Non-profit

Fair and Just Prosecution

Website:

fairandjustprosecution.org

Type:

Criminal Justice Policy Advocacy Group

Project of:

Tides Center [23]

Fair and Just Prosecution (FJP) is a group focused on organizing, training, and promoting elected prosecutors, including State’s and District Attorneys,[1] who adopt lenient, left-progressive approaches to criminal justice. It is a fiscally sponsored project of the Tides Center, a left-of-center advocacy organization created to “incubate” new activist organizations until they acquire their own tax-exempt status. [2]

FJP opposes “tough on crime” and “incarceration-driven” approaches to criminal justice in favor of alternatives to incarceration, legalization of marijuana, ending cash bail, and prescribing treatment rather than prosecution for crimes related to drugs and mental illness. [3]

Background

Fair and Just Prosecution was launched in 2017 to train and elevate left-wing elected prosecutors in order to implement lenient left-progressive approaches to criminal justice. [4] FJP accomplishes this by building a network of these prosecutors, providing them with access to experts and materials, promoting and defending their work, and providing them with third party connections and support. [5]

In addition, FJP regularly releases advocacy letters signed by many prosecutors and “criminal justice leaders.” Examples include a letter expressing opposition to the use of “the death penalty as leverage in plea bargaining,” a letter “challenging cash bail practices,” an amicus brief opposing the conditioning of federal law enforcement grants on cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, defending the Obama administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, and arguing that prosecutors should refuse to enforce laws limiting or banning abortion. [6]

FJP also offers legal and political defense to participating members, as when Orange County, Florida State’s Attorney Aramis Ayala (D) received substantial political backlash after her office announced that it would no longer seek the death penalty, including the removal of over two dozen homicide cases from her office by then-Governor Rick Scott (R-FL). FJP filed an amicus brief with the Florida Supreme Court arguing that Ayala should not be recused for this position. Ayala and FJP ultimately lost. [7]

FJP hosts Summer Fellows Program to provide summer clerkships in prosecutor’s officers for rising second-year and third-year law students. [8]

Controversies

According to an investigation by local St. Louis news station KMOV News 4, Fair and Just Prosecution had partially or fully paid for several undisclosed trips taken by St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner (D) since 2017. Gardner previously admitted that in 2017 the group had helped pay for trips she took to New York, Chicago, Seattle, and Philadelphia. However, a city form she filled out that year did not mention those previous trips but indicated she took trips to Atlanta, Cleveland, and Washington, D.C. [9]

In addition, despite having not reported any trips taken between 2018 and 2019, photos on social media showed that Gardner had traveled to Portugal, Alabama, Connecticut, and Houston during the same period. According to city law in St. Louis, all elected officials must disclose their travel history to the city along with how the travel was funded. Sources claim that these trips were “prolific and problematic” in that she would be unreachable during travel and resulted in delayed decisions on issues regarding the budget, grants, and hiring. [10]

In response to questions about trips she had taken, Gardner’s office released a statement to News 4 that read:

Circuit Attorney Gardner refuses to apologize for seeking reasonable opportunities to further her knowledge and access prosecutors from throughout the nation for best practice. The suggestion that she would be persuaded to follow an alternative that is not focused on addressing the root causes of crime for a few plane tickets and hotel rooms is insulting. [11]

In a statement to News 4, Fair and Just Prosecution did admit to paying the travel and lodging expenses during several trips for officials including Gardner as well as St. Louis county prosecutor Wesley Bell, but did not disclose how many trips for prosecutors they helped fund. [12]

Similarly, Baltimore City, Maryland State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby (D) received $30,000 from FJP in free travel and travel expenses over two years. [13]

Leadership

FJP is led by founder and executive director Miriam Krinsky. Before founding FJP, Krinksy was a federal prosecutor for 15 years in Los Angeles and Baltimore. [14] She is also currently a member of the American Law Institute’s (ALI) Sentencing Project Advisory group and the ALI Principles of Policing Advisory Group, and previously served on the Los Angeles County’s Citizens’ Commission on Jail Violence. [15]

FJP’s deputy director is Rosemary Nidiry, who was previously an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, as well as the Director of Criminal Justice at the left-of-center Laura and John Arnold Foundation where she oversaw the Foundation’s grants on policing. [16]

FJP’s advisory board includes two former Obama administration officials, a former Clinton White House official, the King County Prosecuting Attorney in Washington State, a former Washington State Supreme Court justice, and a program officer for Open Philanthropy. [17]

Financials

As a “fiscally-sponsored project” of the Tides Center, FJP does not file an independent tax return, and the Tides Center does not provide separate financial disclosure for its fiscally sponsored projects. The Tides Center does collect 9% of the annual revenue for each of its fiscally sponsored projects. [18]

However, some donor data is available. Fair and Just Prosecution received $600,000 in 2017 from the Ford Foundation-backed Fund for the City of New York. [19] In 2018, the FJP budget was over $2 million, with funders including Open Philanthropy, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and Art for Justice. [20]

FJP also received a two-year $1.5 million grant from Open Philanthropy in 2017. [21] FJP received another two-year $1.5 million grant from Open Philanthropy in 2019. [22]

References

  1. Fair and Just Prosecution, Our Work and Vision. Accessed August 03, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/our-work-and-vision/ ^
  2. [1] Fair and Just Prosection, Donate. Accessed August 03, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/donate/ ^
  3. Fair and Just Prosecution, FJP 21 Principles for the 21st Century Prosecutor. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/FJP_21Principles_Interactive-w-destinations.pdf ^
  4. Arisha Hatch and Terri Gerstein, “Re-Envisioning the Roles of Prosecutors and Attorneys General to Make the Justice System Work for Everyone,” Winter 2020, Stanford Social Innovation Review. Accessed August 03, 2020.
    https://ssir.org/articles/entry/re_envisioning_the_roles_of_prosecutors_and_attorneys_general_to_make_the_justice_system_work_for_everyone ^
  5. Fair and Just Prosecution, Our Work and Vision. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/our-work-and-vision/ ^
  6. Fair and Just Prosecution, FJP Releases. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/news/fjp-releases/ ^
  7. Ferner, Matt, “If You Want To Totally Change America’s Criminal Justice System, You Need A Plan,” Huffington Post, May 29, 2018. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fair-just-prosecution-criminal-justice-reform_n_5aff5a94e4b0463cdba1e59d
    ^
  8. Fair and Just Prosecution, 2020 FJP Summer Fellows Program. Accessed August 04, 2020. https://fairandjustprosecution.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2020-FJP-Summer-Fellows-Program.pdf ^
  9. Trager, Lauren, “St. Louis Circuit Attorney hasn’t disclosed trips as required by law, documents show,” KMOV4. July 27, 2020. https://www.kmov.com/news/st-louis-circuit-attorney-hasnt-disclosed-trips-as-required-by-law-documents-show/article_bdee8a7a-d05f-11ea-b7c3-079ff4871843.html ^
  10. Trager, Lauren, “St. Louis Circuit Attorney hasn’t disclosed trips as required by law, documents show,” KMOV4. July 27, 2020. https://www.kmov.com/news/st-louis-circuit-attorney-hasnt-disclosed-trips-as-required-by-law-documents-show/article_bdee8a7a-d05f-11ea-b7c3-079ff4871843.html ^
  11. Reynolds, Jeff. “St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, Globetrotting With Soros Organizations, Fails to Report Trips.” PJ Media. July 29, 2020. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/jeff-reynolds/2020/07/28/st-louis-circuit-attorney-kim-gardner-globetrotting-with-soros-organizations-fails-to-report-trips-n720694 ^
  12. Reynolds, Jeff. “St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, Globetrotting With Soros Organizations, Fails to Report Trips.” PJ Media. July 29, 2020. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/jeff-reynolds/2020/07/28/st-louis-circuit-attorney-kim-gardner-globetrotting-with-soros-organizations-fails-to-report-trips-n720694 ^
  13. Lepola, Joy, “The Political Ties to Travel,” Fox 5 News, July 23, 2020.
    https://foxbaltimore.com/features/operation-crime-justice/the-political-ties-to-travel ^
  14. Ferner, Matt, “If You Want To Totally Change America’s Criminal Justice System, You Need A Plan,” Huffington Post, May 29, 2018. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fair-just-prosecution-criminal-justice-reform_n_5aff5a94e4b0463cdba1e59d ^
  15. Fair and Just Prosecution, Our Team. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/our-team/ ^
  16. Fair and Just Prosecution, Our Team. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/our-team/ ^
  17. Fair and Just Prosecution, Our Advisory Board. Accessed August 6, 2020. https://fairandjustprosecution.org/our-advisory-board/ ^
  18. Tides, FAQs. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.tides.org/faqs/ ^
  19. Tides, Tides Center, 2017 Form 990. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.tides.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2017_Tides_Center_Form_990.pdf ^
  20. Ferner, Matt, “If You Want To Totally Change America’s Criminal Justice System, You Need A Plan,” Huffington Post, May 29, 2018. Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/fair-just-prosecution-criminal-justice-reform_n_5aff5a94e4b0463cdba1e59d ^
  21. Open Philanthropy, Fair and Just Prosecution – General Support (2017). Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/fair-and-just-prosecution-general-support ^
  22. Open Philanthropy, Fair and Just Prosecution – General Support (2019). Accessed August 04, 2020.
    https://www.openphilanthropy.org/focus/us-policy/criminal-justice-reform/fair-and-just-prosecution-general-support-2019 ^
  23. “Donate.” Fair and Just Prosecution. Accessed July 29, 2020. Original URL: https://fairandjustprosecution.org/about-fjp/donate/. Archived: https://www.influencewatch.org/app/uploads/2020/07/Fair-and-Just-Prosecution-Donate-Page.-Tides-Center.-07.21.20.pdf ^
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