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New crop of reform-minded prosecutors ready to take office

December 31, 2018

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — At least eight reform-minded prosecutors will take office in cities around the country next month.

These prosecutors won elections in Virginia, Massachusetts, Texas, and Missouri by promising to eliminate cash bail, stop prosecuting simple marijuana possession cases, and to try alternatives to jail for drug abusers.

Some won their races against long odds and deeply entrenched tough-on-crime policies.

In Chesterfield County, Virginia, a longtime defense attorney won a traditionally conservative district held by a Republican for 30 years.

In Massachusetts, a lawyer who pledged to stop prosecuting a list of more than a dozen nonviolent crimes became the first African-American woman to win the district attorney’s office in Boston.

And in Dallas County, Texas, a former judge won after promising to reduce incarceration rates by 15 percent to 20 percent.

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