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6,500 accused NYC felons go scot-free as DAs decline to prosecute

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District attorneys throughout the Big Apple final 12 months declined to prosecute accused felons at almost twice the speed of 2019 — letting greater than 6,500 suspects off the hook, The Publish has realized.

Prosecutors dropped all costs in 16.9 % of the 38,635 felony {cases} that had been closed in New York Metropolis throughout 2020, based on knowledge compiled by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The 12 months earlier than, that fee was simply 8.7 % and the typical for 2016 to 2019 was a fair decrease 8 %, the statistics present.

Though far fewer {cases} had been disposed of final 12 months, the 6,522 defendants whose costs had been dropped exceeded the 5,985 who weren’t prosecuted in 2019.


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The overall variety of {cases} closed in 2020 plunged by a large 44.1 % final 12 months amid court closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic — down from 69,119 the 12 months earlier than.

New York Metropolis cops safe and examine a capturing scene on August 20, 2020 in downtown Brooklyn, New York. (Picture by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis through Getty Pictures)

A regulation enforcement supply stated there have been “numerous layers to the issue,” together with veteran prosecutors retiring or leaving for different jobs and “inexperienced [prosecutors] and cops making it tougher to do trials,” in addition to the political nature of DAs’ jobs.

 “The DAs are frightened about getting re-elected,” the supply stated.

“Plus, you throw in a bucket of ‘woke’ and nobody is getting prosecuted.”

The supply additionally pointed to controversial, lately enacted legal guidelines governing the disclosure of evidence to the defense, generally known as “discovery.”


“Now, if somebody takes a plea, you continue to have to supply the invention data despite the fact that the case is closed,” the supply stated.

“Earlier than, you didn’t must. Should you DP [decline to prosecute] a case, there isn’t a discovery.”

The borough with the very best variety of felony {cases} that weren’t prosecuted final 12 months was the Bronx, the place DA Darcel Clark dumped 2,408, or 28.5 %.

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. speaks at global cyber security symposium at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York on November 18, 2015 in New York City. Vance called for a better way for government agencies to access private data in an effort to fight crime.  (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

Manhattan District Legal professional Cyrus Vance, Jr. speaks at world cyber safety symposium on the Federal Reserve Financial institution of New York on November 18, 2015 in New York Metropolis. Vance known as for a greater means for presidency companies to entry non-public knowledge in an effort to combat crime.  (Picture by Andrew Burton/Getty Pictures)

One other 2,365 {cases}, or 28 %, had been dismissed by judges, serving to push the speed at which defendants had been convicted and sentenced within the Bronx to a dismal 27.4 %, down from 44.2 % in 2019.

However that quantity was even decrease in Brooklyn, the place it dropped to simply 21.1 % final 12 months from 41.5 % in 2019.

DA Eric Gonzalez declined to prosecute 2,206 {cases}, or 17.8 %, and judges dismissed greater than twice as many: 5,335 or 42.9 %.

In Manhattan, outgoing DA Cyrus Vance Jr. declined to prosecute 11.7 % of the {cases} disposed of final 12 months, up from 7.6 % in 2019.

Solely two boroughs noticed district attorneys decline to prosecute {cases} final 12 months at charges that didn’t attain double digits.

In Queens, below DA Melinda Katz, the quantity was 9.9 %, up from 5 % in 2019, and on Staten Island, below DA Michael McMahon, it was 8.2 %, up from 4.8 %.

The crest on the jacket of a New York City Police Officer while on patrol.

The crest on the jacket of a New York Metropolis Police Officer whereas on patrol.
(iStock )

Final 12 months’s improve within the proportion of {cases} deserted by prosecutors was additionally accompanied by steep decreases within the variety of convictions and sentences of incarceration, the statistics present.

Simply 7.4 % of defendants 18 and older had been convicted of felonies and 10.5 % had been convicted of misdemeanors, in comparison with 12.1 % and 17.1 %, respectively, in 2019.

And solely 3.8 % of {cases} that started as felonies resulted in judges sending criminals to jail for a 12 months or extra or to jail for shorter phrases throughout 2020.

In 2019, jail sentences had been handed down in 7 % of {cases} and jail sentences in 7.2 % of {cases}.

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD detective sergeant and adjunct professor on the metropolis’s John Jay Faculty of Prison Justice, was outraged by the state of affairs, saying, “There’s so many individuals that may lose their lives due to that.”

“Ultimately, it’s all going to backfire,” he stated.

“It’s going to take its course, like all the pieces else. The pendulum will swing again the opposite means, they usually’ll cease electing people who find themselves pretending to be a district legal professional in identify solely.”

A Bronx DA spokeswoman stated, “We prosecute {cases} when there may be legally ample proof. We decline to prosecute or defer prosecution in {cases} the place police may have to collect extra proof or safe the cooperation of witnesses in order that the case can transfer ahead.”

A suspect shoots a man in broad daylight in the Bronx, inches away from two terrified children. (NYPD)

A suspect shoots a person in broad daylight within the Bronx, inches away from two terrified kids. (NYPD)

“It’s our obligation as prosecutors to ethically assess every arrest because it is available in and decide whether it is legally ample to proceed,” spokeswoman Denisse Moreno added.

A Gonzalez spokesperson stated his workplace “led the way in which” on the top of the pandemic final 12 months “by asserting that we’d decline to prosecute low-level and non-violent {cases} in response to the general public well being emergency.”

“We’ve got since resumed our pre-pandemic observe, which incorporates sturdy diversion applications whereby we decline prosecution if people efficiently full their necessities,” the spokesperson stated.

“The truth that homicides and shootings in Brooklyn have decreased by over 20 % in comparison with final 12 months and main crime is down 5 % proves that our method has been profitable and stored the general public protected.”


A McMahon spokeswoman declined to remark and not one of the spokespersons for the opposite DAs’ workplaces instantly returned requests for remark.

A spokesman for the Workplace of Court docket Administration declined to touch upon behalf of the town’s judiciary.

Extra reporting by Tina Moore and Larry Celona

This report originally appeared in the New York Post. 

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