Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law

"Equal Justice Under Law" is engraved on the U.S. Supreme Court building. But Onondaga County has the second greatest racial disparity in drug sentencing of all counties in the U.S., which has the most prisoners and highest incarceration rates in the world by far. The many costs of these dismal statistics hit particularly hard in the 4th District.

  • Stop the "War on Drugs" and Mass Incarceration: Redirect the money the city spends on enforcing drug laws to harm reduction and prevention efforts. Treat drug abuse as a health problem, not a criminal problem.
  • Create a Public Defenders Office: Fight for a fully state-funded public defender system headed by an independent public defense commission to guarantee the right to counsel.
  • Secure the Right to a Trial by a Jury of Peers: Fight to change state law so defendants in Syracuse have the same right as defendants in towns to a jury of their peers from the same municipal jurisdiction.
  • Ban Warrantless Surveillance by Drones: Prohibit warrantless drone surveillance in Syracuse airspace that violates our Fourth Amendment right to freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures.
  • Ban the Box: Prohibit employers from asking a potential hire to check a box on the initial job application indicating if he or she has a criminal history. Employers would have the right to know an applicant’s criminal history, but the inquiry would be deferred until a conditional offer of employment. A Ban the Box law will stop the practice of automatically disqualifying applicants who are fully qualified. With over one-fourth of American adults having an arrest or conviction and with an even higher proportion of ex-offenders in Syracuse, a Ban the Box law will open up job opportunities to many in our community who are now excluded. Over 40 cities now have Ban the Box laws, including Buffalo and New York City.
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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor