On Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis did what New York Gov. Hochul won’t: recall a prosecutor who refuses to do his job.
DeSantis suspended Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren, stating Warren “flagrantly violated his oath of office” and placed himself “above the law” in announcing he would not prosecute laws with which he disagreed.
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg did the exact same thing when he announced in a “Day One” memo that he would not prosecute “felony armed robbery” in most cases and instead charge only “petit larceny,” a class-A misdemeanor.
New Yorkers were rightly outraged at Bragg’s decision to look the other way and make it easier for criminals to prey on hardworking citizens. Bragg withdrew the memo but clearly did not change the opinions that informed it in the first place.
Mayor Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell want a special state legislative session to fix the bail laws. New York City residents are begging for change. Hochul isn’t listening. Why would she? New Yorkers take the subway, see the problems. Hochul is flying around the state in a helicopter. Everything looks great up there.
Our governor and state legislators work in offices protected by armed security and metal detectors but won’t acknowledge that their “reforms” fueled this public-safety crisis.
Hypocrisy, your name is every city and state politician who works in buildings protected by armed police but expects New York City kids to travel to school on dangerous subways where people are pushed in front of trains or shot to death for no reason.
Lawyers knew of impact
I was working as a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Society when the bail-reform law passed. Social-activist lawyers were jubilant, but more seasoned attorneys understood right away how radical these changes were and what an impact they would have on our city. I received the office-wide training for the new bail laws in 2019. Some of my clients got out of jail at the end of 2019 because judges were calendaring cases and releasing pre-trial detainees who would be eligible come Jan. 1, 2020. Otherwise the crush of defendants entitled to release when the law kicked in would have overwhelmed their calendars.
Hochul is unlikely to follow in DeSantis’ footsteps and recall prosecutors like Bragg who have no interest in using their office to arrest, charge and prosecute the small minority of New Yorkers who commit the vast amount of crime in our city.
Nor will city politicians like Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Comptroller Brad Lander, both with aspirations to higher office, support Adams in his quest to change the laws. Williams and Lander both have private security details but repeatedly call to replace school-safety agents with social workers.
“Security for me but not for thee” is the recurring mantra.
Florida’s governor is not alone. The voters in San Francisco did the same thing when they recalled “progressive” DA Chesa Boudin. City residents everywhere want prosecutors to prosecute criminals and help restore law and order to our cities. New Yorkers deserve no less. Bragg has made it very clear he will not do his job. We need a governor who will insist that the Manhattan DA does or will remove him from office.
Maud Maron is a candidate for Congress in New York’s 10th District and a former public defender with the Legal Aid Society.