Gonzalez faces a number of challengers in DA race

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BROOKLYN -

The DA’s office wields significant influence over the borough, but who will lead it come January?

Eric Gonzalez is the incumbent, but it can’t be said that he’s seeking re-election because he wasn’t elected in the first place. Gonzalez took over the job in October after DA Ken Thompson died from cancer.

If he were to remain in office, Gonzalez’s vision is to lower the number of people incarcerated but balancing that with keeping streets safe. He also touts his work under Thompson’s administration in overturning wrongful convictions – freeing nearly two dozen people. Since he’s taken over, his prosecutors have stopped seeking bail in most misdemeanor cases unless the defendant is on parole or has a history of violence.

Challenging Gonzalez is the former managing counsel for the Brooklyn Defender Services. Anne Swern wants to expand the Conviction Review Unit to include all crimes. Keeping in mind the severe effects criminal prosecutions can have on one’s future, she believes low-level crimes should not be prosecuted in criminal courts and that jail isn’t always the solution, diverting people away from it with alternatives.

Another former ADA, Patricia Gatling currently works at a law firm. Her plan is to make the judicial system more accessible using technology, promising to develop an app to view court information. In an effort to prevent youth incarceration, she wants to implement mentoring programs with a criminal law curriculum, and to keep parolees out of trouble, expand a re-entry program transitioning them back into the community.

Marc Fliedner is also a former prosecutor and head of a civil rights and criminal defense practice. According to his campaign literature, Fliedner is vowing to hold police accountable and prosecute issues of police misconduct. Like some of the other candidates, he doesn’t think low-level crimes should be processed in criminal courts and is calling for an internal review or independent outside panel in the Conviction Review Unit.

The next candidate is no stranger to the borough. Ama Dwimoh currently serves as special counsel to Borough President Eric Adams. In a plan posted on her website, she would create a standardized application for claims to streamline conviction reviews. Dwimoh would implement an open door policy of sorts to give community members more access to the staff and create units to investigate and prosecute crimes against children and laborers.

The only candidate to have served in elected office is current Councilman Vincent Gentile. His platform is to double down on the Conviction Review Unit to review even more cases, crack down on gun violence with tougher prosecution of gun-related cases and create a dedicated unit to protect seniors from financial fraud.

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