Feb. 21, 2019 Staff Report
A Queens-based advocacy group is holding a forum in Jackson Heights Monday night where the leading candidates for the office of Queens District Attorney will attend and answer questions on how they plan to serve in the position if elected.
The event comes well in advance of the Democratic primary for the position, which will be held on June 25.
The race has gained significant interest given the movement toward criminal justice reform and that Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown is stepping down after more than two decades in office.
The race is also seen as representing a turning point for the borough. Many candidates are calling for reform– such as ending cash bail; placing a greater focus on rehabilitation as opposed to hard time; and not prosecuting low-level offenses.
Many of the candidates also want Rikers Island to close and be replaced by borough-based jails.
The Queens District Attorney Forum is being hosted by the Queens United Independent Progressives, a grassroots organization that emerged from the Ocasio-Cortez 2018 Congressional campaign and the No IDC Movement.
“District Attorney Brown has been the head of Queens’ biggest and most consequential law firm since 1991,” said Ingrid Gomez, interim co-chair of Queens United Independent Progressives. “Queens has changed dramatically in those 30 years and now more than ever people are calling for progressive change in our criminal justice system.”
The event will be moderated by Christian Murray, publisher of the Queens Post, a news organization that consists of eight local sites including the Jackson Heights Post.
The candidates who have confirmed their attendance include Melinda Katz, Rory Lancman, Tiffany Caban, Mina Malik and Jose Nieves. The group is waiting to hear back from Gregory Lasak and Betty Lugo.
The event will address topics such as the movement toward ending cash bail, closing Rikers Island, decarceration programs, protecting defendants from ICE, open discovery laws and policies to reduce recidivism.
Date: Feb. 25, 2019
Time: 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Location: 37-62 89th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (one block from the 90th Street/Elmhurst Ave. subway station)
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