Shelby County district attorney candidates share final message to voters

Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 9:19 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 4:53 AM CDT

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - One day remains before voters decide on the future Shelby County District Attorney. Both candidates offered a final message to voters to aid their decision.

Both believe that the justice system needs to be reformed and that violent crime needs to be curbed.

Their methods, however, are what differ.

Incumbent DA Amy Weirich believes the answer to Shelby County’s violent crime problem is to refrain from releasing offenders from prison.

”The answer to our violent crime problem is to hold those offenders accountable for as long as the law will allow us to,” she said.

Weirich cited the “truth in sentencing” bill as one way she believes she’s reformed the criminal justice system during her time as district attorney.

The law, which took effect in July, is something her challenger Steve Mulroy has been a vocal critic of.

“We need to refocus on violent crime, which has been out of control for the last decade,” Mulroy said. “Stop wasting our time on things like marijuana possession and being late on fines and fees. Concentrate on things that matter like carjackings, homicides and domestic assaults.”

Both Mulroy and Weirich also agree juvenile crime is a hot-button issue, but each has different beliefs on what works.

“Rehabilitation programs like youth villages, Memphis allies programs, which give people who are potentially at risk of being repeat offenders real alternatives through counseling and job training and things like that, so we can get their repeat offender rate down,” Mulroy said.

Weirich said she also believes in intervention programs, but disagrees that rehabilitation is the first answer when it comes to violent juvenile offenses.

“But when a juvenile commits violent crime, that’s not the point for us to be talking about what programs and services can we provide. That’s when we need a response that is geared toward public safety, that respects the victim of that crime and that victim’s family,” she said.

Election Day is Thursday, August 4.

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