INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The winner of next month’s district attorney election will oversee a city still reeling from consecutive record years of homicides.
Democratic incumbent Ryan Mears is seeking his first full term as Marion County prosecutor. He took on the role after Terry Curry stepped down in 2019.
Mears said his experience climbing the ranks of the district attorney’s office helped him achieve a 90% conviction rate for homicide cases.
He said the city will not get crime under control until trust is restored between the criminal justice system, law enforcement and the people of Indianapolis. He plans to continue to prioritize these efforts.
“There are a lot of people in Marion County who aren’t participating in the process and as a result we have this terrible cycle of retaliatory violence because we’re not resolving enough cases because people don’t trust the law enforcement,” Mears said. . “There is no non-fatal shooting or homicide in Marion County where someone, somewhere doesn’t know what happened.”
Mears would like to deeply involve his office in efforts to reduce recidivism if he is re-elected, particularly housing. He said the inability to find safe and affordable housing greatly increases the risk of committing another crime.
Mears’ Republican opponent, former state inspector general Cyndi Carrasco, said a lack of personal accountability has fueled the city’s crime problems. If elected, she will not seek to make plea deals with people suspected of committing a violent crime and will strictly enforce protective orders and the state’s red flag law.
“Women should have the right to drop their children off at daycare without being shot by their abuser,” Carrasco said, referring to last month’s killing outside a daycare centre. “That’s what the prosecutor’s office should be focusing on.”
Carrasco said she would like to bring back Marion County’s community prosecutor program, in which an assistant prosecutor would be assigned full-time to each part of the county. The goal is to allow residents of certain neighborhoods, as well as officers assigned to those neighborhoods, to establish a good relationship with a dedicated member of the district attorney’s office.
Mears and Carrasco said they were prepared to seek the death penalty if they felt a case warranted it. Mears said his office has prosecuted capital punishment in a few cases. The candidates also said they would prosecute officers who engage in misconduct, such as excessive force.
Carrasco criticized Mears’ decision to publicly announce his refusal to charge anyone under Indiana’s new abortion ban, saying he was using his position for political gain. She said she brings a personal perspective to the issue of abortion. Her first child, a girl, died seven weeks after birth.
“I can tell you that I understand the tough decisions that surround this issue and it’s not for me to make a decision or pass judgment on a woman who wants to make that decision on her own,” Carrasco said.
For his part, Mears said he would continue his policy of not charging anyone under the law.
“We certainly think it’s unconstitutional and the courts have so far agreed with us that it’s a gross violation of people’s constitutional rights,” Mears said, noting the court’s current order barring entry into force of the law.
Early voting begins October 12. There are no other candidates vying for the Marion County District Attorney position.
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