It’s Christmas for criminals in New York. Well, almost all criminals; those who commit murder may still actually have consequences. New York City’s new District Attorney Alvin Bragg is making sweeping changes that has the NYPD, and everyone with a brain, concerned.
Bragg made a set of progressive policies public on Tuesday, including ordering “his prosecutors to stop seeking prison sentences for hordes of criminals and to downgrade felony charges in cases including armed robberies and drug dealing” reports The New York Post.
“The Office shall not seek a sentence of life without parole,” Bragg’s first memo to staff on Monday stated. Except maybe just a few…“This rule may be excepted only in extraordinary circumstances based on a holistic analysis of the facts, criminal history, victim’s input (particularly in cases of violence or trauma), and any other information available.”
“Under state law, that punishment is reserved for the most heinous of murderers, including terrorists, serial killers, cop killers and fiends who kill children younger than 14 during in connection with sex crimes or torture” reports The Post.
DEA president Paul DiGiacomo released a statement expressing his discontent with the new measures. “In Bragg’s Manhattan, you can resist arrest, deal drugs, obstruct arrests, and even carry a gun and get away with it.” The head of the NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association said “Bragg gives criminals the roadmap to freedom from prosecution and control of our streets.”
The New York Post published parts of Bragg’s memo which 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.