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Nothing is more perilous to the safety of a community than a prosecutor who won’t enforce the law. Yet, in New York, a close second-place goes to a “justice” system in which elected Democrats consciously undermine the community’s capacity to detain dangerous criminals.
If you’re wondering how it could be that a gang of illegal aliens is able to maul two New York City cops near Times Square in broad daylight and on video, consider the toxic combination of those two factors.
It is commonly although mistakenly believed that there is a right to bail – i.e., that a person who has been arrested is supposed to be released from custody pending trial. It is understandable that many of us are under this misimpression. After all, under constitutional due process principles, an accused is presumed innocent; and the Eighth Amendment speaks of setting bail.
But let’s look more carefully. What the amendment says is that “Excessive bail shall not be required.” That does not mean bail must be set in every case. It means that in cases in which bail is set – i.e., in cases in which pretrial release is appropriate – the bail terms must not be set so high that a defendant could not possibly meet them.
If a person of sparse means is accused of a petty theft, it would be ridiculous to set bail at, say, $1 million; the accused doesn’t have those kinds of resources, or know people who have them and would be willing to post them on his behalf.
Yet, some crimes are sufficiently serious, and some defendants are so rootless in the jurisdiction where the crime took place, that bail should not be set. Plus, due process does not mean bail is required; it simply means bail may not be denied absent a fair legal process, after which the suspect may be detained. That doesn’t undermine the presumption of innocence; the presumption will still apply at trial, which is what it’s intended for.
Traditionally, the first inquiry in bail questions is risk of flight: What conditions are necessary to assure the court that the accused will show up for trial and other court proceedings? When a person is a just-arrived illegal alien who is video-recorded committing a serious crime, he should be detained as a flight risk. He has no roots in the community – indeed, his roots are in another country.
Moreover, under federal law he should already be detained because he is illegally present, which gives him an even more powerful incentive to flee if released. But of course, New York is a so-called “sanctuary city,” which does not recognize and refuses to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.
Plainly, New York is a slave to woke progressivism. What passes for logic in that ideology holds that, because non-white defendants are prosecuted at higher rates, the system must be inherently racist – it couldn’t possibly be that other groups offend at higher rates (as every objective study of crime data and crime-victim reporting proves). In New York, then, it is routine to find high-flight-risk offenders released without conditions – and then to find that they flee, often after committing more crimes.
Outside of a terrorist attack, there is no offense that more patently illustrates a person’s incorrigible dangerousness than attacks on police officers when they are in the act of carrying out their duties to protect the community and enforce its laws.
The second inquiry in setting bail is dangerousness. Here, the Empire State truly stands out. Throughout the United States, if prosecutors establish that no combination of conditions can satisfy the court that, if released, the accused will not imperil the community at large, including witnesses in his case, the court may detain the defendant pending trial. That is federal law. It is also the law in every state … except New York.
Think about it. Outside of a terrorist attack, there is no offense that more patently illustrates a person’s incorrigible dangerousness than attacks on police officers when they are in the act of carrying out their duties to protect the community and enforce its laws. Suspects who willfully attack armed police officers are not going to be restrained by bail conditions. Everywhere else in the country, such defendants are detained.
But not in New York. In New York, judges are forbidden from taking into account that an accused’s criminal history and/or the nature of the crime he is credibly accused of committing render him unfit for release on bail conditions.
Even with New York’s asinine bail laws, there was plenty of basis to seek detention for the gang of illegal aliens that viciously beat the two cops last week. But it takes a prosecutor to make the case. District attorney Alvin Bragg is a progressive Democrat who resists prosecutions that would anger progressives – he’ll happily indict Donald Trump on a preposterous false business records case (and stack enough counts that Trump faces a potential of over a century in prison); but don’t ask him to seek bail for illegal aliens who beat up cops.
Note: After the public outrage over the release of the first five suspects without bail conditions, Bragg’s office did manage to have bail set on two others who are now detained pending further proceedings. It can be done. The prosecutor just has to be willing to prosecute.
The first five illegal-alien cop-beaters, who pranced out of court flipping their middle fingers at New Yorkers, have reportedly fled the jurisdiction. Good luck ever holding them accountable.
The middle finger is a sort of universal language. But in New York, where prosecutors and many judges are elected, it has a special meaning: Hey, why do you people keep voting for this?