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Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

 

Criminal Justice

Criminal Justice

  • queens crim court gmap

    (photo: map data ©2019 Google)


    As the Queens District Attorney race begins to take shape, the most controversial case the borough has seen in recent years will return to the headlines. Jury selection is slated to begin Tuesday in the retrial of Chanel Lewis for the 2016 murder of Howard Beach jogger Karina Vetrano.

    A new set of jurors will thus consider the same evidence presented by prosecutors in the first trial. At least one crucial component of the prosecution’s case raises an important question for the seven candidates vying to replace

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  • may bdblasio office

    Mayor de Blasio discusses marijuana policy (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    New York seems poised to enact the country’s first automatic record-clearing guidelines for past marijuana convictions. Doing so, advocates and officials say, could remove barriers for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers whose convictions -- for behavior that may soon be legal -- complicate tasks ranging from obtaining child custody to job searching to renting an apartment.

    Automatic record-clearing is part of a larger ongoing discussion on legalizing adult

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  • daocvcdmv4aezxir

    Queens DA Brown and several ADAs (photo: @QueensDABrown)


    Thankfully, “progressive prosecutor” is the new “tough-on-crime” prosecutor, and the trend has been on the rise ever since hardliner Anita Alvarez lost her re-election campaign for Cook County District Attorney in 2016 and progressive crusader Larry Krasner won his campaign for Philadelphia D.A. in 2017. Over the last two years, district attorney elections from Houston to Boston have promised substantial criminal justice reform, and many across the United States are looking to the 2019 Queens District

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  • MTA fare beating

    (photo: MTA)


    The MTA seems determined to blame New Yorkers for the mess it’s in.

    The authority’s latest excuse is that poor people who jump turnstiles are responsible for the MTA’s financial woes. The MTA and the politicians and bureaucrats who control it should take responsibility for their own actions -- and inactions -- that have led to the city’s mass transit decline. Instead, the MTA seems to want to pit New Yorkers against each other.

    The MTA and NYPD pledged last week to crack down on fare evaders. The ...

  • mayorsoffice police

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    How should police respond when someone is drinking a beer in the street, dropping litter, or engaging in other minor offenses? Up until a year ago, a criminal summons was the only answer, and if the person didn’t show up in court, he or she could be arrested on a warrant.

    As a result, New Yorkers had as much contact with the system for low-level offenses as for serious crimes.

    Consider that in the first half of 2017, there were 112,000 criminal summonses compared to 98,000 misdemeanor arrests

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  • vanessa gibson city council john mccarten

    Council Member Vanessa Gibson (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    A City Council bill that creates an alternative to the state’s “disorderly conduct” statute, and mandates lower punishment for the infraction, became law on Friday along with numerous other bills relating to protecting undocumented immigrant New Yorkers. The bill, sponsored by City Council Member Vanessa Gibson, chair of the public safety committee, also adds another plank to the Council’s broad agendas of criminal justice reform and

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  • nypd appreciation night

    (photo via @NYPDnews)


    Tyrone Tomlin was standing outside of a deli holding a soda and drinking straw when two police officers from Brooklyn North Narcotics arrested him for possession of drug paraphernalia. The officers asserted that, “based on their training and experience,” Tomlin possessed an item commonly used to package heroin -- the drinking straw. An Assistant District Attorney took the officers at their word and recommended bail,

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  • mccray bassett thrivenyc

    First Lady McCray & Health Comm. Bassett (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    There is a hot topic trending in the debate over the war on drugs: should there be safe places for intravenous drug users to inject? A panel of experts from around the world convened a symposium in New York City to share their experiences and the panelists and their sponsor, VOCAL NY, called for such a facility in the city. They are completely correct.

    There are an estimated 100 supervised injection

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