Tahanie Aboushi

Democratic Candidate for Manhattan District Attorney

A civil rights attorney and a decarceration activist. She will reject large swaths of potential prosecutions. She says she plans to build schools instead of incarcerating.

“Interaction with the justice system is destabilizing.” (The Appeal)

“Prosecution is inherently harmful.” (Politizan.com)

“I will seek release for people whose sentences are too harsh.” (World Coin News) She previously released a plan in which she will review “all old sentences” that exceed that duration.

“In other words, instead of preventing crime, the harms of policing, prosecutions and mass incarceration make crime more likely.”

Qualifications/ Experience

Prosecutorial Experience

  • Aboushi has no prosecutorial experience. She has never prosecuted a case, nor has she ever worked in a prosecutor’s office in any capacity.

Managerial Experience

  • Founding partner at Aboushi Law Firm PLLC practicing civil rights law.

Top Priorities as DA

  • Shrink the Footprint of the DA’s Office: Aboushi has committed to reducing the office budget by half. She will decline as many cases as possible including charges resulting from poverty, mental illness, or substance use and instead expand Alternative to Incarceration (ATI) programs.
  • Prosecuting White Collar Crime: “Those that have brought our country to its knees, time and time again, wiping out people, retirements and life savings. Pulling people’s homes after they’ve paid their mortgages for decades. Just abusive financial crimes that we have become too comfortable with looking the other way. When our society right now is unstable because of them.”
Candidate's Standing On The Issues

Prosecution of Crime

  • Aboushi wants to pave the way to abolish prosecution by utilizing social workers, public defenders, teachers, and civil rights attorneys as members of her team. (Source: 5bd.org)
  • Aboushi is not planning to prosecute “cases of social inequities,” including ones caused by mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness, which should be addressed by public health and community-based organizations. Aboushi plans to fully decriminalize sex work. (Source: Law 360)
  • If elected, she will decline to prosecute nearly four dozen offenses and will offer an alternative-to-incarceration program “in every case” with “no exceptions,” including murder, rape and gunpoint robbery. “We need to stop equating incarceration with accountability.” (Source: Wall Street Journal)
  • Aboushi said she doesn’t believe overpolicing and overprosecution are a solution to crimes, including those driven by hate or bias. Enhancing sentences for hate crime perpetrators doesn’t make victims feel safer. (Source: Law 360)
  • She wants to prioritize the prosecution of certain crimes she believes have been underprosecuted, such as white collar crimes, wage theft, housing violations, sex crimes, and abuses against immigrant communities. (Source: 5bd.org)

Public Safety

  • Under her Arrest Review Unit, cases involving people without significant criminal histories or don’t impact public safety and don’t seem to warrant prosecution, will be dismissed as soon as possible without conditions. (Source: tahanieforda.com)

On Guns

  • On gun violence, Aboushi said she will focus on prevention programs led by the community, relying on credible messengers and gun buyback programs. “There’s a difference between gun possession versus a weapon that has been discharged, or one that results in injuries to another person.” “We have to take these things on a case-by-case basis, understanding where the guns came from and why people feel the need to possess them.” (Source: Law 360)

On Recidivism

  • “I will offer to adjourn as many cases as possible in contemplation of dismissal, recognizing both that one mistake should not define a person’s life, and that repeated incidents are best helped with targeted programming, not a revolving door in and out of Rikers. In every other case, I will offer alternatives to incarceration that have been proven to address harm and reduce recidivism.” (Source: tahanieforda.com)

On the role of NYPD

  • Aboushi has called for a 50% reduction to the NYPD budget. (Source: 5bd.org)
  • She plans to drastically change the close working relationship that currently exists between the Manhattan DA’s office and the NYPD, citing her work suing the NYPD as a civil rights attorney as proof of her commitment. She believes her office can serve as a watchdog over the police. (Source: 5bd.org)
  • “Truly meaningful changes to policing must be done through community-based processes, in conjunction with comprehensive divestment from policing and investment in communities, as well as through elected civilian review with teeth.” (Source: CityLimits.org)

Mental Illness & Crime

  • She is not planning to prosecute “cases of social inequities,” including ones caused by mental illness, substance abuse and homelessness, which she believes should be addressed by public health and community-based organizations. (Source: Law 360)

About Tahanie Aboushi

Born and raised in New York City to Muslim Palestinian immigrants, Aboushi is an activist and a civil rights attorney at the Aboushi Law Firm PLLC in New York. She previously served on the board of directors for the New York Civil Liberties Union.

When she was 14 years old, Aboushi saw her father being convicted and sentenced to 22 years in prison, leaving her mother to care for 10 children. Her personal experience drove her into law, she said.

In 2017, Aboushi co-led a legal team at John F. Kennedy International Airport, where she helped secure the release of people detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol following Trump’s enactment of a travel ban on citizens from predominantly Muslim countries.

November 24, 2020

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

January 6, 2021

How Manhattan’s Next DA Might Handle Lying Cops and Bad Prosecutors

February 5, 2021

Manhattan D.A. Candidate Explains Why She’ll Stop Prosecuting Drug Offenses And Sex Work

February 10, 2021

Tlaib backing left-wing DA candidate who wants 20-year sentence cap, says prosecution 'inherently harmful'

February 15, 2021

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

April 2, 2021

Where The Manhattan DA Candidates Stand On Reform

April 5, 2021

Tahanie Aboushi Altering Lives Through “Justice for All”

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