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This morning, we told you about a new report that shows the Bronx District Attorney’s Office only pursues about 75 percent of its cases, which is a dramatically lower rate than the other four D.A.’s offices in the Big Apple.
According to the report, the Bronx D.A. pursues a mere 76.6 percent of its cases. Collectively, the four other New York City D.A.’s offices declined to
pursue 10.5 percent of their cases last year, with Staten Island dropping 12.1
percent of its cases and Manhattan dropping 4.8 percent.
The report credits the low percentage to an internal policy of Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s office that says prosecutors
should not pursue a case if the victim doesn’t give a statement within
24 hours of an arrest.
No other D.A.’s office in New York has such a policy — they also have much fewer dropped cases.
Regardless, Bronx D.A.’s Office spokesman Steven Reed has provided the Voice with an explanation, which you can find below.
“Far too many Bronxites continue to become victims of crime. Yet, the fact remains that at times one citizen will have another arrested when no criminal conduct occurred. A major part of doing justice involves screening out such cases, as soon as possible. This saves falsely accused defendants from spending time in jail, and saves resources which are badly needed for cases involving provable cases against guilty defendants.
Critics fail to understand that when a defendant has already been arrested courts require that he or she be arraigned within 24 hours. The best way to achieve all of our goals is by actually speaking to accusers as soon as possible. That process is not inflexible; we certainly do work with victims whom we believe need more time to “get it together.” When additional evidence is required prosecution is deferred and NYPD is advised of what we need to build a case.
Being a DA is more than just prosecuting. The evaluation of cases is one of our most important responsibilities. When the consequence is depriving a citizen of their liberty, we will continue to screen to ensure that sufficient evidence is put before the court. Every case is different, and we try to achieve the best results for all concerned.”