US Attorney for NJ Addresses Gang Violence and Opioids

Steve Adubato speaks with Craig Carpenito, U.S. Attorney for the District of NJ, about the connection between gang violence and the quality of life, the impact of the opioid crisis and the complicated relationship between police and minority communities.

12/21/2019 #329






"Welcome to State of Affairs. I'm Steve Adubato. We are at NJTV studios in Newark. And we're pleased to introduce Craig Carpenito, who is the US Attorney, the District of New Jersey. Good to see you. How you doing Steve? I'm great. For those who don't know what that job is, describe it. Okay. So I'm the chief law enforcement officer for the federal government in state of New Jersey. I'm responsible for all criminal prosecutions in the state of New Jersey brought by the federal government, as well as any case where the United States Government is a party in a civil litigation. Let me try this. There's a whole range of issues you and your office deal with. And you're not the Attorney General's Office, you are the chief federal law enforcement officer here. Top issues. Violent crime. Quality of life? Absolutely. Make the connection. Yeah. So look, coming into the job, my view was what... you know, how can I make the greatest impact? The greatest impact, right? The purpose of the job is to make life better for the citizens of New Jersey. The law abiding citizens. So what I saw was that in the prior administration, I thought the federal government had taken a back seat to the state government with regards to violent crime, drug... the drug problem in the state. And what it did was it took out of law enforcement's tool box, a very valuable tool, right? I mean the federal government has tools it uses to prosecute these cases that the state just doesn't have. Such as? Well we have the ability, number one, usually to keep people in. When someone goes before a judge after an arrest in federal government, given bail reform at the state level, we have a lot more success keeping them in, you know, if they're a violent criminal, if there's somebody that has a long historical past, if there's someone who we think is a risk of flight. Putting them in gives us more tools to help get co-operators, and to work cases, and get deeper within organizations. And that's something I was hearing from the state and local law enforcement officers that really had dissipated with bail reform. But deal with this gang violence issue and its impact on quality of life. We've talked to the Public Safety Director in the city of Newark, Anthony Ambrose, many times about this, and you work closely with Anthony and his team. Talk about the connection between quality of life and gang violence. Yeah. so one of the first people I met when I found out I was going to be the US Attorney was Anthony Ambrose. You know, from my perspective, Anthony is a national treasure..."