With A Tough On Crime D.A. Stepping Down, Will Queens Turn To A Reformer?

“He’s a product of the Queens machine and the Queens machine is on its death bed,” said Douglas Muzzio, a professor of public affairs at Baruch College.

Still, Evan Stavisky, a partner with the Parkside Group, a political consulting firm, said the Queens Democratic Party has won more elections than it has lost and “it would be foolish to think they won’t be highly relevant to the process.”

Some candidates with progressive agendas are betting that voters are paying more attention now to racial inequities in the criminal justice system and will want to know where the candidates stand on that issue.

“Our criminal justice system is broken and the Queens district attorney’s office is ground zero,” said Councilman Rory Lancman, who announced his run for Queens district attorney in September and whose campaign message has been likened to that of Mr. Krasner’s in Philadelphia. “The old model of a district attorney’s office — cops arrest somebody and the district attorneys put them in jail — there is a different expectation from the public as to what the district attorney’s office is supposed to be about.”

Mr. Lancman has said he would not prosecute certain low-level nonviolent offenses: possession of small amounts of marijuana; turnstile jumping; trespassing to seek shelter. He said he would not overcharge defendants, would not ask for cash bail or bond, would turn over evidence earlier to defense attorneys and would establish a wrongful conviction integrity unit.

Even former law-enforcement officials in the race have moved to the left. Gregory Lasak, a former judge who also worked as a senior prosecutor under Mr. Brown, announced he was running for the office in October. He said he, too, would implement similar reform policies, and would diversify the office.

“You can’t just talk about reform without having the experience,” Mr. Lasak said.

Last month, the Queens borough president, Melinda Katz, also announced she would enter the race for district attorney. Others mentioned as possible challengers include Judge George Grasso, who supervises Bronx Criminal Court, and Mina Malik, a former prosecutor in Queens and Brooklyn who is now a deputy attorney general in the District of Columbia.

With a Tough-on-Crime D.A. Stepping Down, Will Queens Turn to a Reformer?
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