March 11, 2021 |
Eleven years ago, I asked you to help return me to this extraordinary office where I began my legal career – a place where hundreds of the nation’s best attorneys, supported by an exceptional professional staff of hundreds more, work every day to deliver justice, keep us safe, and leave behind a fairer system than the one we inherited.
But I set out on this journey knowing this wouldn’t be my “forever job” or even my last job. While serving the People of New York is undoubtedly the best job and greatest honor I’ll ever have, I have always believed that change is fundamentally necessary for any institution.
Now, having secured our vision for a Manhattan D.A’s Office that invests in our communities, reforms the justice system, and takes on 21st century threats, it is time to begin a new chapter in my life and open the pathway for new leadership in the Office. That is why I’m writing to let you know that I will not seek reelection as District Attorney for the term beginning in January 2022.
This is not an easy announcement to make. I love this Office, and my incredible colleagues who have made it the powerful and unwavering force for justice that it is today. I love the community we serve. I love the work we are doing right now to uplift our neighbors, balance the justice system, and advance racial equity during this uniquely challenging, watershed moment in our City and country’s history. I ran for this job grounded in the belief that a District Attorney’s responsibilities extend far beyond obtaining convictions in court, and that a 21st century prosecutor’s mandate is to move our justice system and our community forward. Thanks to your support, the D.A.’s Office we have built together over the last decade has taken us even beyond the ambitious blueprint we laid out in 2010. We’ve made our neighborhoods stronger and healthier, not only through proactive prosecutions that dismantled gangs and took thousands of guns from City streets, but with catalytic investments of the millions we seized from banks to support young people and reentering New Yorkers to help prevent justice involvement and recidivism. We’ve used discretion and diversion to slash our caseload by 58% — massively reducing our criminal justice footprint and the inequities that underlie unnecessary prosecutions. And we’ve expanded the perimeter of 21st-century crimefighting in New York – having built a world-class cybercrime operation, a counterterrorism practice that has convicted international and white nationalist terrorists, and an aggressive approach to major economic crime that has yielded billions in fines and forfeitures.
In the past year alone, as an ongoing pandemic and racial justice reckoning have tested our City and our profession like never before, we secured landmark victories in Trump v. Vance and People v. Weinstein, provided crucial lifelines and credible messengers through our Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, seamlessly transitioned to a new remote practice, and guaranteed the right to peaceful protest in the crossroads of the world.
My announcement today doesn’t mean the work stops. Over the next nine months we’ll work harder than ever to support New Yorkers and their communities, and to deliver justice in court cases large and small. For me, now that I’ve tipped the hourglass over, every minute of every day left as District Attorney counts more than ever. As Muhammad Ali once said, “don’t count the days, make the days count.”
When I called on all of you eleven years ago to help me become Manhattan District Attorney, you responded with resounding support. Thank you for that unwavering support. Thank you for believing in me, and in our mission to move justice forward.