Within the newest transfer in his ongoing public-relations marketing campaign, embattled Manhattan District Lawyer Alvin Bragg despatched a memo Friday to his line prosecutors that partially undid his controversial Day One memo.
Within the new discover, Bragg wrote that “the Memorandum has been a supply of confusion, quite than readability,” and reiterated his belief in his assistant district attorneys’ discretion.
As well as, he reversed two stipulations of the earlier memo. In Manhattan from right here on, robberies that contain a firearm will probably be prosecuted as such — even when the gun is unloaded — and gun possession will probably be prosecuted as a standalone felony. Bragg additionally repeated that his workplace will prosecute violence towards cops.
Bragg’s memo was reported as a major shift, a part of a wave of headlines which have confused his makes an attempt to easy over the disaster for real coverage change. Friday’s alterations are welcome, however they finally fail to deal with the considerations critics have been elevating about Bragg’s insurance policies since he took workplace.
Contemplate Bragg’s insistence that “violence towards cops is not going to be tolerated.” Nothing in his unique memo contradicted this. Slightly, the priority is that Bragg’s determination to not prosecute resisting arrest per se will take away a disincentive that stops otherwise-apprehended felons from fleeing.
Equally, Bragg has made no change to his near-total ban on using life with out parole or his instruction that ADAs deal with grownup defendants beneath 25 as cognitively much like juveniles, a unilateral elevating of the age of legal competency that flies within the face of the excessive offense charges of younger adults.
Extra usually, Bragg has not flinched from his “immutable” dedication to “making incarceration a matter of final resort.” In Manhattan, immediately as yesterday, solely offenders who commit a slender set of offenses will face pretrial detention or post-trial incarceration. As I’ve written previously, even when Bragg doesn’t cost creatively to keep away from necessary minimums, his acknowledged coverage nonetheless would enable stalkers, rioters and a few who assault youngsters to stroll free, in addition to affording freedom post-arrest to an amazing many offenders just because they haven’t but dedicated probably the most critical offenses.
As my colleague Robert VerBruggen wrote previously in Metropolis Journal, Bragg’s assertion that this decarceral agenda will truly scale back crime stretches the proof on incarceration and crime past breaking.
In actuality, meaningfully decreasing the population of Rikers and New York state prisons essentially means releasing violent or serial offenders again onto the streets — individuals who will inevitably pose a menace to public security.
Manhattanites, then, shouldn’t be fooled. Whereas Bragg has taken a step in the fitting path, he has miles nonetheless to go. One cheer for him — however allow us to hope there may be much more to come back.
Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow on the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of Metropolis Journal, the place this piece initially appeared.
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