In New York, 6,500 accused felons are getting off without so much as a slap on the wrists after the District Attorney declined to prosecute them last year.
According to the New York Post, the DA dropped all charges in approximately 17 percent of 38, 635 felony cases last year – almost double the rate of the previous year.
In 2019, felony charges were dropped an average of 8.7 percent of the time, and the three previous years had an even lower rate of 8 percent.
In 2020, a total of 6,522 cases were dropped despite there being 44 percent fewer cases than in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, 5, 985 cases were not prosecuted.
An anonymous source told The Post that the reason for the DA’s softness has to do with fewer experienced prosecutors and the “political nature” of the job.
The source said that there were “a lot of layers to the problem,” such as veteran prosecutors retiring or leaving for other jobs and “inexperienced [prosecutors] and cops making it harder to do trials.”
“The DAs are worried about getting re-elected. Plus, you throw in a bucket of ‘woke’ and no one is getting prosecuted,” the source added.
Another issue, according to the source, is the enactment of controversial “discovery” laws, which govern the disclosure of evidence to the defense. Even if a defendant takes a plea, evidence still needs to be provided – unless prosecutors drop the case altogether.
“Now, if someone takes a plea, you still have to provide the discovery information even though the case is closed. Before, you didn’t have to. If you DP [decline to prosecute] a case, there is no discovery,” the source said.
The Bronx burrough of New York saw the highest number of dropped cases at 2,408, or 28.5 percent. The conviction rate is at 27.4 percent, marking a 44 percent drop from 2019.
DA Darcel Clark and DA Eric Gonzalez together have declined to prosecute over 4,000 cases, while judges have dismissed twice as more. Other Burroughs, like Staten Island and Queens, saw smaller but still significant increases in dropped cases.
Retired NYPD detective sergeant and adjunct professor at the city’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Joseph Giacalone, expressed his frustration.
“There’s so many people that will lose their lives because of that. Eventually, it’s all going to backfire,” he said.
“It’s going to take its course, like everything else. The pendulum will swing back the other way, and they’ll stop electing people who are pretending to be a district attorney in name only,” Giacalone said.
A Bronx DA spokeswoman responded, “We prosecute cases when there is legally sufficient evidence. We decline to prosecute or defer prosecution in cases where police may need to gather more evidence or secure the cooperation of witnesses so that the case can move forward.”
“It is our duty as prosecutors to ethically assess each arrest as it comes in and determine if it is legally sufficient to proceed,” DA spokeswoman Denisse Moreno told The Post.
A Gonzalez spokesperson was proud of the results, and said his office “led the way” last year “by announcing that we would decline to prosecute low-level and non-violent cases in response to the public health emergency.”
The spokesperson said that the decrease in homicides and major crime this year was proof that their lenient actions were keeping the public safe.