DAGA Weekly Update – February 22
February 22, 2019
Here is what happened this week for DAGA and our Democratic Attorneys General:
RECAP: DEM AGS REJECT TRUMP’S NATIONAL EMERGENCY STUNT: On Monday, 16 Democratic AGs filed a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency to spend billions of dollars on his border wall. The lawsuit asks the federal court for a preliminary injunction to prevent Trump from acting on his emergency declaration while the case plays out in the courts. California AG Xavier Becerra noted that, “We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states.” The Democratic AGs joining California in the lawsuit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. As a reminder, Colorado AG Phil Weiser, Michigan AG Dana Nessel, and Nevada AG Aaron Ford are newly-elected Democratic AGs in states that flipped from red to blue in the 2018 Midterms.
STATE SPOTLIGHT: AG JENNINGS TAKES ON JUSTICE REFORM: This week, in a memo to her prosecutors, Delaware AG Kathy Jennings laid out her vision to reform criminal justice practices at the Delaware DOJ. Here are some of the takeaways from the memo:
- Prosecutors will focus on identifying and charging the crime that best reflects a defendant’s alleged misdeed, instead of “charge stacking.”
- For misdemeanors, the DOJ will generally avoid incarcerating defendants while they await trial
- When appropriate, prosecutors will look for alternatives to prison, such as house arrest or civil citations.
- The DOJ will avoid seeking prison sentences for technical probation violations, like curfews.
The News Journal Editorial Board praised the memo, noting that “the guidelines for Delaware prosecutors that Attorney General Kathy Jennings announced Monday are an excellent first step towards a fairer, saner criminal justice system.”
STARS! THEY ARE JUST LIKE DEM AGS: Pennsylvania AG Josh Shapiro teamed up with actress and women’s rights advocate Alyssa Milano for a NowThis video to address ways we can all work together to end sexual assault. From the #MeToo movement to the history of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, sexual assault is “not a political issue”, it’s a public safety crisis that has “been hiding in plain sight for far too long.”
OFF TO THE RACES: MISSISSIPPI: Last week Friday, Jennifer Riley Collins, the Executive Director of the Mississippi ACLU and a veteran with more than 20 years of military service, publicly declared her candidacy to be the next attorney general of Mississippi. “I will be the attorney general who serves and protects the best and legal interest of all Mississippians,” Collins said in her announcement speech. Catch more from her official announcement at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum here.