De Blasio: New System Will Bust Backlog of Gun Cases in NYC

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is set to lay out a new system to tackle gun-related violence.

Project Fast Track is aimed at breaking the backlog of gun cases, with a new pledge for every gun case to be handled within six months and to keep repeat gun offenders locked up.

Currently, there are 203 gun defendants waiting more than 6 months at Rikers Island, with an average of 10 and a half months for every case. 

Those charged with firearm possession will be sent to one of two dedicated gun courtrooms in state Supreme Court in Brooklyn. A pair of judges will oversee arraignments, indictments and trials there.

The courts will work with the new Gun Violence Suppression Division, consisting mostly of detectives. They'll handle all illegal firearms investigations. One officer will oversee each case.

The push comes after police officials complained last year that some gun-carrying suspects were not jailed after arrest. Many received low bail or were released on their own recognizance only to be arrested again later.

The new system was unveiled alongside U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. 

"We will be able to move these cases more quickly," said Thompson, as Bharara pledged the support of "all federal resources we have at our disposal." 

"We can now focus more and more resources on those remaining evildoers," de Blasio said. 

Some non-gun defendants hope it speeds up their justice system too. Anthony Woods, who spent time in Rikers on a gun charge, said, "This court system is horrible. Once you get in there, they're not trying to let you go home, nothing." 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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