Plymouth County DA Candidate Supports Do-Not Prosecute Crime List

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Should the Plymouth County district attorney’s office have a list of crimes that it refuses to prosecute?

If Rahsaan Hall wins his election this upcoming November, they may end up being the case.

Hall, 49, is the director of ACLU Massachusetts’s racial justice program. The Brockton resident is also a Democrat running for district attorney in Plymouth County against incumbent Republican Tim Cruz.

Hall supported the do-not prosecute list created by former Suffolk County district attorney Rachael Rollins.

Here are the crimes that were on Rollins’s do-not prosecute list:

  • Trespassing

  • Shoplifting (including offenses that are essentially shoplifting but charged as larceny)

  • Larceny under $250

  • Disorderly conduct

  • Disturbing the peace

  • Receiving stolen property

  • Minor driving offenses, including operating with a suspended or revoked license

  • Breaking and entering — where it is into a vacant property or where it is for the purpose of sleeping or seeking refuge from the cold and there is no actual damage to property

  • Wanton or malicious destruction of property

  • Threats – excluding domestic violence

  • Minor in possession of alcohol

  • Drug possession

  • Drug possession with intent to distribute

  • A stand alone resisting arrest charge, i.e. cases where a person is charged with resisting arrest and that is the only charge

  • A resisting arrest charge combined with only charges that all fall under the list of charges to decline to prosecute, e.g. resisting arrest charge combined only with a trespassing charge


Hall voiced his support for the do-not prosecute list in a 2019 opinion article for The Boston Globe.

Hall argued that prosecuting these crimes disproportionately harms racial minorities.

“The system churns through people who suffer from mental health issues and substance use disorder, have experienced trauma, or are living in poverty,” Hall wrote. “Racially biased policing and over-policing lead to black and Latinx people’s disproportionate representation in the system. Declining to prosecute these charges can reduce the overall number of people of color burdened by system involvement and can serve as a check on biased policing.”

“Instead of pretending that the system is fair, unbiased, and just, we must be honest about the way it disproportionately impacts people of color and poor people’s lives,” he later added. “By diverting people out of the system, we reduce the footprint of law enforcement and criminal punishment – and we increase the opportunity to invest resources in addressing the intolerable conditions that lead to people’s involvement.”

Under Rollins’s criminal justice model, there were two options for people charged with these crimes:  outright dismissal before arraignment, and treating crimes as civil infractions. In crimes pursued as civil infractions, she supported requiring people to perform community service.

Hall could not be reached for comment on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday this week.


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