Democrat for Attorney General

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Each candidate was asked to respond to three questions.

1.  What are the top issues you will address in your campaign and what are your plans for moving those issues forward?

As it stands, our current criminal justice system is bankrupting our state -- both morally and financially. Delaware spends nearly $300 million on the Department of Corrections, which makes up about 16% of our state budget. Delaware has the 11th highest incarceration rate in the country, one of the highest outside of the Deep South. This is why my top priority is to end mass incarceration, which disproportionately affects low-income and minority communities.

To do this, I will seek to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing, end cash bail as the default, eliminate Truth-in-Sentencing, abolish the death penalty, and advocate for fairer and more transparent policing practices. It is imperative that the Attorney General recognizes the  correlation between income inequality and involvement in the criminal justice system; that is why I am not only running to bring about criminal justice reform, but comprehensive, trauma- informed, and upstream interventions that will bring about larger social justice reforms. For instance, income inequality has led to the criminalization of poverty. This heightens the driving factors of mass incarceration, such as lack of access to quality education, inability to obtain health and wellness resources, and lack of job training programs. We must focus on intervention and prevention, not incarceration. This will both save the state money and rebuild our broken communities.

 

 Second, I will make it a top priority to curb the gun violence epidemic that plagues cities and towns across Delaware. I applaud and fully support the recent measures to address gun control in our state, including the bump stock and assault weapon bans, safe storage, and Red Flag bills; however, I recognize that these gun control laws don’t stop the gun violence occurring in our cities with illegally obtained weapons.

My plan to address urban gun violence will be to aggressively prosecute gun crimes and invest in evidence-based gang intervention programming that has reduced gun violence in other jurisdictions. Reducing our prison population frees up state resources that can then be redirected upstream to community-based intervention and prevention programming. We must recognize that the people caught up in gang activity and gun violence in our communities are in need of alternative options and access to trauma-informed community services and resources.

Lastly, I will increase the level of engagement that the Attorney General’s office has with the community in the form of hosting town halls, roundtable discussions, expungement clinics and street law clinics. These simple efforts will seek to promote transparency and rebuild trust between law enforcement and the community it serves; we must increase communication between these groups if we hope to increase public safety. I believe that it is the community who should decide what “safety” means in their own neighborhood, and should have a voice in the conversation about turning that goal into a reality.

2.  What makes you uniquely qualified for the political office you seek?

My professional experience comes from my years working in legal and policy roles outside of the Department of Justice. I am not beholden to the powers that be, and I bring with me a fresh perspective that aims to make our Department of Justice fairer and more efficient.

In my roles with the City of Wilmington Law Department and Governor Carney’s legal team, I fostered relationships with experts in policy issue areas across the country. For years, I worked with what is now known as the Giffords Law Center on common sense gun reforms; I have corresponded with staff in the offices of Governors Hickenlooper of Colorado and Inslee of Washington state about best practices for marijuana legalization. I would seek to establish coalitions with lawmakers and experts across the country to inform Delaware’s policymaking.

3.  What community groups are you involved with and in what capacity?

a. The chair of the Multicultural Judges and Lawyers section of the Delaware State Bar

Association

b. A member of the Diversity Committee of the DSBA

c. Longtime board member of the Delaware Center for Justice

d. Was a Committee person for the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow

e. Serve as the Vice Chair for the Wilmington Democratic Party

f. Was the Vice Chair for the 2017 Platform Writing Committee, the most progressive

platform in State history

g. Currently sit on my neighborhood planning council

h. Am a founding member of Spur Impact, a new organization seeking to promote

growth and retention for young professionals in the City of Wilmington

Profession/employment:

● Law Office of Christofer C. Johnson -- Owner/Attorney (January 2018-Present)

● Office of Governor John Carney -- Deputy Legal Counsel (January 2017-January 2018)

● City of Wilmington - Law Department -- Assistant City Solicitor, Litigation Unit (April 2014-

January 2017)

● Mintzer, Sarowitz, Zeris, Ledva & Meyers, LLP -- Associate (June 2013-April 2014)

● Formerly Shanese I. Johnson & Associates P.C. -- Attorney (December 2009-November 2011)

● State of Delaware Department of Justice -- Intern, Criminal Division (June 2009-December 2009)

# of years employed: 9

Education: University of Delaware, B.S. & Delaware Law School,  J.D.

Political experience: Obama for America Legal Protection Team, Delegate to the 2016

Democratic National Convention, Vice-Chair of the City of Wilmington Democratic Party,

Vice-Chair of the 2017 Delaware Democratic Party Platform Writing Committee, member

of the 7th Ward Committee, “Election Protection” for campaign teams at every level.