Melinda Katz

Melinda Katz is a lifelong Queens resident and the current Queens Borough President. Katz has extensive political experience as a member of the New York State Assembly and New York City Council. Katz has committed to end the prosecution of most marijuana offenses. However, she will continue to prosecute low level arrests that target communities color, such as turnstile jumping and minor driving offenses. Katz’s biggest departure from the current DA’s office is her commitment to turn over evidence to defendants as soon as possible and to end the Queens Waiver Policy.

Katz has no criminal courtroom experience. She describes losing her mother to a drunk driver as one of the reasons she’s running for DA. Her history as a politician reveals a pro-incarceration mentality, tending to address problems by increasing penalties and creating crimes. More recently, as Borough President, Katz has promoted sealing closed cases, clearing summons warrants and protecting immigrant communities. Katz’s platform promises moderate changes from the current DA office.


Ending Broken Windows

Will decline to prosecute marijuana possession otherwise will continue charging many broken windows offenses.

Ending Cash Bail

Won’t ask for cash bail on misdemeanors, but will still seek bail for felonies.

Community Accountability

Pledges to release all data, require implicit bias trainings, and hire a diverse staff with regular town halls, but provides few details on how to do so. Will continue to hire prosecutors with family in Queens Judiciary. Will join the DAASNY.

Access to Evidence

Will end the Queens Waiver Policy and provide defendants with all discovery in their cases as soon as possible.

Police and DA Misconduct

Pledges to establish wrongful conviction unit and ethics review unit.

Protecting Immigrants

Supports keeping ICE out of courts and immigration friendly pleas when “compatible with public safety” to prevent deportation.

Mental Health and Drug Treatment

Claims that she will prioritize rehabilitation, but has not given details on implementation, i.e., whether treatment would be accessible to those who cannot afford to pay for it.

Ending Mass Incarceration

Wants to close Rikers but wants borough-based jails. Will work with people who are on probation and parole to avoid unjust collateral consequences.

Past Record on Progressive Values

No experience in criminal law or trial work; extensive management experience as a politician. Legislative history reveals tendency to enhance penalties, create crimes, and create harmful registries. Has done work to help people clear old warrants.

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