Joe Khan is a young progressive running for district attorney who wants to ditch cash bail, revamp the civil asset forfeiture program, and stop prosecuting most simple drug possession cases. “I think it’s becoming more and more clear,” he says, “that when we talk about the people buying and using opioids or other drugs, that the approach of treating this as a criminal matter is simply just not making sense and is not being an effective use of our resources.”
If Khan’s platform sounds familiar, that’s because civil rights attorney Larry Krasner and ex-prosecutor Michael Untermeyer are also running for D.A. on some of the same ideas. In order to win, Khan will need to set himself apart from the Democratic field.
Khan previously worked in both the District Attorney’s and U.S. Attorney’s offices, where he prosecuted sexual assaults, political corruption, and other crimes. Philly Mag interviewed Khan last month in Center City, and he talked about his plan to both clean up the District Attorney’s office and rethink the way justice is done in Philadelphia. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Read our Q&As with the other D.A. candidates in the May 16th election here.
Joe Khan’s Platform at a Glance
- Death penalty: “The death penalty should be only used in extreme cases.”
- Civil asset forfeiture: He says the “policy badly calls for reform” and that the “profit motive” should be eliminated.
- Cash bail: “I want to get rid of it.”
- Gifts: He wouldn’t accept gifts as D.A. from people who have business before the office.
- Super PACs: “The idea of sort of dark money buying a race is pretty troubling.”
- On how to fight crime: In addition to prosecuting “heinous crimes,” he supports prison reentry programs aimed at reducing recidivism as well as a U.S. Attorney’s office initiative that identified people in Southwest Philly who “were most at risk to either kill other people or be killed themselves by gun violence.”
- On whether bad cops are sufficiently held accountable: “It is a problem that needs immediate attention.”
Why are you running for district attorney?
I’m running for district attorney because we need a D.A.’s office that’s going to treat everyone fairly while keeping the city safe. There’s so much unfinished work to be done by our office. We need to make sure that we’re being vigilant about stamping out systemic racism in our city and shutting down the school-to-prison pipeline. That begins by making sure that we always have a focus on our children. Whether they’re coming into contact with our courts because they were victimized or they were witnesses or they did something wrong and they are now going to be charged, whether as juveniles or in the adult system, we have to be doing everything we can to be looking out for our kids and to be making sure that we’re shutting down that school-to-prison pipeline.
What are you most proud of having done in your career?
By way of background, at the time that I was in the D.A.’s office, there was a Municipal Court unit. One of the criticisms I had of Seth was that in doing a good thing and making prosecutions neighborhood-based, they got rid of the Municipal Court unit, which meant that they lost the opportunity to train new prosecutors in a really effective way with hands-on experience. I’m glad that after I’ve called for that to come back, it is now coming back.
I went through that process at Municipal Court—did some work in the juvenile court unit, did work in the felony waiver unit. That was about two years at the beginning of my career, and then I got to do what was the reason I applied at the D.A.’s office in the first place: Go to the family violence and sexual assault unit. That’s what I’m most proud of, my work there. It was about four-and-a-half years of exclusively doing those cases. I was called to do those cases because, number one, there were no crimes that were more serious and where you can make a greater impact than going after, say, child molesters. If your goal is to fight the problem of drug addiction and drug trafficking, one individual prosecution of a drug trafficker is probably not going to change the course of the War on Drugs. If your goal is to fight child abuse, if you successfully take one child molester off the street, you are likely saving countless future victims. … So I was really proud of getting to do those cases and getting to be successful.
The Match.com rapist case, I’m certainly very proud of—taking someone who created countless victims and making sure he would never victimize again. … I was at the U.S. Attorney’s office for about 10 years. When I started there, I was focused more on violent crime and I was proud of kind of being the foot soldier there—I was not the general—in the effort to reduce the homicide rate. But what the U.S. Attorney’s office was doing was focusing on the hook of federal gun crimes that we could use to sort of target high-risk offenders, people who are likely to kill or be killed and use the gun laws to try and use federal prosecutions to make a dent. So I was focused on Southwest Philadelphia and I was really proud to be part of that.
I guess of all the cases I’m most proud of is work I did in corruption. I did everything from charter school fraud to corruption of the IRS. When I left, I was doing the political corruption cases in Allentown and Reading. We obtained convictions in those cases of people who committed crimes that were egregious crimes that involved people betraying the public trust and really misusing their access to great power.
How would you rate District Attorney Seth Williams’ job performance?
In Seth’s first year, he made some important changes. I will give him credit for successfully introducing the neighborhood-based model of prosecution. That was something where it was a good idea. You needed to not just have a D.A. in favor of it—you needed buy-in from the courts. I applaud not only Seth but the partners that he had in the court system and the people he brought with him to make that happen. I also think making sure that the office was not devoting valuable resources to enforcing marijuana possession offenses, and scaling back the enforcement there, also was a helpful and needed reform. … Pursuing things that led to fewer cases where the death penalty was sought, I think, was a step in the right direction. In that first year, there were some successes and I’m glad that they happened.
It’s hard to look at the second term in the same way as the first. There is so much dysfunction in that office right now. There is no leadership in terms of moving the city forward. There is obviously the cloud of scandal over the office. There’s endless questions that Seth doesn’t answer. The public’s attention or room for attention about the D.A.’s office is consumed by Seth’s personal problems and scandals, instead of things like criminal justice reform, instead of questions about whether we are making the city safer. So it’s fairly clear to me that his second term has not been a success.
I can provide the city with the leadership it needs to have a fresh start, to get back to the basics of keeping the city safe, and also to move city forward in terms of embracing criminal justice reform, in terms of making sure that people understand that the D.A. has their back, and the D.A. is going to, whether it’s the Trump administration or it’s people who are looking for outlets for their hatred, stand up for them and protect them at the same time that they’re protecting their rights.
I want to ask you about some of the high-profile decisions made by Williams. One was his choice to keep three prosecutors employed who were involved in the Porngate scandal, and only require them to undergo sensitivity training. What would you have done in that situation?
Seth has shrugged off the significance of those emails, and I think it’s just deplorable what was on government servers, on government time, with government employees. This gets to that question of integrity. If people feel that when they’ve been the victim of a crime or they’ve been accused of a crime, that the prosecutor is somebody who is swapping offensive material about race or sex or sexual identity or orientation and making jokes about these things and demeaning people, that is so toxic for the system and it feeds into the idea that the system is not set up fairly.
So the idea that that was a problem that could be solved with a couple of days or a couple hours of sensitivity training was absurd. It’s hard to answer the question about what you would do without knowing exactly what all the facts were, and to my knowledge, Seth has never explained what these employees told him. … So it’s hard to know those things, but what I would say is that there is no place for that kind of conduct. And these are exactly the kinds of questions that you need to talk to people about when you make hiring decisions. … I think that if those questions were not asked, that says a lot about what kind of employees he’s looking for. But I would not tolerate that kind of behavior in my office.
What about the case involving an alleged assault by labor leader John Dougherty? Williams kicked that up to the Attorney General’s office. Was that the right decision?
I don’t know enough about the facts of that.
When Lynne Abraham was D.A., she referred cases involving elected officials to state or federal authorities as a matter of policy. Where do you stand on that?
I think it depends. Certainly if we’re talking about someone who is a close ally or a close friend, it seems fairly clear that the impartiality of the district attorney is going to be called into question, right? … But I would not say as a blanket rule that a Democratic district attorney could never prosecute a member of his or her own party simply because they’re involved in the political process. This an area where we need to be more creative about how we’re going to solve these things, whether it’s having partnerships with other D.A.’s offices, which is something that the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association has brought up in terms of helping handle police officer-involved shootings. Actually, they made a recommendation that went against the suggestion of District Attorney Williams in terms of how these cases should be handled. It’s very difficult for Philadelphia’s D.A. to form partnerships with other counties and district attorneys and the Attorney General because a lot of people in public life don’t want to be associated with Seth Williams. They’re embarrassed to be in a picture with Seth Williams. To be partnering with him is inconceivable.
I don’t think that it’s necessarily the case that simply being a member of the same party means the D.A. could never be involved, but I think the realities are that if one is an elected district attorney from the Democratic Party, there will be a number of Democratic elected officials that you are going to be close with and, practically speaking, people would fairly question your decision to charge or not charge certain people. So I think, as a practical matter, you would often get to that result. But we’re talking in the abstract.
Another one of Williams’s high-profile decisions was to not press charges against LeSean McCoy for his alleged role in a bar fight involving two off-duty cops. Do you think that was the right call?
I’m not going to defend any of the current D.A.’s past charging decisions to prosecute or not prosecute cases based on his review of evidence. What I will say is this: I’ve talked extensively about the need for us to reexamine old decisions made by the D.A.’s office, and that comes up most commonly with conviction review, but that includes charging decisions. I’m not going to hesitate to review past decisions that need further review. But without being in a position to have reviewed video tapes and have spoken to witnesses, I’m not going to weigh in on specific cases.
What is your position on cash bail?
I want to get rid of it. We need to make sure that, first of all, if you’re violent and you are too dangerous to be on the street, then you should be in prison and you shouldn’t be able to buy your way out because you make your own money. On the other hand, if you are not a threat to anyone and we can be assured that you’re going to come to court, then we need to find some alternatives to the cash bail system to make sure that you just come to court. And we didn’t have a problem with this in the federal system. We made a decision: Should you be released or not? Are you too dangerous, too much of a flight risk to be let out of prison, or can we make sure that you’re going to be trusted to come back to court? If the answer was that you can be let out, the question wasn’t setting some bail amount so you had to go out and raise the money. The issue was to make sure that we found a solution that was going to work for each individual defendant. And we can find the solutions for bail review.
In addition to making sure that we have mechanisms to hold people accountable—so with cash bail, people lose the cash if they don’t show up … we’re setting up mechanisms to punish people for failure—we need to find ways to set people up for success. There are other cities and other jurisdictions that have done things like this, that have set up ways to remind people about their court date, do all sorts of things to encourage people to not skip out on their court appearances. I think we can find the solutions in Philadelphia.
What’s your position on civil asset forfeiture?
I think the policy badly calls for reform. The first problem is the sort of profit motive that exists, where the D.A.’s office is basically making decisions about whether or not forfeiture is appropriate, and then law enforcement is benefiting—the people that are executing are also the beneficiaries. That sets up bad incentives, and whether there are abuses or not, you don’t want to have systems that have bad incentives. You want to have good incentives. The District Attorney’s office is not profiting based on whether someone goes to jail or gets on probation, and forfeiture should be the same way. I think what you need is a D.A. who can look at these decisions and have the courage and leadership to say, “We’re not going to take this money, and if we need more money, we’ll go to City Council ask for money. We’ll work with both partners to get grants and get funding.” Why can’t the District Attorney’s office be a partner with the school district and take this money and find a way to have that money dedicated to kids? A lot of the criticisms that are fairly levied against the D.A.’s office right now, that have made civil forfeiture a national laughingstock, are because of this profit motive.
From what I understand, the D.A.’s office taking sort of an all-or-nothing approach to forfeiture, saying, “Well, we see the opportunity to seize a house and because we can do it, we will do it,” as opposed to trying to find some sort of common ground or middle ground so that it’s not as punitive. The stakes are really high for people. We have the highest poverty rate of any big city in America and when you take someone’s house, that’s significant. That means you’re leaving them homeless. So we have to think about deescalating consequences of people’s interactions with the justice system, and that’s a good example of that. I think that having a fairer system that does not have a reputation of being scorched earth, which I think is what the current system does, is an important step. I think if you address those two things without having to wait for the General Assembly to take action, just if the D.A. does those things, I think that we’re not going to be on national news being laughed at for the absurdity of our process.
Do you think there are things should or shouldn’t be allowed to be seized?
You can certainly think of the examples [of things that should be seized], of the drug kingpin who has bought this mansion with these drug proceeds. When you have a grandmother whose grandson sold a small amount of drugs on her porch, does it make sense to take away her home? No. I wouldn’t make categories of things that should be off the table. I think it’s a question of being fair and being just. … Another frustration people feel is that the D.A.’s office is really stuck in the 20th century and not moving forward on things like human trafficking. And one of the things I’ve talked about is this crisis we have with lead paint poisoning. The D.A.’s office is doing nothing. People don’t expect anything from Seth Williams on this issue. I want to create the task force that gets rid of lead paint poisoning in Philadelphia, period, and uses the power of the D.A.’s office to make sure that happens. And whether we can use the “endangering a child” statues, whether we can use forfeiture statutes to put landlords on notice, that if you don’t get this out we’re taking the building.
Do you think a conviction should be required before the D.A.’s office is able to seize someone’s assets?
I think we have to find a legislative fix for the long term, not just for Philadelphia, but for other counties. I’ve talked about what I would do with the system that exists as of right now. I’ve talked about how we can borrow some of the best practices from the federal system that I think would address a lot of these concerns. In the federal system, you see two forms of forfeiture: You see criminal forfeiture and civil forfeiture, and in my practice as a prosecutor, we hardly ever used civil forfeiture in any way because criminal forfeiture was the default position where we only were pursuing forfeiture of property after the resolution of the case. There were instances where civil forfeiture was appropriate, where we had criminal proceeds that were being used imminently to fund activity that it should not be used for, and those were instances where civil forfeiture made sense. That’s not how it’s being used in Philadelphia. I look forward to having a collaboration and good relationships with lawmakers to find the fit that we can all agree works best, not just for Philadelphia, but for everywhere. In the meantime, we’re stuck with the system that exists and all I can do now is lead the way on using the system that does exist in a responsible way.
What is your position on the death penalty?
I think it should be used very rarely and never in any instance in which there’s any possibility of innocence. I think that the death penalty should be only used in extreme cases. I, personally, have never pursued the death penalty in any case of my personal career. In the 10 years that I was in the U.S. Attorney’s office, I can only remember a single case where that office sought and received the death penalty in a case involving Kaboni Savage, where the facts were so overwhelming in terms of guilt, in terms of the need to stand up for the descendants, and to note the outrageous nature of the children and witnesses that he caused to be firebombed while he was already in prison. But these cases are few and far between, and as district attorney, I’m going to stop relying the use of the death penalty to be used as a tool for plea-bargaining or for jury selection. I think it is amoral to use the threat of death to try and pursue your prosecutions, and that we should only be using it in cases where we’ve eliminated doubt as to guilt and we have circumstances that clearly warrant it.
How would you fight violent crime and homicides as D.A.?
In addition to prosecuting people that commit heinous crime like homicide, we need to be smarter about what we’re doing. We need to do some of the things we did in the U.S. Attorney’s office when I was the U.S. Attorney’s violent crime impact team coordinator, where I was coordinating a multi-agency effort to identify people in Southwest Philadelphia that were most at risk to either kill other people or be killed themselves by gun violence. And we made sure that we were not just sweeping up every potential offender who was involved in firearms; we were focusing our resources on the people that were the most dangerous. By doing that, we were able to make a much bigger impact with our federal prosecution than we would have if we indiscriminately just tried to sweep up a bunch of folks that were possessing guns in Southwest Philadelphia. That was one of many things that helped to bring the gun violence rate down and the homicide rate down in Southwest Philadelphia during those years. In addition to that, though, we have to be finding ways to prevent people from turning to violent crime in the first place. There are a number of areas where we can do this, in terms of finding community-based solutions to give violent offenders an alternative, to show them a better way, but one way I’ll point you to specifically, and again, it’s a practice I want to borrow from the U.S. Attorney’s office where I spent 10 years, is the re-entry core program that is a star program.
We identified violent offenders who were in custody for violent offenses who were going to be getting out of prison, who were reentering society as citizens, and the question was, what’s going to happen next? What can we do besides punish them if they fail? Can we do anything to set them up for success? And I am proud of the work so many people, not just in the U.S. Attorney’s office but in the federal defender’s office, in the court system, in the information office, the results that were achieved by all these people working together with a common goal, to keep people safer by bringing down recidivism rates, by having a program where we incentivize success, where people listen. If you go through this program you’re being asked to do, at the end of the day, instead of being on supervision for five years, you’ll be on supervision for four or three. You’ll get to move on with your life. You’ll have that light at the end of the tunnel and we’re going to be here to help you. You’re going to work with a sponsor, mentor, a person in this program who’s gone through it, who’s going to help you not just get a job but keep a job. Who’s going to help you adjust to life outside of the prison walls, after you’ve spent so much time in it. By doing that, by bringing down recidivism rates, we are able to stop people who have been violent offenders from being repeat violent offenders. So we need to do not just one or two things, but we need to do as many things as we can, being creative and dynamic and bold to bring down gun violence and homicide in Philadelphia.
Do you think that there are racial disparities in charging and sentencing? If so, how should the D.A. deal with that?
There’s no question that there is systemic racism in American life that is reflected in the criminal justice system. What the district attorney needs to do is to be vigilant about combatting that at every step of the way. Prosecutors have to be absolutely vigilant about, number one, recognizing and understanding the existence of racial disparity and being proactive about that, not just admitting that the problem exists, but doing everything possible to combat that, to push up against that. I think that that requires not just self reflection, but an openness to criticism and a willingness to readapt an old decision, a willingness to readapt practices. You’re asking about the death penalty—I think that’s a great example where we have studies that show a racial disparity in the actual application of the death penalty. I think that it’s not enough to simply make sure that we’re getting rid of or we’re not hiring racist employees or racist prosecutors. We have to do a lot more than that. Good people can end up doing things that they think are right and end up having unintended consequences. And as a D.A., you need to be fearless about asking these questions, because we’re not going to solve these problems if we don’t recognize them, if we don’t admit that they’re there and do everything we can to push against them. As district attorney, I’m willing to be vigilant everyday about doing what we can to combat systemic racism so that we have a system that is fair for everyone.
Are you seeking support from the Fraternal Order of Police?
I’m seeking support from everyone and, in particular, I am seeking support from the Guardian Civic League, from the Fraternal Order for Police, from community groups. I want support from anyone who cares enough about this city to get involved in the political process. Now, the FOP and I do not see eye to eye on presidential politics, and I think if they were to support a progressive like me it would be a great sign of progress, given their endorsement of Donald Trump. But regardless of whether or not I have support of the leadership, I know that there are men and women, every day, working to protect and serve the people of the city, who know that I am fighting for victims of crime and I am fighting for a fair justice system. And I know that my reputation amongst police officers, whether they’re associated with the FOP, the Guardian Civic League or other law enforcement groups, is that of that of a dedicated professional who loves the city, who’s going to fight for Philadelphia every day as D.A.
Some other candidates in the race have said that they won’t take contributions from criminal defense attorneys that may stand across from them in court. What do you think about that?
I have to say, the pledge that I heard is a fairly cynical type of pledge, which says a number of things about the candidate making it. It says, number one, that they are going to take contributions from certain defense lawyers, just not ones who represent big corporations, who should have no fear of being prosecuted by the District Attorney’s office. And to me, that’s outrageous. I think one of the problems of the District Attorney’s office right now is that it has not taken on the fight that needs to be litigated, that there has been no appetite for going after the people at the top and instead, there has been an interest in getting easy convictions and going after the little guy instead of taking on the tough fights with people who can afford to hire these teams of lawyers from these giant law firms that represent big interest.
I think to have a pledge, which is that people who primarily do defense work before the D.A.’s office will not be on that list, but the other folks, the folks in the big firms, their contributions are welcome, is particularly cynical when we are in an election year where criminal justice reform is one of the top issues, and some of the people who are most in tune and in touch with the ways in which we need to address bail reform and other aspects of criminal justice reform are the people that are appearing before the D.A.’s office everyday. … I think it’s a fairly cynical way to justify unsuccessful fundraising efforts that do not have the support of people who are close to these issues. I could not be more proud of the fact that when I went up against assistant public defenders in court and we battled it out and they got a trial that was tough but fair, that some of those same folks decided to put aside their hard-earned money to support my campaign because they just wanted to see fairness back in the D.A.’s office.
What is your position on super PACs? Do you think they should be involved in D.A.’s races, and would you be okay with it if one supported you?
I have to say that the idea of sort of dark money buying a race is pretty troubling. I think that one of the main problems we’ve had with the current D.A.’s office has been a lack of transparency. I can say, in terms of what I have done, I have put together the most successful fundraising operation of this entire election season out of all the candidates, if you follow the campaign finance reports, because I have drawn support from literally hundreds and hundreds of donors, not just a couple of people who are writing big checks, which are subject to campaign finance limits, but by people who have given everything they could, people who are in some cases living month to month, check to check, who’ve set aside a little bit of money to try and do what they could to bring a new district attorney to Philadelphia. There’s contributions that moved me to tears. The idea that dark money could somehow buy a deal in a D.A. election is very troublesome.
Would you take gifts as D.A.?
Number one, there’s no reason for the district attorney to ever, ever, ever be receiving gifts from people who have business before the District Attorney’s office or from people who work for the district attorney. It makes no sense. As an assistant district attorney, I followed that standard. So did countless other prosecutors. It’s a very simple standard. If my wife wants to give me a gift, that’s fine. I think that the idea that there were people, friends of the district attorney giving him thousands and thousands of dollars in gifts rightly strikes people as in bad taste, and I think that we can certainly find a way to find some sort of reasonable cutoff in terms of the district attorney, who’s there as a public servant, who’s expected to be serving the people as a public servant, not taking gifts over a certain threshold, even from their friends.
There’s been a massive increase in opioid overdoses in the city. What, if anything, would you do as D.A. to deal with that problem?
There’s a couple things. First of all, in terms of the users, I think it’s becoming more and more clear that when we talk about the people buying and using opioids or other drugs, that the approach of treating this as a criminal matter is simply just not making sense and is not being an effective use of our resources. And I think that we started to see this with cannabis, and we need to be more and more creative and collaborative about finding ways to stop using all of the instruments and resources in the criminal justice system to be punishing people whose only crime is that of addiction. So I think that as we direct resources from the criminal justice system and start treating this addiction side of this as a health problem, I think we’re going to be better equipped to deal with a very complicated problem, which we still don’t have any easy solutions for. That’s in terms of the users and the addicts. And then in terms of the supply side, I think that, from a standpoint of equity and fairness, we need to be much more aggressive and involved in dealing with doctors who break the law. I think contributing to the opioid addiction problem [is] doing illegal overprescription of opiates, and I think that this is an area that if we fail to do that we are further contributing to the inequities of our justice system. So I think that on one hand, we need to offer more in terms of treatment and support for people struggling with addiction, and then also that we’re being equitable in our prosecution of the dealers.
You’ve already touched on how to deal with opioid users. What about users of other drugs: How would you handle them as D.A.?
I didn’t mean to limit that to opioid users. In general, I think that the district attorney needs to be a leader on this. We need to be moving away from treating drug addiction as a criminal issue. That isn’t to say that we stop enforcing laws against people who happen to be addicts. But when you talk to people about the crime of misdemeanor drug possession, and I’m not talking about a dealer who is possessing drugs that he intends to deal—I’m talking about people who are in possession of drugs that they intend to put in their bodies because they are addicted—to be meeting that crisis with prison and punitive sanctions has not worked and is not going to work. I think that, if we’re going to be spending state resources on this problem, it’s going to much more effective to treat this as a health issue—a mental health or physical health issue. And that is the best way to deal with that problem.
[Editor’s note: After this interview, Khan’s campaign released more information about his plan regarding drug users: “Khan proposed a new model for addressing drug abuse and addiction in Philadelphia by calling for treatment instead of prosecution for most simple drug possession cases. Prosecuting addicts for misdemeanor drug possession has proven expensive and ineffective, and has done little to solve the drug epidemic in Philadelphia and nationwide. Khan pointed to the success of Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion in jurisdictions like Seattle, where LEAD policies have drastically reduced recidivism and measurably improved the economic and health prospects of drug users.”]
Black Lives Matter has argued that police officers who commit crimes are often not held accountable. Do you agree with that?
There is no question that that has happened in this country, and that it is a problem that needs immediate attention—and that is exactly why my background in the prosecutor of corruption makes me ideally suited for this task. I think one of the reasons that we have both a problem with fairness and also the perception of unfairness is that we don’t have independent review, and I think that people can dare to make the claim that it is difficult for certain prosecutors to be investigating the same people that they’re working with every day on combatting violent crime. I think that the best way to address that problem is to have independent review of police officer misconduct. That can be achieved a number of different ways: It can be achieved by partnerships with the Attorney General’s office, the U.S. Attorney’s office, but I think the best approach—one approach that I certainly want to pursue—is having partnerships with other District Attorney’s offices, so we’re not punting to federal prosecutors who may or may not have jurisdiction over local offenses committed by police officers, that we are making sure that we’re having prosecutors who know how to prosecute corruption, who know how to hold people accountable for misconduct, but who can’t be accused and simply are not in a situation where they are in the uncomfortable position of having to investigate or potentially prosecute their friend or partners. I think if we address that in a systematic level, we are going to be much better equipped to deal with these problems, both in a way that gets the right result and also to have the confidence of the community.
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