Commentary

Harris' Controversial Record as a Prosecutor Proves She's No Centrist

Combined Shape

Sen. Kamala Harris has been lauded as a solid centrist choice for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, with many pointing to her time as a district attorney and California’s attorney general as proof.

But a review of that record reveals she made some extremely controversial decisions, including refusing to seek the death penalty for a cop killer, failing to prosecute Catholic priests who were accused of engaging in molestation, and going out of her way to prosecute undercover citizen journalist David Daleiden for exposing Planned Parenthood’s alleged sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

Mark Pulliam, writing for City Journal, chronicled that Harris’ rise to political power was first fostered by former California Assembly speaker and later San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

The two dated in the 1990s, when she was in her late 20s and Brown was in his 60s and married.

After they split, Brown remained her benefactor, helping Harris to get elected as San Francisco’s district attorney in 2003.

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Shortly into her tenure, Harris chose not to seek the death penalty against gang member David Hill, who on Easter weekend in 2004 ambushed and killed 29-year-old San Francisco police officer Isaac Espinoza and shot and wounded his partner.

Her announcement came just three days after Espinoza’s murder, before the officer was even buried.

“In the city and county of San Francisco, anyone who murders a police officer engaged in his or her duties will be met with the most severe consequences,” she told reporters at the time, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The most severe consequence would have been the death penalty, which prosecutors had sought in nearly every one of the 90 cases when a police officer had been killed since 1987, the Chronicle determined.

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who previously had served as San Francisco’s mayor, announced she would not have endorsed Harris for district attorney had she known the prosecutor would make such a decision.

“This is not only the definition of tragedy, it’s the special circumstance called for by the death penalty law,” Feinstein said.

Harris stood by her decision during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last year after she announced her presidential bid.

“I did what I believed was the right thing to do,” Harris said. “And the killer of that officer will be in prison for the rest of his life.”

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The senator said she opposes the death penalty because she believes it has been disproportionately applied to poor African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans and it is not a strong deterrent to people committing murder.

While she faced heavy criticism for not seeking the death penalty in the Espinoza murder case, Harris’ failure to prosecute Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse has also been faulted.

“She did nothing,” Joey Piscitelli, Northern California spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told The Associated Press last year.

“Piscitelli says Harris never responded to him when he wrote to tell her that a priest who had molested him was still in ministry at a local Catholic cathedral,” the AP reported. “And, he says, she didn’t reply five years later when he wrote again, urging her to release records on accused clergy to help other alleged victims who were filing lawsuits.”

Rick Simons — a court-appointed lawyer coordinating the clergy abuse cases filed in Northern California — told the news outlet, “Of all the DAs in the Bay Area, she’s the only one who wouldn’t cooperate with us.”

The AP noted that Catholics make up a large voting block in San Francisco.

“There’s a potential political risk if you move aggressively against the church,” said Michael Meadows, a Bay Area attorney who has represented clergy abuse victims. “I just don’t think she was willing to take it.”

The AP reported that the Harris presidential campaign, responding to the controversy, held up her record as a “staunch advocate on behalf of sexual assault victims” but did not address her silence regarding those who said they were abused by Catholic clerics.

Finally, although Harris was not tough on crime in situations when she should have been as district attorney, while serving as attorney general she went beyond the pale in targeting Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleiden, whose undercover videos exposed atrocious wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood regarding the sale of aborted babies’ body parts.

In March 2016, while running for the U.S. Senate, Harris’ AG office launched a criminal investigation against not Planned Parenthood but Daleiden, for allegedly illegally recording the people in his videos, and conducted a raid of his home the following month, The Federalist reported.

Harris met with six Planned Parenthood executives in March 2016 at the Los Angeles attorney general’s office.

“An email outlining action items from the meeting shows that they discussed both Planned Parenthood’s political agenda in the state of California and her investigation into Daleiden and the Center for Medical Progress. Two of the six executives in that meeting were used as witnesses in Harris’ criminal investigation,” The Federalist reported.

“California video recording law does not prohibit anybody from recording conversations in a public area that anybody can oversee. The law also explicitly permits recording, even a private conversation, if it is being done in order to gather evidence of a violent crime,” the news outlet said.

Fox News reported a San Francisco Superior Court judge in fact dismissed five of the 15 felony charges brought against Daleiden in December before the case even goes to trial.

“The Court finds that based on the specific factual findings as to each of these counts that there is an absence of probable cause to establish that these conversations were ‘confidential communications’ as defined by the statute,” Judge Christopher C. Hite wrote in his opinion.

Daleiden responded to the ruling, saying, “Former California Attorney General Kamala Harris concocted this bogus, biased prosecution with her Planned Parenthood backers against undercover video reporting, and now their case is falling apart as the facts about Planned Parenthood’s criminal organ trafficking are revealed in the courtroom.”

In May, Daleiden filed a lawsuit against Harris and current California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for violating his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

One thing is clear from these three examples:

Harris is not a centrist, she is a radical leftist, whose main goal is not upholding the rule of law but advancing her political agenda and interests.

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Randy DeSoto has written more than 1,000 articles for The Western Journal since he joined the company in 2015. He is a graduate of West Point and Regent University School of Law. He is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths" and screenwriter of the political documentary "I Want Your Money."
Randy DeSoto is the senior staff writer for The Western Journal. He wrote and was the assistant producer of the documentary film "I Want Your Money" about the perils of Big Government, comparing the presidencies of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. Randy is the author of the book "We Hold These Truths," which addresses how leaders have appealed to beliefs found in the Declaration of Independence at defining moments in our nation's history. He has been published in several political sites and newspapers.

Randy graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point with a BS in political science and Regent University School of Law with a juris doctorate.
Birthplace
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated dean's list from West Point
Education
United States Military Academy at West Point, Regent University School of Law
Books Written
We Hold These Truths
Professional Memberships
Virginia and Pennsylvania state bars
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Entertainment, Faith




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