The Look Deeper Campaign 

The Look Deeper campaign, spearheaded by We Are Revolutionary and a coalition of community leaders and advocates in Albany, NY, is dedicated to reforming the criminal justice system by critically examining the grand jury proceedings. This initiative emerges from growing concerns about the disproportionate prosecutorial control within these proceedings, which often lead to the manipulation of evidence and the imposition of unnecessarily harsh charges.

Central to the campaign's mission is the argument for a legal system in Albany that upholds fairness and truth, rather than defaulting to severe punishment. The Look Deeper coalition is calling on city, county, and state authorities to address significant gaps in the current system. One of the primary issues identified is the process by which police officers, often without legal training, determine initial charges at the city level. This practice raises questions about the accuracy and appropriateness of these initial charges.

Further complicating the matter is the prosecutor's dominant role in the grand jury process at the county level. This unchecked power allows for the potential manipulation of evidence, often resulting in more severe charges than the case might warrant. This approach not only compromises the integrity of the justice process, but also disproportionately impacts the lives of defendants, particularly those from marginalized communities.

At the state level, the campaign highlights the need for reforms in New York's criminal procedure law, which currently permits such practices. The Look Deeper coalition urges state lawmakers to review and revise legislation to ensure a more equitable legal system.

The Look Deeper campaign is not just advocating for individual cases; it is a rallying call for systemic change across the city, county, and state levels. By pushing for these reforms, the coalition aims to create a justice system in Albany that is rooted in equity, accuracy, and fairness for all citizens.

Dontie Mitchell

In Dontie Mitchell's case, a judge recently dismissed his murder charge due to insufficient evidence, indicating that Dontie did not act in concert to commit murder. In fact, video evidence suggests Dontie's lack of involvement in the crime. Despite this, the Albany County District Attorney's office is still pursuing charges against him for gun possession, although there is no gun in evidence, nor was Dontie found with one. This case has raised questions about the prosecution's handling of charges and evidence since the beginning, where the prosecutor couldn't settle on charges. Learn More.

Lexis Figuereo

Lexis Figuereo, a prominent Black Lives Matter protester in the Capital Region, recently had all charges against him dismissed by a City Court judge. This decision came after the Albany County District Attorney’s Office admitted to failing to comply with evidence discovery rules. The dismissal was prompted by Figuereo’s attorney, Mark Mishler, uncovering audio recordings from the police department’s review of officer conduct during the protests, which included instances of officers covering their badges in violation of department policy. The DA's office, unaware of these recordings, agreed to the dismissal.

Figuereo faced misdemeanors including riot, inciting a riot, obstructing governmental administration, and unlawful assembly, related to his arrest during protests outside the Arch Street police station. Notably, the DA’s office had initially offered Figuereo a plea deal involving jail time.

Drawing parallels to previous charges dropped in Saratoga Springs due to due process violations, Mishler highlighted a pattern of wrongful prosecutions. Figuereo himself labeled his prosecution as “politically motivated” and emphasized his commitment to fighting for social justice to prevent similar wrongful arrests and prosecutions. Learn More

Rahqwah Johnson 

Rahqwah Johnson, a state worker, faced multiple legal challenges, including an assault charge, after unknowingly ingesting K2, which led to an adverse reaction. In a disoriented state, he initially sought assistance from the police at a precinct but ended up fleeing due to the drug's effects. Legal scrutiny reveals that the criteria for an assault charge are not met in Johnson's case, casting doubt on the District Attorney's decision to pursue felony charges instead of more fitting lesser charges.

Compounding the issue, the DA's office is withholding video evidence that is claimed to exist and has previously omitted evidence from the grand jury proceedings that supports Johnson's account. This withholding of crucial evidence mirrors patterns observed in similar cases, raising concerns about the transparency and fairness of the legal process in these matters.

Jordan Young

In Jordan Young's case, the District Attorney's office initially pursued a quick and severe conviction, neglecting his mental illness, serious injuries, and multiple surgeries. However, the community rallied to advocate for Jordan, emphasizing these crucial mitigating factors. This collective advocacy not only highlighted the need for a more compassionate legal approach but also challenged the prosecutors' focus on punishment over justice. Ultimately, their efforts led to a more favorable outcome that took into account Jordan's personal challenges. Learn More.