Prosecute with Integrity
Stop the current -win at any cost- prosecution culture
The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office defines success as convictions. Unfortunately, a culture that focuses on winning convictions at any cost is too often at the expense of justice itself. Our office will maintain the highest ethical standards. Janika will restore trust and transparency to the office of the District Attorney. The office will prioritize early and thorough investigations in order to gather the most accurate information. This helps to ensure that we are able to present strong cases at trial and get convictions that won’t be overturned. We will also encourage early discovery and disclosure of exculpatory evidence so as to avoid delays in justice.
The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office has made it a practice to resist exposing new evidence that might reveal that a conviction was made in error through misconduct. Janika will seize every opportunity to expose evidence that might allow an innocent person to go free, no matter how many years have passed. That includes creating a Conviction Review and Integrity Unit to review and evaluate closed cases and to create ongoing review processes for current cases. To prevent wrongful convictions in the future, Janika will ensure that all potentially exculpatory evidence be shared with the defense, using open file discovery.
Reform bail policy
Thousands of the people held in the Shelby County jail have not been convicted — they simply cannot afford bail and are awaiting trial. Because the courts are clogged with cases, they wait in jail for more than three months, on average. Janika will ensure that the current law is applied equally and efficiently to eliminate unnecessary pretrial incarceration while protecting the safety of the public.
Restore trust and transparency
The District Attorney’s office represents the people of Shelby County. The office should reflect the values and interests of the community it represents. Janika is invested in developing partnerships throughout the community to provide insight on policy and collaborate with the District Attorney’s to provide resources that work to deter and prevent crime. We will create task forces to not only inform but to hold this office accountable to the community. This includes collecting and making public information about policies and practices related to screening and charging; pretrial release; alternative sentencing options; deferred prosecution or adjudication; plea bargaining; sentencing; and related demographic information.