A law has forced prosecutors to drop cases in New York City, which has only added to its crime problem, according to a study.
The issue resulted in suspects being freed without facing consequences, the New York Post reported Thursday:
The rate at which cases were dismissed citywide rose from 44% in 2019 — the year new “discovery” rules were adopted by state lawmakers — to 69% by mid-October 2021, the Manhattan Institute finds in the report, set for release Thursday.
For misdemeanor cases, the increase was even more dramatic, jumping from 49% to 82% during the same period, according to official data cited by the conservative think tank.
Per its summary, the institute explained that prosecutors must give relevant material to attorneys before trial, and that process is known as “discovery.”
The study noted the state’s discovery rules were such a radical version of reform that even Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) was not happy with them, stating, “My Office’s lawyers and support staff continue their herculean efforts in managing discovery-related obligations.”
The statute has correlated with intensifying crime and a decrease in arrests being made, the study continued:
In New York City, adult felony arrests fell by 14% between 2019 and 2021, while NYC shootings rose by 102% and murders rose by over 51%. Citywide, felony and misdemeanor drug arrests combined fell by over 48%—even though illegal drug activity expanded, evidenced by drug overdose deaths up by nearly 80%. Aggregated NYC crime clearance rates dropped in the first quarter of 2020 and, other than one quarter since, have remained below 30% since then.
In addition, defense attorneys are pressed for time to read over the material and often do not open their discovery packages on time.