Open Letter Re: Prosecutor Qualifications

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Photo Credit: Mike Frieseman

To Whom It May Concern,

Communities across the United States of America are challenging incumbent prosecutors (see The InterceptPoliticoThe New York Times, and Huffington Post). Prosecutors have wielded enormous power over people’s lives with little transparency or accountability.

Disenfranchised people (e.g., women of color, LGBTQ+ persons, and youth) have long been familiar with the disparities in the administrative justice system from firsthand experience, and these problems have fully arrived in broader public conversation.

When the Reimagine Community / #DRG4P exploratory committee realized that Brian Mackie was running uncontested in Washtenaw County after 24 years in office, we knew that we had to do something to address this very real crisis locally.

Regardless of whether I am a practicing attorney, the Reimagine Community campaign committee believes that I am better qualified for the job than Mr. Mackie. I am an educator with roots in the communities most affected by the prosecutor’s decisions (and discretion), I recognize that the administrative justice system is broken, and I want to listen to and engage the entire community of Washtenaw County in identifying imaginative and far-reaching solutions.

The Michigan Supreme Court case that you have referenced is from 1855. Only less than twenty years before this, slavery was abolished in Michigan, and only twenty years later, women got the right to vote. As you already know, it wasn’t until 1919 that women would be able to vote in county, state, or federal elections. All this to say that the law has changed many times since 1855. Sometimes for the better, but not always (the criminalizing of affirmative action and the appointment of emergency managers are two recent examples of legal regression). The point here is that if laws are meant to keep people safe, the current Michigan legal system is very far from that goal and may even be moving farther away from it.

I am committed to reimagining community, within and without the legal role of the County Prosecutor. In that sense, to your original question “How do they [the documents] effect your run?” the answer is “in no way.” But it was fun to think about!

Thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns. If ever you’d like to engage in conversation about public safety, holler!

Still kicking,


Letter originally published on the morning of Wednesday, November 2, 2016 in response to an inquiry lodged by an Ann Arbor-based journalist. Visit drg4p.org to learn more about Write-in Candidate for County Prosecutor, D’Real Graham.