According to a new report, 67% of the District of Columbia’s arrested people in 2021 were not prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for that District of Columbia appointed by Biden.
Matthew Graves, the U.S. attorney declined to prosecute most cases. This left criminals on the streets and capital crime continuing to rise.
Graves stated that most of the nonviolent offenses Graves declined to arrest were burglaries and gun and drug possession. According to Graves, the Washington Post’s violent crime prosecution rate was 87.9% in 2013.
“The bottom line is it gives the impression that there is a general decrease in the number of cases we bring.” Graves stated, “that this is false”.
According to Post reports, the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office was responsible for prosecuting federal and local cases. It prosecuted 95.6% and 85.7% of violent crimes in 2018.
Graves partially blames his office’s low prosecution rates for D.C.’s Department of Forensic Sciences’ 2021 denial of accreditation. Prosecutors are now forced to pay for evidence to be sent to other labs. Graves explained that prosecutors now prioritize sending DNA, firearm, and fingerprint analysis to other laboratories for violent offenses.
Graves stated, “DFS is now in its third year and there is no clear plan to bring it back online.” “We need to prioritize violent felonies and ensure that we do the forensic testing in those cases.” “This analysis is often performed by our office.”
The D.C. Office of the attorney general, which must also send its evidence outside laboratories, declined to prosecute 26% of cases last fiscal year.
Further comparison: The Wayne County prosecutor’s office, Michigan, which also includes Detroit, reported a decline of 33% in its cases by 2022. Philadelphia prosecutors declined only 4% of arrests. Cook County, Illinois which includes Chicago, saw 14% of all arrests declined by prosecutors.
Graves noted also that body-worn cameras enable prosecutors to quickly review evidence in order to determine if they have sufficient evidence to support the conviction.
“Since 2019, our arrests have taken longer to determine whether we will be bringing charges. He stated that body-worn cameras and the proliferation of surveillance cameras have given us more information to help us assess the strength and credibility of the evidence we will present to juries and courts later.”
According to D.C. police reports, the overall crime rate has increased by 23% since 2022.
Robert J. Contee III, D.C. Police Chief, stated to the Post that the low prosecutor’s rates are not at fault for the Metropolitan Police Department.
“I can promise you, it’s not MPD holding the bag on this,” Contee said. “That’s B.S.”
“Of course, we are concerned,” he added. “We believe every person we arrest should be off the streets.”