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Manhattan DA's New Policies Called 'Recipe for Disaster'

Newly elected Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg policies of not prosecuting some categories of crime and reducing many sentences are a "recipe for violence and disorder," says the conservative Manhattan Institute's City Journal. Bragg modeled his memo on similar policy missives from Los Angeles’s George Gascón, Philadelphia’s Larry Krasner, and San Francisco’s Chesa Boudin—leading figures in the “progressive prosecutor” movement. Bragg will not charge defendants for resisting arrest. The police now can expect every arrest to be a brawl, in which the only person likely to be charged with a crime is a police officer, says the institute. Bragg will also decline to charge traffic infractions. This is the sort of de-prosecution decision that has led to deadly street racing and vehicular mayhem in cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis. He will prevent the police from charging people for trespassing. A quick look at San Francisco’s policy shows a predictable result: tent cities of the homeless in green spaces and streets.

Bragg’s policies for major crimes will have even more serious consequences, contends the institute. Bragg has directed that armed robberies of businesses no longer be charged as robberies, but only as larcenies. If a gun-wielding robber gets away with under $1,000, which is typically the case in a store robbery, the defendant will be charged solely with petty larceny, a misdemeanor. Felons in possession of a firearm will be charged only with misdemeanor offenses. Drug traffickers will be charged with felony drug dealing only on the rare occasions that they are caught actually in the act of delivering drugs. Drug dealers possessing any amount of drugs and packaging material, but not caught delivering the drugs, will instead be charged only with drug possession, a misdemeanor. A drug dealer caught with 50 kilos of heroin would be charged with misdemeanor drug possession, not drug trafficking. Who goes to jail on Bragg’s watch? Virtually no one. The only people Bragg recommends for pretrial detention and later prison sentences are murderers, shooters who actually cause serious injuries—firing 50 shots down a crowded street won’t get you locked up if you don’t hit anybody—sex offenders, and perpetrators of specific offenses such as domestic violence or public corruption.

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