Alvin Bragg, soft-on-crime Manhattan District attorney, has reduced more than half of his felony cases down to misdemeanors while simultaneously losing half the felony cases that reach court.
Bragg has reduced 52% of felony cases from felony to misdemeanors since he took office Jan. 1. This compares to 39% for all of 2019. According to data released by the DA’s Office, the percentage of cases that the office has downgraded between 2013 and 2020 was never higher than 40%.
Bragg’s office is only 51% successful in obtaining a conviction when serious felony charges have been brought against them. This is down from 68% in 2019, which was the year before the pandemic.
He declined to prosecute 35 per cent more felony cases in 2019 than in 2019. 1,119 cases have been filed so far in 2022, compared with 828 three-years ago.
Only 49% of felony cases were granted bail by the DA’s office this year, compared to 69% in 2019. Despite being eligible in 2019, almost all non-violent felonies can now be granted bail under state bail reform.
The number of misdemeanor convictions has also fallen — 29% this year, compared to 68% in 2019.
Bragg, who ran last year on the promise of reform in criminal justice, proudly displays numbers on his website. He is the only of five city district attorneys to do this.
Jennifer Harrison, founder of Victims Rights NY, stated that “the people in charge right at the moment want to talk about guns violence and getting these shots down.” “But I wonder how many incidents where the charges were dismissed, downgraded or dropped involved guns and weapons. And how will we eradicate violence when people like Alvin Bragg control?
Harrison said that Bragg should “stop being a public defender and do his job to enforce the law and prosecute the crime properly.”
After taking office, Bragg published a controversial “Day One” memo. It stated that he would not seek prison sentences for many crimes and would reduce felony charges, including those involving armed robberies or drug dealing.
Shortly after, William Rolon, a career criminal, was arrested for attacking a store worker using a knife. He was only charged with a misdemeanor . A judge then told him that Bragg’s new policies had made him “feel lucky”.
Bragg reversed some of the policies in February. This included allowing commercial robberies with knives to continue as felonies.
This year, 1,210 felony cases resulted in prison sentences, a 29% decrease from 1,699 in 2019. The drop in misdemeanor cases was even more dramatic — 78%, with only 522 ending in prison in comparison to 2,413 in 2019.
Madeline Brame, a Manhattan mom, is anguished by the verdict in the case against four defendants in the 2018 killing of Hason Correa (35). Bragg’s office offered two plea deals, one for second-degree murder, and the fourth for gang assault. The trial began earlier this month.
“We are not getting justice or closure. The victims are left hanging. The victims and their families are not given any consideration. Brame said that there was none. Brame stated that there should not be any plea deals for lesser charges or downgrading charges.
Bragg was charged with giving Justin Washington a sweetheart plea agreement in August. Washington was accused of raping his teen-age relative. Washington was then arrested for new sex crime charges the following month. According to the DA’s office, he will seek a more severe sentence in the rape case.
Bragg did take down Jose Alba, a bodega worker who attacked him in his Harlem shop. After much public protest Bragg dropped his murder charge.
Major crimes have risen in Manhattan with a 38% rise through Nov. 20, in Manhattan South, and 17% in Manhattan North, respectively, compared to last year.
“The main question is, why do you have a DA’s office?” Why is the DA’s Office there? He is openly against punishment. He is avowedly against responsibility. These numbers reflect that,” Eugene O’Donnell, a John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor and an ex-NYPD officer and Brooklyn prosecutor, said.
Bragg’s office stated that it was still dealing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is currently working under the burdensome discovery reforms implemented by the state for 2019. Bragg’s office also claimed that not all felony cases were correctly classified at arrest.
“The truth is that we have prosecuted 459 fewer felonies this past year and we have three-times as many gun convictions this year this year than all of 2019…. We will continue prosecuting violence drivers, prioritizing safety and fairness for every case,” Danielle Filson, a spokesperson, said.