Election 2022: Hennepin County Attorney

I wrote about the two candidates who made it to the final ballot, Mary Moriarty and Martha Holton Dimick, pretty extensively during the primary. My opinion about the two candidates has not changed significantly, but there have been some developments since then that I wanted to talk about.

On the ballot:

Mary Moriarty
Martha Holton Dimick

Seriously: there’s a lot of information in that July post that I’m not porting over — I thought about it, but I don’t want to bury the new information. There’s just no perfect option here.

One of the bits of news that blew up earlier this month was Martha’s failure to renew her law license. The whole story was really odd. Practicing lawyers are required to have a license, and someone looked up Martha’s and found that her license was not active. Her spokesperson said that this was because she’d de-activated it to save money. Except this makes absolutely no sense: you’ll save $46 in the short term, but then to re-activate (as she’ll need to do if she wins) you have to pay that $46 plus another $125. The lawyer whose Twitter thread I’m linking to there has a couple of theories as to why she might have done this, and the one I think is the most plausible is that she was behind on Continuing Legal Education credits. That’s actually, IMO, sympathetic, and if that was the case she should have just admitted it up front. (Realizing you’re about to have to binge-watch 40 hours of boring webinars or you’ll lose some certification you want to keep: WHOMST AMONG US HAS NOT. I mean, I haven’t, but that is only because I have never had a certification like this.)

Then it came out that she filed for office with an expired card. She says this was an accident and she had a non-expired card at the time but as far as I know, no journalist has asked to see it? or her cards from prior years? Nor has Martha just produced any of them nor has there been any other public followup. I don’t know what to make of this but the whole story is extremely weird. Like the best-case scenario here involves a mix of bad decision-making and extreme flakiness, neither of which seems ideal for a County Attorney.

The other thing I wanted to highlight was covered in this article (a collaboration between Bolts and Mother Jones) about the race. Martha is endorsed by the Police Federation, but during the primary, several other candidates also tried for that endorsement. Paul Ostrow was struck by the questions he was asked at the screening:

Ostrow also sought the endorsement from the MPPOA, but was taken aback that the screening panel—which included the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis—weren’t interested in his ten point plan to improve public safety. Instead, “they were almost exclusively questions about police prosecutions,” he told me. “It was really the only issue that was discussed at that screening.”

Here’s something that really should not be controversial: police prosecutions are profoundly necessary, and I don’t just mean for cold-blooded murders committed in front of multiple cameras, I also mean for the sort of casual everyday brutality that would get anyone else prosecuted for assault. We have got to start holding police officers accountable in a meaningful way. The Police Federation already does everything within its power to prevent the city from firing officers — they also want to be sure Hennepin County continues to have a prosecutor who will not prosecute them.

Mary Moriarty, meanwhile, has promised to create a “do not call” list — a list of police officers who have lied so routinely on the stand that they may no longer be called as witnesses. The fact that this is controversial blows my mind, frankly. Why would you want to call to the stand someone who has repeatedly demonstrated their contempt for the truth? I mean, unless your goal is to have them testify and then charge them with perjury? I’m sorry, is it the defenders of the police who think that it’s unreasonable to expect police officers not to lie on the stand during trials?

Anyway, for these reasons plus all the reasons I cited back in July, I would absolutely vote for Mary Moriarty.

ETA 10/31: On a radio show on WCCO, local defense attorney Joe Friedberg launched into a 20-minute furious rant about how bad Martha was as a prosecutor and as a judge. Worth noting: he’s not especially progressive (he says he’s voted for Republicans, Democrats, and Jesse Ventura) but thinks Mary is just a significantly better lawyer, and although he’s a defense attorney, one of his stories is about Martha kind of giving away the store to a client Joe was defending. (She refused to talk to him, and when the judge finally brought them into chambers, immediately agreed to the lower-than-guidelines sentence he threw out as an opening bid, which given the wildly indefensible case, Joe thought was ridiculous. The whole story is also a really interesting illustration of how lawyers view their “indefensible” clients.) If you’d rather read than listen, David Brauer transcribes some of the rant into a Twitter thread.

So exciting news: apparently WordPress deleted a bunch of my subscribers? If you used to get notifications of new posts by e-mail and now you’re not getting notifications by e-mail, and you would appreciate notifications of new posts by e-mail, please try signing up again. This possibly explains why I’ve been getting a lot less engagement on my posts in general this year, which has been weirdly demoralizing. (I really hope it’s that my subscriber list got screwed up and not that no one’s paying attention to the midterms.)

If you’d like to cheer me up and reassure me that people are reading my work, you could donate to one of the two DonorsChoose projects I’m highlighting. In Minneapolis, I found a science teacher at Sullivan STEAM magnet needs some better computers so his students can actually program the cool robots they got. In St. Paul, I found an English teacher at Harding Senior High who would like snacks for her students. Or, you can donate to the Movement Voter fundraiser I created; I explained back in May why I’m fundraising for the Movement Voter PAC and the fundraiser is still active.

In addition to writing political commentary, I write science fiction and fantasy. My book that came out in April 2021, Chaos on CatNet, takes place in a future Minneapolis. It’s a sequel to Catfishing on CatNet and signed copies of both books are usually available from Dreamhaven and the NOW REOPENED Uncle Hugo’s (it’s at 2716 E 31st St in Minneapolis, in the former Glass Endeavors.)


Election 2018: Hennepin County Attorney

The Hennepin County Attorney does a bunch of stuff but here’s the aspect of the job that tends to get the most attention these days: this is the person who decides whether to file charges against the cops when they shoot someone.

Currently, the job is held by Mike Freeman, who did file charges against Mohamed Noor for shooting Justine Damond, but did not file charges against the officers who shot Jamar Clark or Thurman Blevins. His opponent is Mark Haase. More below the cut.

On the ballot:

Mike Freeman (Incumbent)
Mark Haase (DFL-endorsed)

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