“Senator Klobuchar’s last day in the office here was December 31, 2006, and she had no involvement in the prosecution of this case at all,” said Lacey Severins, a spokeswoman for the Hennepin County prosecutor’s office, which encompasses Minneapolis. Klobuchar is also under scrutiny for her immigration record as she heads into the Nevada caucuses next week, with roughly 19 percent of the population there having been born outside the U.S. “It was the politics of criminal justice at the time, but there was also a widely held belief that those policies would ultimately make us all safer. Mr. Burrell was convicted in the murder of an 11-year-old girl, but maintained his innocence, and one of Mr. Burrell’s co-defendents had said he was in fact the gunman responsible. And that sickens me because he should be alive today. Lara Bazelon, an associate professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law who recently wrote a New York Times op-ed critical of Harris’s record, argued that this reflects how each candidate has described her time as a prosecutor. Vox answers your most important questions and gives you clear information to help make sense of an increasingly chaotic world. She also rebutted reports that she had a role in declining to bring charges against Mr. Chauvin in a previous case in 2006 as a “lie.”. It remains unclear just how big of an issue this will be for Klobuchar. Help keep Vox free for all by making a contribution today. show votes . But like fellow Democratic candidate Kamala Harris before her, and perhaps Joe Biden in the future, she’s increasingly facing scrutiny from progressives over one part of her record: criminal justice. Office: U.S. Senate (MN) - Sr, Democratic Minority Steering Chair Track This Politician. There’s the body cams, there’s the one we saw initially, and there’s the one that was revealed last night. 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My comments are a reflection of the Center for Biological Diversity's evaluations (consistent with the scorecard above published by centeractionfund.org) of Klobuchar’s environmental track record. Two days before Super Tuesday in March, a rally in her home state was shut down by protesters demanding she do more to help free Mr. Burrell. Thankfully, that thinking is changing.”. Klobuchar defended her record in other appearances Sunday, saying her office in Minnesota’s Hennepin Country handled more than 10,000 cases each year. 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She recounted a story that has helped propel her political career, including her 2007 Senate bid: Members of the African American community were seeking justice for kids killed in gun violence, she said. But Biden allies and senior Democrats are fully aware of the opposition to Ms. Klobuchar that has built on the left, largely for reasons unrelated to her record as a prosecutor. Despite her record, Klobuchar hasn’t faced as many questions about her record as the other former prosecutor in the presidential race, Kamala Harris. As Hennepin County attorney in the middle of that era, Klobuchar largely fit into that mold. “I’d like to see her do more, I’d like to see her be more aggressive in calling for intervention here. In an interview on MSNBC, Mr. Biden deflected any questions about Ms. Klobuchar, whether he would commit to choosing a woman of color or who specifically was even on his shortlist. But other surveys, like Gallup’s, have also found that criminal justice issues aren’t a top-tier issue for voters — falling behind, in recent times, concerns about the government and poor leadership, immigration, the economy, and race relations. Amy Klobuchar served as the Hennepin County, Minn., prosecutor before being elected to the Senate in 2006. It is too soon to say with certainty that the events of this week will weigh heavily on Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s choice of running mate or affect Ms. Klobuchar’s chances of becoming his vice-presidential nominee. “I think that clearly how she behaves and conducts herself in her home state with the situation with the killing is going to be something everyone is going to watch,” Mr. Sharpton said in an interview. And the overall prison population for Hennepin County — which reflects on Klobuchar’s prosecutions — grew, although that seemed to largely reflect state and, to a lesser degree, national trends at the time. Please also read our Privacy Notice and Terms of Use, which became effective December 20, 2019. Ms. Klobuchar reiterated her call for “charges” in the George Floyd case; minutes later, Derrick Chauvin, the officer who knelt on Mr. Floyd’s neck for more than seven minutes as he complained he could not breathe, was arrested. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a top contender to be Joe Biden's running mate, has faced skepticism from black activists over her criminal justice record. The Star Tribune, a newspaper in Minnesota, throughout the 1990s and 2000s highlighted her “tough-on-crime platform,” her “police-have-endorsed-me, law-and-order campaign,” and her prosecution of “‘small’ crimes.’” Klobuchar herself emphasized in a brief essay that she intends to “put repeat and violent offenders behind bars” and “hold judges accountable for sentences” — demonstrating her goal to pursue the harshest penalties for crimes possible under the law. She said the fact that Ms. Klobuchar reached out personally was a welcome surprise, but added that she and Ms. Klobuchar have “unfinished business.”. Instead she often opted to send cases to a grand jury, a common practice at the time but one that some law enforcement experts say favors police officers. Though her initial statement on the incident did not call for charges against Mr. Chauvin, Ms. Klobuchar said on CNN on Tuesday that “this evidence is just crying out for some kind of a charge.” On Friday, minutes before Mr. Chauvin was arrested, she urged it again. Klobuchar was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006. When a little girl was struck by a stray … Amy Jean Klobuchar was born on May 25, 1960, in Plymouth, Minnesota. 100% of the time . But she hasn’t really focused much on criminal justice issues as a senator, instead dedicating her time to issues ranging from big tech to tax-advantaged savings accounts for educational costs. In the months since she dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Mr. Biden, Ms. Klobuchar has taken steps to rectify some of her record. This was most prominent in recent CNN town halls. While it may irk criminal justice progressives, going after drug dealers and repeat offenders isn’t exactly unpopular in American politics. Amy Klobuchar’s record as prosecutor faces new scrutiny after George Floyd killing Joseph Wilkinson 5/29/2020 Bill for Black farmers reclaiming millions of acres 'a step in the right direction' She joined other Minnesota elected officials to send a letter to the local United States Attorney and district attorney urging a full investigation into Mr. Floyd’s death. Kamala Harris has a plan to change that. From Jan 2007 to Nov 2020, Klobuchar missed 240 of 4,263 roll call votes, which is 5.6%. Ms. Klobuchar, weeks away from being elected to the Senate, was still the prosecutor, but the case wasn’t heard until after she took the oath of office in Washington. Much of this reflected the politics of the time. “This is very tough timing for Amy Klobuchar, who I respect very much.”. Avoiding Default. Democrats acknowledge that the situation in Minneapolis is a highly fluid and unsettled one, and the political implications of the violence and civil unrest there cannot be foreseen with any clarity. “Unlike Harris, Klobuchar is not claiming that she was a ‘progressive prosecutor’ — at least not yet,” Bazelon told me. Favors broad civil rights 98.1% of the time . (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) “If you’re going to run based on your record of voting in Washington, then you have to own those votes — especially when it comes to immigration,” the former mayor said. Ms. Klobuchar has said that any new evidence in this case should be reviewed by the court. When you have the mayor saying the people ought to be charged, it raises the bar on other elected officials who have not said that.”. A financial contribution to Vox will help us continue providing free explanatory journalism to the millions who are relying on us. Senator Amy Klobuchar swept into office in 2007 as a former tough prosecutor, boasting of how she had reduced crime in the most populous county in Minnesota. She also met with Mr. Burrell’s family and local activists. Facial recognition tech is a problem. Patrick Semansky/Associated Press As county attorney in Hennepin County, Amy Klobuchar had a tense relationship with the Black community for … She ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for U.S. President in 2020. In her time as prosecutor from 1999 to 2007, she embraced “tough on crime” policies — pursuing harsher prison sentences against nonviolent offenders, such as graffiti taggers and drug dealers, and calling for changes to the law that would allow even longer prison sentences, particularly against repeat offenders. “We are all victims sometimes of timing, and some of us benefit tremendously from timing” he said in a call with reporters. “She’s our best bet to get disaffected white, blue-collar Democrats who voted for Trump in 2016 back into the Democratic column,” said former Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, who also stressed that any of the other women under consideration would also bring benefits to the ticket. Then-Chief Deputy Pete Cahill, left, and then-Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar look over pending cases during a meeting at her office in Minneapolis on Aug. 21, 2003. But as protests over George Floyd’s death in police custody bring chaos and violence to Minneapolis, her record as prosecutor there is facing renewed scrutiny as she prepares to be vetted as a leading vice-presidential contender. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today, from as little as $3. Klobuchar hasn’t apologized for her record. From the 1980s and to the late 2000s, it was pretty common for Democrats to join in — and even compete — with Republicans to look as “tough” as possible on criminal justice issues. She gave criminal justice reform only a brief mention in her presidential campaign announcement speech, claiming that — contrary to the evidence — she’s always supported it. But still, some Democrats thought that Ms. Klobuchar, now one of the party’s leading national voices, should have been more publicly vocal in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. Ms. Klobuchar’s strengths remain compelling to some in the Biden campaign, who view her as an appealing choice for suburban voters, especially women, who are crucial to Mr. Biden’s electoral map. For example, she ran on a community prosecution model that put prosecutors in specific neighborhoods so they could build better ties with the community. A member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, Minnesota's affiliate of the Democratic Party, she previously served as the Hennepin County Attorney. PORTSMOUTH — Sen. Amy Klobuchar says she's the best candidate in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination "because I come with receipts." Here’s how the Democratic candidates plan to tackle it. Feb 12 A dissenting view on Amy Klobuchar. As California’s attorney general, she overlooked prosecutorial misconduct and police brutality, while defending the state’s bloated prison system.. supports. To learn more or opt-out, read our Cookie Policy. 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So I commend Senator Klobuchar for reaching out so far, and I look forward to her helping us freeing Myon Burrell A.S.A.P, and we need to put our full force and energy into that.”, Protests in Minnesota Renew Scrutiny of Klobuchar’s Record as Prosecutor. For nearly 17 years, senator and presidential hopeful Amy Klobuchar eagerly took credit for sending 16-year-old Myon Burrell to prison for a notorious 2002 murder, using the case to further her political ambitions. It’s good policy — and smart politics. She may see another path to the White House. But there’s a real difference between Klobuchar and some of her Democratic primary opponents: She has never positioned herself as a criminal justice reform champion. Favors the middle class 100% of the time . “As a prosecutor in heavily white Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar declined to go after police involved in fatal encounters with black men,” read the headline of a Washington Post article in March 2019 that examined her record on criminal justice. Amy Klobuchar went after low-level, nonviolent crimes as a prosecutor. The question is if it proves unpopular enough in the Democratic primary to become a big issue for Klobuchar. She is also viewed skeptically by some black leaders who are hoping Mr. Biden will choose an African-American running mate. The chart below reports missed votes over time. —Amy Klobuchar, February 2019 Been There Sen. Amy Klobuchar speaks of Fran, a woman she met in Pacific Junction, Iowa, along the Nebraska border during recent flooding. Amy Klobuchar’s record as a “tough on crime” prosecutor, explained. An aide once carried her bags and a salad onto a plane for a short flight. Not Pete Buttigieg. Amy Klobuchar U.S. Klobuchar did pursue some reforms. In March, protesters shut down a home-state campaign rally for Ms. Klobuchar, who was then running for president. There is tremendous power in understanding. She was the first woman to be elected to serve the state in that body. Amy Klobuchar is a three-term U.S. senator from Minnesota and a former county prosecutor. Julián Castro released an animal welfare plan. This is much worse than the median of 1.8% among the lifetime records of senators currently serving. Senator Klobuchar was reelected in the U.S. Senate in 2018 and her seat will be up for election again in 2024. Democrats are increasingly critical of Israel. There's power in understanding. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) defended her record as a prosecutor on Friday following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck. Harris, in her own presidential run, represents that shift: Like Klobuchar, she worked in law enforcement during the 1990s and 2000s — and some parts of her record do look, today, like they were “tough on crime,” even if they were normal back then. Voting Record: Amy Klobuchar. Now she wants to be president. Title: No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013 (2013 roll call s11) Vote: Aye (increases score) Type: passage: Date: 2013-01-31: Weight: 7: Title: … Since leaving law enforcement, Klobuchar has taken some steps toward criminal justice reform. “Amy Klobuchar was a very strong proponent, knew the details, knew how to do it, and even contributed in helping with field experiments and publications.”. She ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2020 election, before pulling out in March and endorsing Joe Biden. As a local prosecutor, Klobuchar ran on “tough on crime” policies and enforced them once in office. By contrast, Klobuchar wasn’t asked in her town hall about criminal justice reform, even as she repeatedly brought up her past as a prosecutor (albeit in positive terms). “I think that was wrong now,” she said in an interview on MSNBC. This week, Ms. Klobuchar issued a statement after Mr. Floyd’s killing, calling for an “outside investigation” and saying that “those involved in this incident must be held accountable.” She was met with near immediate criticism from local and national activists for not mentioning Mr. Floyd’s name or saying that he had been killed by the police, and for not immediately calling for charges to be filed. Behind the scenes, Ms. Klobuchar has been reaching out to local and national leaders in the black community since Mr. Floyd’s killing. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — During a presidential debate, Amy Klobuchar defended her tough-on-crime record during her days as a top Minneapolis prosecutor. Senator. She attracted virtually no support from black voters in the Democratic presidential primaries. On Friday, Ms. Klobuchar brushed off questions about whether she should withdraw her name from consideration, saying it was “Joe Biden’s decision,” while vigorously defending her record as a prosecutor, pointing to downward trends in African-American incarceration rates. Thousands of rape kits are currently untested. Now it’s Amy Klobuchar’s turn for scrutiny of her record during two terms as Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Attorney from 1999 until her election to the Senate in 2006. Klobuchar’s office also pointed to data showing that the black and Latin jail populations in Hennepin County fell while Klobuchar was a prosecutor, and that the overall jail population stayed roughly flat. On the Wednesday after Mr. Biden dominated Super Tuesday states, Ms. Klobuchar sent a letter from her Senate office to the district attorney’s office in Hennepin County, asking them to launch an independent review of Mr. Burrell’s case. “One of the reasons why I fight so hard is because I’ve had to fight so many times on the front lines for lots of people that we couldn’t bring back, and here we are, yet again, another black man has been murdered,” Ms. Redmond said. Before Klobuchar left law enforcement in 2007, the criminal justice reform movement we know of today hadn’t really taken off. Asked about her prosecutor record, Klobuchar’s office said that she pushed for some reforms and took on cases, like the prosecution of baseball Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett for an alleged sexual assault, that would draw the attention of the #MeToo movement today. George Floyd’s death in Amy Klobuchar’s home state renews scrutiny of her criminal justice record by Melanie Mason and Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times , Updated: May 30, 2020 Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. Klobuchar, who’s currently a US senator from Minnesota, was previously a prosecutor for Hennepin County, Minnesota, which is home to Minneapolis and more than 1 million people. Al Sharpton; Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP; and Leslie Redmond, the president of the Minneapolis NAACP. We use cookies and other tracking technologies to improve your browsing experience on our site, show personalized content and targeted ads, analyze site traffic, and understand where our audiences come from. On Friday, Ms. Klobuchar said that grand juries were used “in every jurisdiction across our state,” and that she now regretted those decisions. She voted for the First Step Act, a widely supported reform measure that President Trump signed into law. 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