On Monday, the new Manhattan, New York District Attorney, Alvin Bragg, released a memo in which he stated the city would no longer seek prison sentences for crimes except for homicides, assaults resulting in serious injury, domestic violence felonies, sex offenses, public corruption, and “major economic crimes.” When asked by reporters whether someone like Bragg, who wanted to bar prosecutors from seeking sentences of life without parole, could be on “Team Public Safety,” New York City mayor Eric Adams replied, “Yes, you can.”
Bragg said the city would not prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, refusing to pay the fare for public transportation, trespass unless the trespass were a family offense, any violation, traffic infraction, or other non-criminal offense not accompanied by a misdemeanor or felony, resisting arrest, (except for the act of resisting arrest for any crime not included on the declination list), or prostitution.
On Tuesday, New York City mayor Eric Adams was asked, “You said earlier today that Alvin Bragg is on Team Public Safety. Since his memo bars prosecutors from seeking sentences of life without parole, if you can’t seek a sentence of life without parole, can you be on Team Public Safety?”
“Yes, you can,” Adams stated. “I like Alvin; I believe he’s a former prosecutor un the U.S. Attorney’s office. He was a great prosecutor; I believe that he’s going to be a good district attorney, and I’m going to sit down and have a conversation with him as we build out what we need to do around public safety so that we’re all on the same page. And so I think that he’s focused on doing that and I think he’s on Team Public Safety. Team Public Safety is not only handcuffs; Team Public Safety is also ending the pipeline that turns people into career criminals based on certain actions. And I want to understand what he’s doing and I’m looking forward to sitting down and speaking with him.”
Bragg’s memo stated:
The Office will not seek a carceral sentence other than for homicide or other cases involving the death of a victim, a class B violent felony in which a deadly weapon causes serious physical injury, domestic violence felonies, sex offenses in Article 130 of the Penal Law, public corruption, rackets, or major economic crimes, including any attempt to commit any such offense under Article 110 of the Penal Law, unless required by law. For any charge of attempt to cause serious physical injury with a dangerous instrument.
Regarding sentencing, it added:
When seeking a carceral sentence, the following rules apply, absent exceptional circumstances:
For a determinate sentence, the Office will request a maximum of 20 years.
For an indeterminate sentence other than one with a maximum of life, the Office will request no more than a maximum of 20 years, absent exceptional circumstances.
For an indeterminate sentence with a maximum of life, the Office will request no more than a minimum of 20 years, unless required by law.
The Office shall not seek a sentence of life without parole.
In exceptionally serious cases such as homicides where lengthy periods of incarceration are justified, ADAs shall consider the use of restorative justice as a mitigating factor in determining the length of the sentence, only when victims or their loved ones consent.
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