaction for these rogue prosecutors is to either “fire the ticks” or real law-and-order people who went to a DA’s office to be a prosecutor, they leave. Because just like the police’s morale is just in the tank, they’re having a hard time retaining and recruiting people because why would you arrest anybody if you know the gatekeeper to the criminal justice is not even going to charge them?
So you see, the police force here in D.C. is down 600 officers. New York, a thousand officers. San Francisco, several hundred officers. LA, over a thousand, 2,000 officers. So public safety goes down. And who does that hurt the most? The people in the vulnerable communities. Who, by the way, want more police in their neighborhoods. They don’t want fewer police in their neighborhoods. They want police who look like them, police who they trust, and police who they can rely on, but they don’t want fewer.
So this “defund the police movement” is run by people who don’t live in those neighborhoods, who have no clue, and in fact, are at odds with the real needs of the community in those vulnerable communities.
Allen: The book is “Rogue Prosecutors: How Radical Soros Lawyers Are destroying America’s Communities.” If you or your friends are passionate about justice, if you like true crime, you’re really going to enjoy this book, as gut-wrenching as it is, it’s powerful.
And Cully, we really appreciate your work, the work of Zack Smith, as you-all have taken great pains to describe in detail what is happening in these eight cities across America. Thank you.
Stimson: Well, thanks for having me. I love your show and you do a great job.
Allen: Thank you.
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