MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County District Attorney Steve Mulroy reflected Tuesday on the changes made in his office since he took on the position one year ago.
As we talk about homicide and murder numbers, Mulroy said, “violent crime is plaguing us and remains the priority,” and discussed more changes he believes could make a difference when it comes to crime.
He recently held a public safety summit to talk about how to make a change. The summit comes as Mulroy has now been on the job for a year.
“We all realize that we have a crime crisis,” Mulroy said.
On Tuesday, he talked about his first week. The city was dealing with two high profile, tragic cases at the time: Mother and teacher Eliza Fletcher‘s disappearance and murder and the case of Ezekiel Kelly who’s accused of going on a shooting rampage throughout Memphis.
“We responded to this by doing something that I had talked about during the campaign which is refocusing on violent crime as our priority. That meant de-emphasizing some things like possession of marijuana, being late on fines and fees,” Mulroy said.
There’s a new policy when it comes to non-fatal shootings.
“While prosecutors will still be totally free to settle those cases, to outright dismiss them, they can’t do without the number two person in the office, which used to be Ray Lepone and it’s now Paul Hagerman,” Mulroy said.
There is also another new policy specifically related to aggravated assaults.
“Basically, the idea is if you point a gun at a human being and pull the trigger than absent very unusual circumstances, straight probation would not be an offer that we would give. It would have to be some sort of period of confinement,” Mulroy said.
As for priorities for his second year on the job, he says a big focus will be on working to make sure someone doesn’t reoffend.
“So really drilling down hard on every stage of the process, on getting substance abuse treatment if they need it, mental health counseling if they need it, job training, job placement, requiring that they maintain gainful employment. You know all the things that they would need to do and expect to do, in order to decrease the chance that they will repeat offend.”
He said they will get the crime rate down if they can decrease the repeat offense rate.
He also said his team is working to make efforts to make sure the office is transparent as well as diverse, saying his office should be similar to the racial makeup of Shelby County.
In addition, his office opened a Justice Review Unit, the second unit in the state, to tackle wrongful sentencing and convictions.