Tom Hogan, Former Federal Prosecutor and Manhattan Institute Fellow
Jerry talks to Tom Hogan, former Federal Prosecutor and Manhattan Institute fellow.
Jerry Ewalt: Welcome to the First Right podcast, a weekly conservative new show brought to you by Restoration PAC. I'm your host, Jerry Ewalt Chief Marketing Officer for Restoration of America. Today, we are blessed to have a special guest, former local and federal prosecutor. Tom Hogan. Now an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute. Mr. Hogan has written a great piece naming the Five Worst Prosecutors in America with a crime wave sweeping the country. It seems like a timely topic, Tom. Welcome to the show.
Tom Hogan: Thank you. Pleasure to be here.
Jerry Ewalt: All right. Well, we want to jump right into it and get into your five worst prosecutors in America. And it's going to be real easy. We're going to go right down the list because there's so much to talk about with each one of them. So why don't we start? Well, actually, before we start with the list, I want to know a little bit more about you, right? Tell me a little bit about your story, your background, and some of your career highlights.
Tom Hogan: Sure. I actually started as a criminal defense lawyer for Morgan Lewis and in Philadelphia. One of the biggest firms in the us representing clients like Exxon and Microsoft. So I learned to do complex criminal defense first, but I always knew I was going to be a prosecutor. So I headed off to be align assistant prosecutor in Chester county, Pennsylvania, which is outside Philly and tried everything from DUIs, the homicides, and then 9/11 hit. I got a call from DOJ, the department of justice saying we'd like you to be a federal prosecutor. So I then went to the department of justice. The Eastern district of Pennsylvania, us attorney's office was a federal prosecutor. Did terrorism, did political corruption, did nationwide drug and violent crime did big white collar fraud, embezzlement cases. And then my wife told me that I was never home and we had two little kids and I had to be home more. So I went back into private practice for a while. And then I was elected district attorney and Chester county Chester county is a large county in Pennsylvania, not 500,000 citizens, the largest or the fastest growing wealthiest county in Pennsylvania, a county that was always, you know, purple, sometimes a little bit red now, a little bit blue. I was always lucky enough to have our citizens put me into office by about 20 points in all of my elections. So, and now I'm in private practice back to private practice and doing academic work.
Jerry Ewalt: That's that's awesome. And you felt compelled to write this article and you, we can go right down the list because there's, you have a lot to say about it. Now I re I really want to hear what you have to say. So why don't we get right into it? We got Maryland Mosby in Baltimore. Why? Why is she there?
Tom Hogan: Well, just picking five of the worst was tough because there are some bad prosecutors wandering around right now. Although as of yesterday, there's one less. It will get to him soon enough, but Maryland Mosby in Baltimore, you know, she was one of the first elected prosecutors to actually run on a platform of I'm going to be soft on crime. And I remember sitting at a conference with a bunch of other elected district attorneys and all of us reached the same conclusion. We all thought two things. One she'll never get elected. You don't win an election for district attorney by saying, I'm not going to be tough on violent criminals. And two, we said, even if by some strange coincidence, she does get elected. She'll change her tune once you hit office and you understand if I don't control violent criminals, then my city is going to go to hell in a hand basket.
So we all agreed about that. And it turns out we were all wrong. She got elected with this pro crime policies. And then when she had office, she refused to change your tune. So her decisions are, I'm not going to prosecute. We call it D prosecution, even though the evidence exists, I'm not going to prosecute certain crimes. She also declared war on the police, starting with the Freddie gray prosecution, where she charged five officers and didn't manage to convict any of them. She claims that everybody's racist and everybody's out to get her. And she really has undermined the city itself. There've been numerous ethical complaints against her. There's an inspector General's report that she doesn't really go to work. And then she's been indicted by the federal authorities. And while all this has been going on, homicides have skyrocketed in Baltimore. She is killing, literally killing that city.
And not only are homicides, skyrocketing, people are leaving over 35,000 citizens have left Baltimore, which is a relatively small city to begin with, but that city is being hollowed out. And it's her policies that are driving that. But she was the first, she wasn't Soros backed by the way, this was a grass root, chaotic effort. And she's been elected reelected by the citizens of Baltimore. We seem to be okay with what she is doing to them. Now, I don't think she'll survive much more beyond this federal indictment. But, she claims is racist, but she clearly has earned a place as one of the five worst.
Jerry Ewalt: You know, it's amazing, right? Cause I know we're gonna see this pattern repeated over and over as we go through the five and for someone who grew up in Chicago, my dad's a retired Chicago police officer. We're seeing the same thing in Chicago and I know we're going to get to Chicago at the end, but it is, it is that pattern. We see where the crime is, skyrocketing people are in prosecuting it and then people leave and then the city falls apart. And it's this pattern that we're seeing. So it's, it's amazing. And so Maryland was actually, the first is in your opinion, she set this whole trend in motion.
Tom Hogan: Yeah. There were a couple others in smaller jurisdictions, but she was the first high profile one where all of a sudden, other progressive like her sat up and said, you know what? I could run a campaign like this that says I'm not going to prosecute crimes and it might get me an office. So yeah, she really set the bar. She set it awfully low, but people have come in underneath it since then,
Jerry Ewalt: Who would have thought, and then the thing is she stuck with what she said she was running on. So she, you gotta give her credit for that at least. Right?
Tom Hogan: Yeah. She, you know, she absolutely believes it. I remember giving a lecture to a whole room full of prosecutors about a law enforcement technique and her coming up afterwards and saying, you know, Tom, how do you get the police to do that? And I said, well, Maryland first, you've got to get the police to believe that you're acting in their best interest. They need to trust you. And they don't trust you. She wasn't very happy with the response, but that's the, that's the sort of attitude she brought to the job.
Jerry Ewalt: All right. Well, let's, let's keep going. Cause we got quite a few here, but this is a group in your hometown here. Right? So we got Larry Krasner, Josh Shapiro and Billl McSwain.
Tom Hogan: Yeah. This was interesting. In Philadelphia, we have gone to the highest level of homicide in the history of Philadelphia and Philadelphia is a fairly violent city, but we have topped even the 1990s crack epidemic level of homicides and everybody rightfully blames. Krasner Crasner is a Soros back, never was a prosecutor, was a criminal defense lawyer and a civil rights lawyer who spent his whole career attacking the police department. And he came in and said, just like Mosby, I'm going to de prosecute. I am not going to prosecute entire categories of crime and I'm not going to send even violent criminals to jail for very long. And his staff has left. The office has been hollowed out. He is not in a position of leadership in the Pennsylvania district attorney's office association. The police are at war with him. And the results of all this are predictable, just like Baltimore, huge levels of violence, huge levels of disorder.
Just this past weekend at one of our major tourist attractions south street. And you can think of the miracle mile in Chicago, your hometown, there was just a wild west shootout, right in the middle of hundreds of people and multiple people were killed and a another 10 or 11 were shot and not killed. And you know, Krsasner, not even charging the guy who kicked this whole thing off by starting a fight and firing a gun. And even the mayor, the liberal mayor of Philadelphia is saying, are you crazy? You got to charge these guys. And that's going to be echoed when we get to Chicago, by the way. But so everyone rightfully blames Krasner or the, the blood-soaked Philadelphia today, but it's not just his fault. He's not the only prosecutor who has jurisdiction here. The attorney general of Pennsylvania, Josh Shapiro has jurisdiction over drug and gun crunch, gun crimes, which are the exact type of offenders who are driving the spike in homicides.
As a matter of fact, the Pennsylvania legislature specifically gave Shapiro jurisdiction over gun crimes in Philadelphia because Krasner, wasn't doing his job and you would've thought Shapiro, he's a prosecutor. He'll jump right in and start charging all these gun, toting drug dealers. And he didn't. And there are a couple of reasons for that. One Shapiro was never prosecutor before he became attorney general. He was just sort of a vagabond politician who thought becoming attorney general would be a good way to advance his political career. And that's the second reason that he refused to jump into Philadelphia towards start prosecuting people, which is he wants to be governor of Pennsylvania now. And he didn't want to irritate the liberal, progressive voters of Philadelphia, which he knew he would do if he came in and over top of Krasner and started prosecuting all of these people. So he just sat on his hands.
Now he is running for governor. He are the unopposed democratic candidate for governor of Pennsylvania. People should remember that he refused to help Philadelphia, but he wasn't the only one, the other person who has jurisdiction over gun and drug crimes in Philadelphia is the U S attorney. So this is not just a matter of party politics because while Krasner and Shapiro are Democrats, the U S attorney was a Republican don't explain, appointed by president Trump, a man confirmed by the Senate. And actually he was a Toomey, a choice for us attorney, Senator, pat, Toomey and McSwain, you would have thought he hated crasher. And he did. And publicly land basically. And you would have thought that he would have waited in and started dieting, tons of drug dealers, tons of people, carrying weapons illegally. And he didn't. Instead the us attorney's office sat on his hands as well under McSwain.
They produced the least number of indictments in their history. This is an office. I served him previously. Now why would McSwain not step forward and really do the job that a us attorney is supposed to do? Well, one he's not very experienced. He had three or four years in the us attorney's office, but the rest of his 20 years was spent in private practice. So he's not really a true prosecutor, but the other reason is like Shapiro. He wanted to be governor. He was more concerned about being governor than he was about being the U S attorney. And he ran for governor and got defeated. Handily. Nobody paid any attention to him, but he spent the whole time in office as us attorney, trying to figure out how he could get to the next political step. And the line prosecutors in the us attorney's office were disgusted. They announced that publicly in the press, they've announced that privately to me. And that's a repetitive theme for these bad prosecutors as well. They really demoralize the staff career prosecutors who just want to do the right thing. They, they drive them out. So between Krasner Shapiro and McSwain, there's plenty of blame to go around for what's going on in Philadelphia. It's like the old Casey Stangle saying about the, when he was the manager of the Mets, he said, well, it was a horrible effort, but at least it was a team effort.
Jerry Ewalt: That's awesome. Well, what I'm starting to see as a pattern appearing, right? So soft on crime, lack of experience, political motivation, and then the staff kind of mutinies and, and goes off on their own or against the incoming person.
Tom Hogan: Yeah. And the staff, that's a critical measurement that nobody really pays attention to. Everyone looks at homicide numbers, which is a good thing to look at. But if you really want to see a prosecutor achieve prosecutors, a good prosecutor, go to their staff and see if their staff is satisfied to be led by this person. And that actually is going to take us to our next person, Kim gardener in Saint Louis, Kim Gardner in St. Louis. She absolutely has earned the right to be on the five worst prosecutors list. And since we're talking about staff, she has had over 100% turnover in the St. Louis prosecutor's office since she took over over one. Yeah. Over 100%. One of her experienced homicide prosecutors was out on maternity leave and Gardner forgot to appoint a replacement homicide prosecutor. So the homicide ended up getting dismissed because the judge finally got disgusted with the fact that for three straight hearing dates, no prosecutor showed up in a homicide case and that prosecutor quit.
She was like, this is embarrassing to the entire office. So gardener like Krasner, like, like Mosley came into office saying I'm not going to prosecute crimes. I'm going to De prosecuted. As a matter of fact, one year the police department requested over 9,000 felony warrants. She only approved a thousand something. So she's deep prosecuting 8,000, some felony charges every year. And what else does she have going on besides the staff leaving and D prosecuting crimes? Well, homicides went through the roof, no big surprise. They are experiencing unprecedented levels of homicides in St. Louis, w w what else is going on in the background or for Kim gardener while she's had multiple ethical complaints. She used her office to try to go after the former governor of St. Louis or of, of Missouri. And she's admitted to ethical violations. And she has made the police firm enemies. She actually filed a lawsuit against her own police claiming that they were involved in a gigantic racist conspiracy against her. It was immediately dismissed, but you try being a prosecutor, a chief prosecutor who has made direct enemies out of your police. That would be like being a general where your entire infantry hated you. And you hated them. That's not an army that's going to be successful. And she hasn't been successful. She has turned Saint Louis, which was once a charming Midwestern city into really a hot bed of violence.
Jerry Ewalt: Yeah. So when, when things go south play the racist card is basically what was happening there.
Tom Hogan: And it's not just Kim Gardner who does that, right? It's Marilyn Mosby who does that? Larry Krasner who's white plays the race card all the time claims that the entire system is out to get them and is racist. But yes, playing the race card is a consistent theme that runs through this as well. And when we get to your home prosecutor from Chicago, we'll be talking. In fact, she plays that race card, every chance she gets
Jerry Ewalt: Totally. Well, the next one on our list, right? We were talking about San Francisco now. So this is an interesting one because there's been some recent activity. Do you want to get into Chesa Bowden and George Gascon and actually Kamala Harris as part of this?
Tom Hogan: Sure. So, as I said at the, at the top of the show, the five worst prosecutors list is actually now one short, because as of this week, Chessa boudin has been recalled in San Francisco and has been kicked out. Now in the article, I said, the voters of San Francisco really should be recalling, not just boudin, but also George Gascon, his predecessor, who is now the da in Los Angeles and gas scones, predecessor, Kamala Harris, who is now the vice president of the United States, because between the three of them, they took 20 years and wrecked. One of the most wonderful cities in the United States, San Francisco is a wealthy city with wonderful architecture, beautiful arts and S I mean, I would love to be the da of San Francisco with that sort of a background. I mean, they would be having parades every day saying what a wonderful city this is if they just had a good prosecutor, but instead between the three of them, they really have driven San Francisco into the ground.
If you, anybody who's visited recently, it's a homeless encampment full of people on the streets, using drugs, using the, the public as if it's a bathroom and it's not a safe place to be anymore. Now, how did they get here? Well, Harris came in and she started the D prosecution trend. She was arguing with the police right from the beginning of her administration, because she thought this was a good way to move up the political ladder, which is always what she wanted to do. The DA's office for her was not a job where she just wanted to do the job and keep the citizens safe. She wanted to move up and become attorney general and become Senator and become vice president of the United States and maybe become president of the United States. This was a stepping stone. She treated the office that way and started to sow the seeds of the disorder.
We see now, then she was replaced by George. Yes. Golan was never a prosecutor before. He actually was a high school dropout who then went and became a police officer as a police officer. He went to law school. He was actually a fairly moderate commander as a police officer, and then decided I want to be da because again, I had political aspirations and he bought into every single one of the crazy California, progressive criminal justice reform ideas that hadn't been tested anywhere. He said, I'm not going to prosecute people. I am going to let drug dealing happen. Willy nilly, and no big surprise disorder started to come into the system.
And then when boudin got elected, it just was a natural continuation because boudin took all of Gascons policies of De prosecution and decarceration and demonizing the police. And he basically put them on steroids and told the police don't lock anybody up. If they're camping out in the middle of San Francisco, don't lock anybody up. If they're using drugs in the middle of the parks, don't lock anybody up. If they're urinating out in front of a building and the result was they become the homeless encampment. They are. Now. Now it's interesting. The voters in San Francisco and boudin had no prior experiences, a prosecutor. He was a public defender. And before he was a brick, right? And before he was a public defender, he was a translator for that Hugo Chavez administration in Venezuela. So a socialist dictator is who boudin used to work for. And somehow he got elected in San Francisco, but I will give the voters of San Francisco credit for this. They looked around and realized what was happening to their wonderful city. It took them 20 years to realize how bad it had gotten had gotten. But when they saw what had happened, they turned around and they threw him out. And you really have to give a lot of credit to the Asian community in San Francisco, they stood up and they stood up strong. They're the ones who threw out the members of the school board, who were spending more time renaming schools that were named after a horrible racist, like Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Instead of figuring out how to educate kids, it was the Asian community that stood up and said, we're not going to put up with this. And throughout the school board members, it was the Asian community that really stood up and said, we're not going to put up with this in San Francisco and drove the boudin recall effort. Now people have asked,
Jerry Ewalt: I mean, you have a predominantly democratic city in San Francisco, so there's hope there's a reaction. There's a recall. It wasn't even an election. It was a recall,
Tom Hogan: Right? It was a recall. And people I'd been peppered all day in the last two days with people asking me, so this is an inflection point, right? We finally have, you don't get a city more liberal than San Francisco and a city. As liberal as San Francisco has decided to throw out a progressive prosecutor, right? This is an inflection point and I have to break the news to them. It's not as citizens. The electorate of San Francisco is very different from the electorate of Oakland or Philadelphia or Chicago. San Francisco is electorate. Their voters are almost uniformly. Well-educated either middle class or upper class and the Asian and Hispanic communities. There are very intent on moving up in the world and preserving order. So they're very different there. And if you look at somebody like Chicago or Philadelphia or Oakland, where it looks like a progressive prosecutor may come in and win and replace a traditional prosecutor, if you have multi-generational poverty, if you have real areas of violence, historical violence, those voters seem more inclined to support these progressive prosecutors.
So for everyone who is saying that the boudin recall is signaling and inflection point and progressive prosecutors are not going to be driven out. Don't expect that it's going to be at least another four or five years before even those voters start to catch on a good historical example is Detroit Detroit let itself fall into this category probably 30 years ago of not prosecuting crimes. And they hollowed themselves out. Detroit now has a population of maybe 600,000. It used to be one of the largest cities in the United States, but they eventually responded after years and years. And about 20 years ago, after seeing enough of it, they elected Kim worthy, who is a Democrat, who is black and who is a strong leader and a strong prosecutor. And she has done a very good job of working with a very tight budget. So it takes a while. And sometimes you have to get as far down, down as Detroit got before you finally decide we're going to straighten ourselves out. So the boudin recall is big news, but people should not expect that it is a sea change in what the electorate is going to do going forward. And all the other big cities,
Jerry Ewalt: Maybe not a, an inflection, but hopefully momentum. I guess we can say
Tom Hogan: It's the beginning of a lesson. If it's not a full sea change, the tide might be starting to go out a little bit.
Jerry Ewalt: That gives me hope, but we're gonna, we're going to get to the last one, right? So now we're moving to Chicago in Fox
Tom Hogan: Kim Foxx. So Kim Foxx, everybody would put her on a list of the five worst prosecutors. One. She plays the race card with abandoned, no matter what she runs into the Jussie, Smollett prosecution, Jusse faked a homophobic racist attack on himself. The actor from empire staged, the whole thing. It was obvious. And I remember reading about it when it happened. And all of us who know people in law enforcement, calling friends in the Chicago police department and saying, you guys, this is a fake Chicago cop saying, we know it's a fake, all right, let us figure it out and he'll get charged. And sure enough, it was an enormous fake. And she refused to charge him. And it was a public embarrassment for Chicago. And the judge said, no, you can't do that. And appointed a special prosecutor. Dan Webb, former us attorney for the Northern district of Illinois and webb prosecuted and convicted led with no problem and Foxx, his response, Kim Foxx, his response was that's a racist response.
Of course, that's a racist conviction. It was a travesty that Jussie Smollett was convicted. That Foxx has been a nightmare. She also is a deep prosecuting Soros backed prosecutor. She is not prosecuting and huge categories of crimes. As a result, homicides are soaring and Chicago. Chicago is officially the most violent city in the United States right now. Philadelphia is a close second, but Chicago is one. And there have been things like a wild west shootout between two gangs. And normally when there's a shootout between two gangs, you end up charging everybody in sight with murder, weapons violations and clearing out two gangs. They've just given you an opportunity to do it. Kim Foxx's response was no, this is mutual combat. I'm not going to charge anybody, right? And even Lori Lightfoot, the liberal mayor of Chicago was like, are you crazy? You got to charge these people.
Our streets are soaked in blood. You have to step up and take responsibility. And Foxx turned around and said, all right, I'll charge one person, which he did with a weapons violation, not murder. And the rest of it is just sort of gone by the wayside. You know, Chicago is a wonderful city. I've often thought of Chicago as being like New York, but full of friendly people right now, even the miracle mile is not safe. Even along the lake shore is not safe. And this is starting to leach out from, from the city of Chicago into the once safe suburbs. So Chicago really needs to turn itself around those voters need to take a good look at what's going on. And I mean, the voters, not just in Chicago, but in Illinois itself have got to turn themselves around. They could be a finance hub, a tech hub. They've always been the city in the middle of the country, which gravitates, which all business gravitates towards. Well, people are fleeing. Now. Businesses are fleeing Chicago. They're going to places like Texas or Tennessee places where their workers can be safe, where they won't be overtaxed and where they don't have Tim Fox as a prosecutor.
Jerry Ewalt: That's right. Well, I think you nailed it, right? You got to feel safe in the city that you're in. If you don't feel safe, you're not going to live there. You're not going to visit there. And that's just going to destroy the economy of that city.
Tom Hogan: Yeah. And you know, 20 years ago, our cities had become safe. You were safe walking down the streets of New York. You were safe walking down the streets of San Francisco. You were safe walking down the streets of Chicago. And it took a lot of work by the police prosecutors, elected officials to make city safe. And everybody thought it was a good idea. The economy boomed businesses were comfortable. Their employees were comfortable. Now people are fleeing the cities. We are back into the seventies, eighties and nineties in the United States. And that's because we forgot how to control crime. We learned those lessons. It took us 25 years to learn them. And it led to a 25 year great crime decline. Now we just have to reapply those lessons. That probably the first thing we can do is to make sure that you've got good responsible prosecutors leading the charge.
Jerry Ewalt: Oh, absolutely. Well, Tom, this, this has been great. I mean, your article is fantastic. I love the five examples. You've given us. Not only if give us five examples, but you've given us the history of where all this is coming from and where it's leading to. And you've given me hope, right. By seeing what's happening in San Francisco right now, across the country. I know it's not an inflection point, but we do have some momentum there. So I'd like to thank you for your time and writing this article. Is there any last words that you want to give the audience?
Tom Hogan: Well, you know, I wrote this, the, and everyone wanted me to write an article about the five worst prosecutors for the Manhattan Institute and city journal. But I insisted that the first article be about the five best prosecutors. So I actually wrote an article about the five best prosecutors in the United States. So I would encourage anybody who reads this article about the five worst start with the five best. And you will find a mixture of prosecutors from Republicans to Democrats, from local prosecutors, to federal prosecutors from big city prosecutors to small county prosecutors who are outstanding prosecutors and who are protecting their citizens every day. Prosecutors are still people who do a phenomenal job for very little money in order to protect their citizens. So start with the five best, then get to the five worst and then concentrate.
Jerry Ewalt: I have to have you on again for us for part two, right? So we can go through the five best prosecutors and show the country what it, what it looks like to be a good prosecutor.
Tom Hogan: Absolutely happy to do it.
Jerry Ewalt: All right. Well, that's our show for today. Thank you so much for tuning in and supporting conservative media. You'll never forget that by working together and staying diligent, we can serve as can bring our country back to true greatness until next week. Let's all keep praying that God will continue to bless America
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