Things are looking even worse for her now…
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard accused fellow Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris of being a cruel prosecutor, placing “over 1,500 individuals in prison for violations of marijuana,” and then joking about smoking marijuana.
Gabbard then added: “She blocked evidence that would have freed an innocent man from death row until the courts forced her to do so.”
That is largely true, as the Sacramento Bee noted (original links):
In February, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered new DNA testing in the 1983 murder case of Kevin Cooper. Cooper came within hours of execution in 2004 after being charged with the murders of an adult couple and two children. Harris opposed the testing when she was the state’s attorney general.
She has since said she supports DNA testing and encouraged Newsom to approve Cooper’s clemency request. She did not offer specifics on why she did not approve the testing during her tenure.
In response to a request for comment, Harris’s campaign pointed to a past statement where the senator called a New York Times columnist last year, telling him, “I feel awful about this.”
The San Francisco Chronicle observed at the moment that Harris subsequently changed her stance and endorsed the DNA testing.
The prisoner, Kevin Cooper, has not been released as the DNA testing continues and it is not yet apparent whether he is innocent, although many think that he is innocent.
The Bee also noted that another claim against Harris — this time, by former vice president Joe Biden — that a federal judge freed 1,000 inmates after it discovered that a San Francisco crime lab had misused evidence, and that then-District Attorney Harris had failed to reveal that the evidence had possibly been tainted.
That, too, was true.
The Washington Post recalled earlier this year: “[I]t was revealed in March 2010 that Harris and her staff had not informed defense lawyers that evidence from the police-run crime lab might have been tainted. A judge ruled in May 2010 that Harris had failed to inform defendants as required by law. Harris said … she took responsibility and made ‘no excuses’ for the failure.”
Harris now runs on a platform that involves reform of criminal justice and claims she is opposed to the death penalty.