Our choice in today’s election for Travis County District Attorney is Rick Reed.
As we have said before, if Reed is elected, he will probably be the most progressive DA Texas has ever seen. In a time when Texas has just surpassed California as being the state with the most people in prison and when the United States has more people in prison than China, it is time for us to elect a district attorney who will find ways to reduce the number of people behind bars by diverting many more non-violent drug offenders to diversion programs where they will get treatment.
Reed does not believe sending drug offenders to prison is the most effective and efficient use of tax dollars, especially if it is that person’s first drug-related offense and no one else was harmed.
Reed is the best person to elect to put in charge of the Public Integrity Unit to make sure that politicians who do wrong are held accountable. Reed led the push to indict Tom Delay when others in the DA race were either not involved or even opposed to seeking an indictment. If Reed had not possessed the judgement, legal reasoning skill and tenacity to convince his boss to indict Delay, then justice would not have been done and Delay would still be in office up to his old shenanigans of using corporate money to influence elections.
Reed is the only DA candidate who opposes the death penalty and has said that he would never ask a jury to sentence someone to death. Instead, he would ask juries to use the newly created sentence of life without possibility of parole in capital trials.
Reed’s endorsers include The Daily Texan, The Nation, Mike Farrell, Kinky Friedman, Texas Moratorium Network and most importantly many people among Travis County voters who identify with progressive values.
Probably the most well-respected blog on criminal justice issues in Texas is Grits for Breakfast, which Friday endorsed Rick Reed. Grits says in “Rick Reed top choice in Travis County DA’s race“:
Reed wants to institute an “open file” policy, allowing defendants and their counsel full access to prosecution files, even putting the information password-protected online, following the model in Tarrant County – to let both prosecutors and defense attorneys access it paper free with less hassle. That’s been needed for years, and other counties have done it already: I’d like for that change to be made.
Finally, Reed’s most prominent stance has been against the death penalty; he’s said that if elected he won’t implement it as DA, either in ongoing cases (Travis has five people on death row) or in new murders. I had a chance to talk to Reed face to face about this, and he said that he might believe in the death penalty theoretically, but because we know sometimes Travis prosecutors make mistakes in extremely serious cases, and just as importantly, because it diverts so many dollars and office resources from pretrial diversion, drug courts, and other prosecutorial strategies the community supports, he decided to simply oppose capital punishment altogether and let the chips fall where they may.