Diana Florence

Democratic Candidate for Manhattan District Attorney

She is running for Manhattan DA to fight for people who never thought they’d win. She will seek justice against rich, powerful, and often white perpetrators and stop over-criminalizing people of color, workers, and immigrants.

“Part of my vision is going after crimes of power.” (Source: Politico)

“As Manhattan DA, I will follow the facts without fear or favor, never bowing to power or acting only after public outcry.” (Source: Jewish Insider)

“I did make a mistake. When I learned of it, I took responsibility for it. Accountability is one of the most important traits.” (Source: The City)*

Note: Ms. Florence resigned as a Manhattan prosecutor in January 2020, shortly after a judge dismissed one of her high-profile corruption cases when it emerged that she hadn’t turned over evidence to defense attorneys, as the law requires. In an interview, Ms. Florence said she had “directed everything to be turned over, but a mistake was made. As soon as I learned of that, I acknowledged the mistake, I owned it, because that’s who I am.”

Qualifications/ Experience

Prosecutorial Experience

  • With over 25 years spent in the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, Florence has the most prosecutorial experience of any other DA candidate.

Managerial Experience

  • While in the Manhattan DA’s office, Florence served as the head of the Construction Fraud Task Force.

Top Priorities as DA

  • Florence said her priority will be to retool the district attorney’s office to prosecute “crimes of power.”
  • Another top item in Florence’s agenda is going after labor crimes, such as wage theft, or health and safety violations, which have been rampant during the pandemic.
  • Florence also plans to prioritize housing fraud, going after “landlords who have cheated to the tune of millions of dollars from unsuspecting rent-stabilized tenants. We have to make sure that when people incorporate fraud in their business model, that they will be held accountable.”
Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Prosecution of Crime

  • “I’m not about lists of crimes I’m not going to prosecute,” she said. “That’s the wrong way to approach the work of the district attorney.” She added, “It’s not about what you’re not going to do. It’s about what you are going to do.” (Source: Law360.com)
  • She frames her platform around pursuing “crimes of power,” and not crimes of poverty such as offenses rooted in homelessness or drug addiction. “I’m running to challenge the status quo,” she said, “and reject the system of justice that has served the wealthy and well-connected and mostly white people.” (Source: Wall Street Journal)
  • Florence’s do not prosecute list mentions social distancing violations, sex work-related crimes, loitering, and theft of services. (Source: Gothamist)

Public Safety

  • Florence will create an active DA in the neighborhood program called DANY on Your Corner where she, along with staff, will meet regularly in person and virtually with the community wherever they are: at home, at work, and on the street. With stronger relationships on the ground, the District Attorney’s Office can build partnerships and better align its priorities with community safety priorities. (Source: dianaforda.com)
  • She believes that small businesses are essential to public safety because they create the bustling sidewalk activity that keeps neighborhoods safe and vibrant. To help secure their future, Florence proposes the creation of a Small Business Community (SBC) Task Force that will serve as a direct line for small businesses to contact the Manhattan DA’s Office. (Source: dianaforda.com)

On Guns

  • To fight gun violence, Florence said she will partner with jurisdictions in other states to identify the routes through which guns make it into the city. But she will also engage in the community to work on the causes of shootings. “People don’t shoot out of nowhere,” she said. Florence plans to use forfeitures to fund violence interrupters and other community-based organizations fighting gun violence. (Source: Law360.com)
  • Florence supports legislation that would prohibit firearms for those convicted of hate crimes (S2361A/A6262). This bill would both protect our city’s diverse populations and prevent gun violence that would target vulnerable communities. (Source: dianaforda.com)

On Recidivism

  • Florence believes that people have an “amazing capacity to change” but does not support legislation to end predicate sentencing, which enhances penalties based on a person’s criminal history. (Source: 5bd.org)

On the role of NYPD

  • “The police are a necessary part of the law enforcement structure. They’re not our partners and they’re not our adversaries. We need to treat police officers as we would treat any other witness.” (Source: 5bd.org)
  • Florence plans to create a fully-resourced Police Accountability Unit which will be staffed with lawyers, analysts and community liaisons who will proactively look for criminality by partnering the Civilian Complaint Review Board. (Source: dianaforda.com)

Mental Illness & Crime

  • Florence has called for “first response teams that exclude law enforcement and that are deployable by a dedicated emergency number” and “the establishment of diversion centers where people in mental health crises can be transported instead of detention or hospital emergency rooms.” (Source: City Limits)
  • She understands that the criminal system penalizes people with a mental illness or substance use disorder, saying “We need to be recognizing once and for all that mental health is not a crime.” She will look to expand services, diversion programs, court-based treatment, and other alternatives to incarceration. (Source: 5bd.org)

About Diana Florence

Diana Florence began her career as a prosecutor 25 years ago in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, putting people first. There she fought for people who never thought they’d win, going after powerful interests and large scale corruption. She won landmark convictions against companies and individuals for defrauding 9/11 charities, terrorizing the elderly, domestic violence, wage theft, and deadly work conditions. She held powerful interests accountable by prosecuting developers and construction companies for cheating workers and taxpayers.

The career prosecutor resigned last year from the Manhattan office, where she ran the Construction Fraud Task Force, shortly after a judge ruled that she failed to turn over discovery in a high-profile corruption case. A campaign spokesperson for Ms. Florence called it “one blip on her impeccable 25-year record.”

August 2, 2020

Embattled Former Vance Deputy Joins Crowded Manhattan DA Race to Unseat Ex-Boss

September 10, 2020

DA candidate Diana Florence snags Teamsters endorsement

November 24, 2020

DA Hopeful Plans to Use Forfeiture Money to Fund Mental Health Services

February 15, 2021

Who’s Who in the Race to Be the Next Manhattan District Attorney

February 26, 2021

What Will Manhattan’s Next District Attorney Refuse To Prosecute?

April 2, 2021

Where The Manhattan DA Candidates Stand On Reform

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