Democratic Candidate for Manhattan District Attorney
Running as the only public defender in the race, she will prioritize the discontinuation of the prosecution of low-level offenses that are a direct result of addiction, homelessness, mental illness, poverty, or youth. She will consider indigency in determining whether to charge suspects with crimes that have fines or fees while others are not.
“Prosecutors routinely destroy people’s lives, with no accountability. They hold positions of power in organizations that rampantly violate human rights and human dignity.” (Twitter)
“The reality is that a punitive criminal legal system does not keep us safe and it never will.”
Candidate's Standing On The Issues
- “If our criminal legal system is going to continue to have a prosecutor’s office, then it’s imperative to identify concrete ways of limiting the reach of the prosecutor’s power.” Orlins pledges to decline to prosecute most misdemeanor cases altogether. (Source: Gothamist)
- Orlins proposes to shift away from what she sees as over prosecution of low-level offenses, and divert resources into preventive programs such as drug and mental treatment, and community-led alternatives to incarceration. (Source: Law 360)
- “I’ve seen how the criminal legal system is not broken, as some people say. It’s rigged,” she said. “It’s rigged in favor of those who are wealthy, well connected and powerful, and against everyone else.”
- Orlins supports the legalization of all drugs, not only marijuana. (Source: 5bd.org)
- She will advocate for the immediate closure of Rikers Island and reallocate funds to community-based resources but has not identified a specific plan for how she will address the transfer of violent criminals currently being held at the prison.
- Orlins does not believe the criminal justice system creates more safety, nor does she believe that criminal justice should not be used to solve major social and community problems. (Source: 5bd.org)
- Orlins believes punishing people who possess firearms with jail time won’t help solve the issue of gun violence. She plans on focusing on how guns are trafficked into the city, and on community-based services that help prevent escalations. (Source: Law 360)
- Orlins stance on repeat offenders is not entirely clear, but with decarceration as a central tenet of her candidacy, coupled with her statements about penalizing those with “challenging life circumstances”, it seems as though she would opt for leniency even in cases of recidivism.
- Orlins has called for a 50% reduction to the NYPD budget. (Source: 5bd.org)
- She will create a Police Accountability Unit within the District Attorney’s office, the work of which will be carefully siloed in order to remain fully independent from attorneys in the DA’s office whose work relies on police testimony. The Unit will be staffed with attorneys, investigators, and community liaisons with expertise in handling police misconduct. (Source: elizaorlins.com)
- Orlins has said “our neighbors who are suffering from mental health issues should not have to be locked up in order to receive the treatment they need” but has not provided specifics on how community-led diversion and treatment programs would work.
Eliza Orlins has been a public defender at The Legal Aid Society in Manhattan for 10 years. Her vision for the DA’s office is centered in decarceration. She supports the legalization of all drugs and the immediate closure of Rikers Island. Orlins believes that the criminal justice system should not be used to solve major social and community problems.
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What does the Mayor do?
Serves as the Chief Executive The mayor has the power to appoint and remove the commissioners of more than 40 city agencies including the police, fire, education, sanitation, health and more. The mayor also has full control over the city’s public schools.
Sets budget priorities for billions of dollars The mayor and the City Council determine how city’s money should be allocated, what departments should grow or shrink, which programs should be expanded or contracted and how big the municipal workforce should be.
Manages relationships with state and federal lawmakers The mayor serves as the city’s advocate, champion and negotiator, fostering productive relationships with state and federal lawmakers.
The mayor also proposes, enacts and vetos laws, oversees major zoning, land use and housing policy decisions and make judicial appointments.
What does the District Attorney do?
The office is responsible for the prosecution of violations of New York state laws (federal law violations in Manhattan are prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York).
A DA's duties typically include reviewing police arrest reports, deciding whether to bring criminal charges against arrested people, and prosecuting criminal cases in court. The DA may also supervise other attorneys, called Deputy District Attorneys or Assistant District Attorneys.
What does the Public Advocate do?
The public advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation.
The public advocate also serves as an an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services.
Along with the Mayor and the Comptroller, the public advocate is one of three municipal offices elected by all the city's voters. In the event of a vacancy or incapacity of the mayor, the public advocate is first in line to become mayor.
What do City Council Members do?
From Woodlawn to Coney Island, every neighborhood in New York City is part of a Council District. There are 51 of these Districts, each represented by an elected Council Member.
Council Members Introduce and vote on legislation (proposed laws) having to do with all aspects of City life; negotiate the City's budget with the Mayor and approve its adoption; monitor City agencies such as the Department of Education and the NYPD to make sure they're effectively serving New Yorkers; and review land use and making decisions about the growth and development of our city.
What makes a good Comptroller?
- Complex Managerial Experience — Leads a staff of about 800 employees across all various skill sets including accountants, attorneys, economists, engineers, IT professionals, etc.
- Sound Investment Strategy — Serves as the Chief Investment Officer who has the final say in how the City’s five public pension funds totaling approximately $250 billion in assets are invested.
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- Budgeting — Advises the City on any potential developments affecting the city’s fiscal outlook, e.g. relocation of businesses outside NYC, issuing municipal debt. Sets and enforces the prevailing wage.
Robert E. Cornegy, Jr.
What does the Borough President do?
Each Borough President advises the mayor on issues relating to their respective borough. They propose legislation, zoning changes, city-wide budget recommendations, and influence direction for land-use. Borough presidents also appoint members to the New York City Planning Commission, and members to other local boards including community boards.