Hall and Cruz Face Off in WBSM’s Plymouth County DA Debate
Longtime Republican Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz and his Democratic challenger, civil rights attorney Rahsaan Hall, appeared on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight for what was the final debate in the most hotly contested District Attorney races in the Commonwealth.
Cruz, a former Assistant District Attorney and defense attorney, was appointed Plymouth County DA in 2001 by then-Acting Governor Jane Swift. He has been reelected in both contested and uncontested elections ever since.
Hall was an ADA for the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office before becoming a civil rights attorney working for the Lawyer's for Civil Rights in Boston and the Massachusetts chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
At the outset of the debate, the candidates drew clear distinctions between each other with respect to their core philosophies of prosecution.
Hall said that Cruz is not doing enough as District Attorney to modernize his office's operations and that his office is not making any efforts to deal with racial inequality in the criminal justice system.
"My biggest concern is that times have changed since my opponent was appointed to this position," Hall said. "As times change, our understandings change, and our approaches should change. That has not been the case."
"It's 2022, we should be able to audit, and look at, and assess, and evaluate the work that the office is doing, the outcomes it is producing and making sure that we're not increasing recidivism (reoffending), or that we're not exacerbating the racial disparities within the system an that's the something that I plan to do as the next District Attorney," Hall said.
Cruz criticized Hall's platform as a "progressive prosecutor," saying that DA's elected with Hall's approach to prosecution in major metropolitan areas have caused crime rates to spike in their respective cities.
"As we watch what's going on right now in America, progressive DAs in all of their communities – L.A., San Francisco – they all have relatively similar philosophies," Cruz said. "Defunding the police, abolishing the police, having no cash bail, making sure that they get rid of life without parole for first degree homicides, making sure that they have a list of cases that they're not going to prosecute, which makes absolute no sense to me."
"When you look at the disparities and what's going on in America right now and you look at the prosecutors who are not really doing their job to keep people safe, you look at their numbers. Their numbers speak volumes for that. That's my biggest concern," he said.
Along with debating the efficacy of the "Do Not Prosecute" lists that were popularized by former Suffolk County DA and now U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins, Cruz and Hall also debated their positions on the legislation that would expand the offenses in which a DA can request a dangerousness hearing, the 2020 Police Reform Law in Massachusetts, and what measures are being taken or should be taken to address racial inequality in the justice system.
Listen to the full Plymouth County District Attorney debate moderated by Chris McCarthy and Marcus Ferro on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight podcast: