“Manhattan DA to stop seeking prison sentences in slew of criminal cases”

Bragg

“Bragg’s memo also detailed the following instructions for prosecutors to reduce charges filed by cops in various cases:

  • Armed robbers who use guns or other deadly weapons to stick up stores and other businesses will be prosecuted only for petty larceny, a misdemeanor, provided no victims were seriously injured and there’s no “genuine risk of physical harm” to anyone. Armed robbery, a class B felony, would typically be punishable by a maximum of 25 years in prison, while petty larceny subjects offenders to up to 364 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
  • Convicted criminals caught with weapons other than guns will have those felony charges downgraded to misdemeanors unless they’re also charged with more serious offenses. Criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree, a class D felony, is punishable by up to 7 years behind bars.
  • Burglars who steal from residential storage areas, parts of homes that aren’t “accessible to a living area” and businesses located in mixed-use buildings will be prosecuted for a low-level class D felony that only covers break-ins instead of for more serious crimes. Those more serious crimes, class B and class C felonies, would be punishable by up to 25 and up to 15 years in prison respectively. 
  • Drug dealers believed to be “acting as a low-level agent of a seller” will be prosecuted only for misdemeanor possession. Also, suspected dealers will only be prosecuted on felony charges if they’re also accused of more serious crimes or are actually caught in the act of selling drugs. That felony would mean facing up to seven years behind bars.” NY Post

Comment: This fellow is a long time radical. His presence on stage with the Rev Al (Tawana) Sharpton is a dead giveaway as to where he is politically. “Payback is a bitch” might be his motto or perhaps “40 acres and a mule.” His “reforms” essentially posit that Blacks should not be punished for taking the White man’s things. After all, they are the products of racial and class oppression and are protected by the White Man’s selfish law. Drug dealers? Oh well, that would fall into the category of “40 acres and a mule.”

This will be fun to watch from afar. pl

https://nypost.com/2022/01/04/manhattan-da-alvin-bragg-to-stop-seeking-prison-in-some-cases/

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19 Responses to “Manhattan DA to stop seeking prison sentences in slew of criminal cases”

  1. Barbara Ann says:

    Life in Manhattan is about to become nasty, brutish and short. This is a charter for anarchy. Paging Kurt Russell.

    I note in the memo that prosecutors seeking a carceral sentence for ‘lesser’ crimes are now obligated to consider “the racially disparate use of incarceration”. And having considered this, a prosecutor is to make more requests to lock up white folk rather than poor oppressed minority perps who have committed the same crime?

  2. walrus says:

    I read that “Day One” letter with interest, not the NYPost bleatings. I don’t think anyone can criticize the stated policy principles which I have extracted and reformatted below. Every policy statement is supported by research findings referenced in the footnotes I deleted.

    Yes, of course its how its implemented that matters. Of course the Police and prison lobby will object. Of course crime victims want stiff sentences and of course the media will trumpet what is unarguably the easiest of stories to write – the weak sentencing story.

    What has to be considered is the overall objective of a justice system – its not about the victim, it’s about favouring a predictable if flawed system over the chaotic system of personal vendettas, gangs and payback killings that would replace it.

    I hope to G-d I never have to regret what i have written above.

    From the letter:

    “data, and my personal experiences, show that reserving incarceration for
    matters involving significant harm will make us safer.

    The policies are premised on several key principles.

    • Invest more in diversion and alternatives to incarceration: Well-designed initiatives that
    support and stabilize people – particularly individuals in crisis and youth – can conserve
    resources, reduce re-offending, and diminish the collateral harms of criminal prosecution.1

    • Reduce pretrial incarceration : Particularly given the ongoing crisis at Rikers, we must
    reserve pretrial detention for very serious cases. The data show that the overwhelming
    majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty.2 Studies
    show that even three days in jail can lead to a loss of housing, employment, and strain
    family connections and increase the likelihood failure to appear in court .3 Studies also
    indicate that incarceration, in and of itself, can create public safety risks.

    • Focus on Accountability, Not Sentence Length: Research is clear that, after a certain
    length, longer sentences do not deter crime or result in greater community safety.5 Further, because survivors and victims of crime often want more than the binary choice between
    incarceration and no incarceration, we will expand our use of restorative justice
    programming.

    • Limit Youth in Adult Court: Research shows that brain development continues until up to
    age 25,7 youth are physiologically subject to more impulsive behavior, and are still capable
    of growth and maturation. Prosecuting youth in our adult criminal court system can lead to recidivism, making neighborhoods less safe.

    • Actively Support Those Reentering: Supporting those returning from incarceration reduces recidivism and thereby makes communities safer. data, and my personal experiences, show that reserving incarceration for matters involving significant harm will make us safer.

    The policies are premised on several key principles.

    • Invest more in diversion and alternatives to incarceration: Well-designed initiatives that support and stabilize people – particularly individuals in crisis and youth – can conserve resources, reduce re-offending, and diminish the collateral harms of criminal prosecution.

    • Reduce pretrial incarceration : Particularly given the ongoing crisis at Rikers, we must reserve pretrial detention for very serious cases. The data show that the overwhelming majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty. Studies show that even three days in jail can lead to a loss of housing, employment, and strain family connections and increase the likelihood failure to appear in court . Studies also indicate that incarceration, in and of itself, can create public safety risks.

    • Focus on Accountability, Not Sentence Length: Research is clear that, after a certain
    length, longer sentences do not deter crime or result in greater community safety.5 Further, because survivors and victims of crime often want more than the binary choice between incarceration and no incarceration, we will expand our use of restorative justice programming.

    • Limit Youth in Adult Court: Research shows that brain development continues until up to age 25, youth are physiologically subject to more impulsive behavior, and are still capable of growth and maturation. Prosecuting youth in our adult criminal court system can lead to recidivism, making neighborhoods less safe.

    • Actively Support Those Reentering: Supporting those returning from incarceration reduces recidivism and thereby makes communities safer. We will scale up our support for services for those reentering and participate substantively in the parole process with a presumption in favor of release.

    Please note that a number of the policies set forth below create presumptions requiring supervisory approval and/or a writing to overcome the presumption. These presumptions are intended to reflect the fact that no set of policies can cover all factual circumstances. We will scale up our support for services for those reentering and participate substantively in the parole process with a presumption in favor of release..”

    Full text:

    https://www.manhattanda.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Day-One-Letter-Policies-1.03.2022.pdf

    • Pat Lang says:

      walrus
      I never thought of you as naive before.

      • walrus says:

        Col. Lang,

        Despite my age and experience I like to think I am hopeful, not naive.

        Yes, I know every “expletive” in New York will think that these policies are an open invitation to help themselves, but they must be tried.

        What is your alternative? Build more prisons? America already leads the world in that sad statistic.

        • Pat Lang says:

          walrus
          Return to the prosecution processes that intimidate criminals.

        • Fred says:

          walrus,

          “they must be tried.”

          Why? How are they working in Australia, or hasn’t the country tried them there yet? What is your perception of how they are working in San Francisco?

    • Fred says:

      “Invest more in diversion and alternatives to incarceration”

      That’s what School Superintendent Runcie did in Broward county for years. It lead directly to Nikolas Cruz shooting up the school. A lot of other violence happened there prior to that too. This is already achieving worse results.

      “it’s about favouring a predictable if flawed system over the chaotic system of personal vendettas, gangs and payback killings that would replace it.”

      That is already what happens. On a bright note the purge of middleclass white and non-black Americans from the Blue cities will accellerate, thus entrenching the power of the BLM wing of the Democratic Party. That’s why NYC has to allow non-citizen voting, otherwise they would get voted out by actual Americans.

    • Lysias says:

      Non-Hispanic blacks are only 12.3 percent of the population of New York County. The problem is leftist whites.

    • Ishmael Zechariah says:

      Walrus,
      Your statement “Yes, of course its how its implemented that matters. Of course the Police and prison lobby will object. Of course crime victims want stiff sentences and of course the media will trumpet what is unarguably the easiest of stories to write – the weak sentencing story. puzzled me. Do you really consider the “Police and prison lobby objections” and the ease of newspaper hacks equivalent to the demands of victims? Do victims have a right to “justice” as well as criminals? Who is going to reimburse a bodega owner for looted material? Will you do so, or will you let the hapless taxpayers foot the bill? If the kinfolk of a murder victim neutralize a criminal 20 years later because they did not feel that they had “justice”, will you be as lenient towards them as the original perpetrator? Is there any truth to the old saying: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”?

      Ishmael Zechariah

    • John Minehan says:

      DA Bragg is a Harvard Law grad with an enviable reputation as an Assistant US Attorney (“AUS”) in the Southern District of NY (the “SDNY”). He also worked for the NYS AG’s office in positions of increasing responsibility under AGs Spitzer and Schneiderman (both AGs had problems on a personal level but ran tight ships). Bragg was a key player in high profile cases like the investigation of the Trump Organization and Harvey Weinstein.

      Based on that and the above-comment, I think it might be worthwhile to reserve judgement.

      However. one key factor here is how much will the Mayor’s Office and One Police Plaza (AKA the “Power House”) cooperate with the NY County DA, especially if the other 4 DAs go in other directions? How much support does DA Bragg get with the rollout getting such bad press?

      There seems to be a strong feeling that Mayor de Blasio went in substantially the wrong direction, as evidenced by controversial radio personality Curtis Sliwa’s fairly strong performance (in an overwhelmingly Democratic city) in his losing race against Mayor Adams, a retired NYPD Captain. Mayor Adams, to some degree ran against Mayor de Blasio’s record and on his background as a “Boss” in the NYPD. This may be a tough sell.

      I’m very willing to be pleasantly surprised. But there are enough x factors in the equation that I won’t be bitterly disappointed if things don’t work out

  3. Fred says:

    Blacks are America’s sacred race. We can thank Obama and company for setting things back 5 or 6 decades.

  4. Claudius says:

    Sometime soon (I hope) some hot shot network news face or some Wall Street crook will get to experience the joy of having the limo overrun by the mob, and watch as the private security guys evaporate, knowing that the law or their employer will not defend them if they whack the attacking thugs. “Outta here” will be the watchword. Sane doormen and building security will need to beat feet as well.
    These people voted for it and publicly pushed for it. Hope they enjoy it!!
    May there NOT be enough helos to evacuate this lot from NYC.
    May they recall in their dreams the Princesse de Lamballe being physically torn apart by the Parisian mob; might have a sobering effect.

    • Bill Roche says:

      Dear Walrus. My wife and I are 75 and are life long residents of a wonderful state. We grew up in Yonkers, both worked in NYC and know it well. It has had its day. The City Council and this new D.A. are about to unleash the forces of anarchy upon the town. People throwing water on police officers heads will be a trifle. Stay out of the city. Yes the words “nasty, brutish, and short” come to mind. You aint seen nothing until you’ve seen… New York, New York.

  5. Eric Newhill says:

    The San Francisco equivalents of the NY leftist lunatics are now publicly reversing themselves after a few destructive years and a growing cross section of ticked off constituents. They claim they will now get tough on crime/criminals.

    So NY is not only behind the times, but somehow unaware of how it worked out for the left coast. Stupid, blind and crazy. Excellent. I relish the thought of NYers going feral on each other until none remain as much as I did the vision of the whole damn city sinking beneath a rising sea. Fortunately, the former is a high probability event, whereas the latter is yet another daffy leftist fantasy.

  6. Barbara Ann says:

    One sentence in the part of the memo Walrus quotes got me interested:

    “Research is clear that, after a certain length, longer sentences do not deter crime”.

    The citation note in the memo for that research leads to a 2 page DOJ leaflet entitled “Five Things About Deterrence”. This includes the following:

    “Some policymakers and practitioners believe that increasing the severity of the prison experience enhances the “chastening” effect, thereby making individuals convicted of an offense less likely to commit crimes in the future. In fact, scientists have found no evidence for the chastening effect.”

    Ah, those scientists again. One such is Daniel S. Nagin, author of a 2013 essay “Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century” upon which DOJ leaflet is based. The essay is scholarly work summarizing the current state of research on deterrence in criminal justice, there is no new science in it. The paper can be found here. On page 39, is Nagin’s sweeping conclusion on the relationship between sentence length and deterrence: “As a consequence, the deterrent return to increasing an already long sentence is small, possibly zero”. The referred to figure 3 is missing from this copy of the paper but I found it elsewhere. It is simply a generic graph showing what common sense would expect; diminishing returns of deterrence with sentence length. The graph has no scale on either axis, “long” is not defined.

    From this “science” Bragg presumably concludes that would be armed robbers will be no more likely to engage in the act knowing that they now face a maximum of 1, rather than 25 years in jail. Maybe, but to my eyes this policy looks like an enormous inducement to hitherto petty criminals to move up to the big time in the sure knowledge that there is no extra penalty for doing so. Perhaps it hinges on the concept of an armed robbery with a deadly weapon that entails no “genuine risk of physical harm”. I must confess I’m having a hard time imagining such a scenario.

    Missing from this research is the expected reaction to this criminals’ charter by the LE community (mass early retirements/recruitment difficulties?) and its consequent impact on their ability to uphold the law in the first place.

    • Eric Newhill says:

      Barbara Ann,
      The RICO laws, new as of the 1980s, destroyed the Italian/American mafia (La Cosa Nostra). Sure, they’re still around, but only a wispy shadow of their former power.

      Members could get caught up in racketeering charges and faced more time than they were willing do. Any of the official members (“made men”) was willing to prove his manhood and loyalty (being a “stand-up guy”) by doing a 5,6 even 10 year “bid”. In fact, most had. However, facing a de facto life sentence under the harsh RICO laws of 40 or 50 or more years was too much. They’d break omerta and go into witness protection while testifying and causing the conviction and long-term sentencing of their former partners.

      Fear of arrest under RICO directly hindered formation of criminal conspiracies because members could hardly meet and plan. They lived in constant paranoia concerning reaching out to and incorporating with new business stakeholders because those connections could lead to arrest one way or another.

      It was all about the increased ability to sentence and the increased sentences. That is all well documented and widely acknowledged in both organize crime and law enforcement circles. Somehow, the scientists have missed some obvious evidence and wisdom within that documentation.

    • JerseyJeffersonian says:

      Ja, well, maybe this clown of a DA should explain to us just how it is, when any weapon is flashed in the commission of a crime, that the victim should just chill, knowing in their heart that they are under no “genuine risk of physical harm”.

      Sweet Jesus, maybe the victim is lucky enough to not have the weapon – firearm, knife, bludgeoning instrument, whatevs – used on them; but does this mean that they have not suffered an emotional trauma? Is that not culpable behavior on the part of the criminal?

      But I guess that menacing, threatening behavior by the criminal should just get a pass if he is younger than 25 (or was that 27…) years of age, ’cause the poor, poor youf was probably merely confused. Or suffering from YTs oppression. Yeah, come to think of it, that’s got to be at the root. The foul miasma of White Supremacy is what drove him mad, and hence he cannot really be culpable! Instead of the insanity defense, we now have the Blue-eyed Devil Defense. Well, we kind of knew where this was heading, didn’t we, so this should come as no great surprise.

      Just gotta say, this DA will prove to be a veritable godsend to New York City. Start spreadin’ the news!

  7. Eliot says:

    Fred,

    “ Blacks are America’s sacred race. We can thank Obama and company for setting things back 5 or 6 decades.”

    The Democrats may permanently break the country.

    – Eliot

  8. backsdrummer says:

    My comments are not based upon scholarly papers, but on personal experience from policing in an urban area with an almost exclusively black population in the early 1990s. People being people, I do not think my observations have become obsolete due the decades that have passed.

    I recall at that time it was easy to make bond and sentencing was lenient. I recall many black victims reporting crimes by their black neighbors. My victims did not want to be lectured to by scholars and progressive politicians. They wanted protection.

    I recall seeing the same guys doing the same crimes over and over again, month after month, against the same victims. I recall suspects being arrested, making easy bond, and returning to do the same crimes against the same victims over and again.

    These neighborhoods, where the “harmless” criminals roamed freely, attracted other, more violent criminals. I recall discovering young black men who had been shot many times at very close range by other young black men. They continued to shoot even after their victim was dead, purposely mutilating the body to send a message – all over who had the right to sell crack there.

    I’d like for these scholars to live for a couple years in the high-crime neighborhoods and literally sleep in the beds they are making for others. I’d like to see them declare a person who repeatedly violates the sanctity and security of their home “harmless.”

    I do not trust at face value the data, or the objectivity, or the motivation of any study that declares huge numbers of suspects, “harmless,” simply because the study is “scholarly” and I think it is ridiculous to run experiments using real neighborhoods as lab rats without much more scrutiny. Who really checks the data? The methodology? Who does the peer review? Can those making the peer review be trusted?

    I recall that those that could, fled from my old neighborhoods. Some armed themselves. None of them thought they were, “safer” from the lenience. Now I hear my old neighborhoods were better off back when laws were not strictly enforced and bond was easy and cheap or free.

    I weep for my old neighborhoods.

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