Bronx DA Declines to Prosecute More Than Other DAs: Report

If victims don't talk with prosectors within 24 hours, then Bronx DA Robert Johnson often declines to prosecute, WNYC reports

Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012  |  Updated 1:41 PM EDT
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Bronx DA Prosecutes Less: Report

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Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson

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A review of city records has found that people accused of crimes in the Bronx have a far greater chance of walking away without charges than those in New York City's four other boroughs.

Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson declines to prosecute thousands more cases than the city's other district attorneys, according to the NPR radio station WNYC.

The radio station says one of the main reasons is that the Bronx district attorney usually declines to prosecute if a victim isn't interviewed within 24 hours after an arrest.

A chief assistant to Johnson says she is confident that the district attorney's office has real reasons not to bring charges when it declines to prosecute. The assistant, Odalys Alonso, says the office has long had a policy that victims must come forward early.

Because of this policy, Bronx prosecutors declined to prosecute almost 25 percent of their cases last year, according to WNYC's Ailsa Chang.  The Bronx DA decline rate is almost four times higher than that of the district attorneys in Manhattan or Brooklyn, WNYC reported.

The main reason the Bronx DA declines cases is that victims won't cooperate, according to WYNC. In the other boroughs the most common reasons the DAs choose not to prosecute is because of insufficient evidence or because arrest paperwork is incomplete.

For 13 of the last 16 years, Bronx prosecutors have had the highest decline-to-prosecute rate in the city, WNYC reported. That rate increased after Johnson took office in 1989, WNYC reported.

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