Defense Lawyers Whine that DA’s “Too Tough”


​Can you believe this!? Defense attorneys are complaining that Manhattan DA Cy Vance — the guy whose job is, you know, to prosecute criminals — is “too tough!” The Daily News interviewed a bunch of defense attorneys (but also some prosecutors!), who are whining that Vance is clogging the city’s court system by refusing to hand out lenient plea deals and taking too many cases to trial. The gall!

One defense attorney told the News that “a lot of cases that should be settled are not getting settled,” speculating that maybe the DA’s office is refusing to plea bargain because they’re bored (the county has filed 4% fewer felony cases this year).

But then another anonymous lawyer suggested that prosecutors might just be stupidly stubborn, citing a “big-time drug case” where the the DA had a “weak” case and refused to offer a plea deal. (The defendant was apparently acquitted.)

The hard-line approach, along with Vance’s reported crackdown on serious misdemeanors and repeat offenses, has caused the number of courtroom trials to spike by a whopping 129 percent, which defense attorneys are complaining will jam the wheels of justice to a grinding halt.
But Vance seems pretty serious about having his cake and eating it, too. The News says he’s shuffled around top prosecutors’ duties to wade through the backlog of cases, causing a 10 percent drop in the number of cases that get dismissed. But at least the big guy isn’t afraid to get his hands a little dirty himself — in April, the New York Times even caught a rare glimpse of Manhattan’s top prosecutor in the courtroom.