Eli Savit

Washtenaw County Prosecutor

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Eli Savit was born and raised in Washtenaw County. Following college graduation, he worked as an 8th-grade public school history teacher, teaching general-education and special-education classes. He then attended the University of Michigan Law School. Eli began his legal career in private practice in Washington DC, where he represented criminal defendants; victims of domestic violence; asylum applicants; victims of consumer fraud; and special-needs students. He then worked as a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the U.S. Supreme Court.

Following his clerkship with Justice Ginsburg, he returned to Michigan and accepted an appointment as senior legal counsel at the City of Detroit. In that capacity, he led criminal-justice reform work and worked to craft legislation that will enable hundreds of thousands of Michiganders to expunge old criminal records. Eli also led the City’s public-interest litigation program, overseeing thousands of cases. Among those are suits against the opioid industry, banks, and slumlords. Throughout his career—as a public-school teacher, through his work for Justice Ginsburg, and through his current work at the City of Detroit—Eli has witnessed, first-hand, the cascading adverse consequences of our criminal-justice system. He’s running to change that.

Eli is running for county prosecutor because our criminal-justice system desperately needs reform. We are living in the shameful era of mass incarceration. The United States currently incarcerates more people, per capita, than any country in the world. And mass incarceration has been fueled largely by the decisions of local prosecutors and district attorneys—from charging decisions, to sentencing recommendations, to bail determinations, to plea-bargaining conduct. The cascading consequences of mass incarceration radiate outwards. Those who are caught up in the system often lose their jobs and housing, at great detriment to families. Perhaps worst of all, our criminal-justice system is marked by tremendous racial and socioeconomic inequities. Our system of mass incarceration prevents people from obtaining an education, housing, jobs, and health-care. It splits families–particularly families of color–apart. And it’s simply not working, as evidenced by Washtenaw’s recidivism rate of nearly 70%.

Eli saw this system playing out in his home county—and decided to run to change it. He got into this race to challenge Washtenaw’s 28-year incumbent prosecutor, who has presided over a system marked by overcriminalization and racial and socioeconomic inequity. Eli has laid out a 17-point plan for reform. Among other things, he proposes eliminating the criminalization of poverty, seeking out and eliminating racial inequity, and ending our two-track system of justice in which wealthy people and corporations are able to evade consequences.

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