As a teen, Pedro Hernandez became a progressive cause célèbre and a poster boy for bail reform. But in the years since, he’s proved himself the poster boy for reform’s failure.
Pre-reform, he spent a year in jail after refusing to take a plea deal in a 2015 botched bodega robbery. Tuesday, at 22, he was arraigned for attempted murder outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral last month.
Cops nabbed him in that case Monday afternoon, after he backed out on plans to surrender willingly. Will the no-bail crowd rally to his side again with new excuses for his dangerous anti-social behaviors?
In seven short years, Hernandez has racked up at least 13 arrests, including various gun charges (3), reckless endangerment, reckless driving (2), armed robbery charges (2), and now attempted murder. Make no mistake; the echoes of violence are there.
At 16, Hernandez spent a year in Rikers lockup on weapons possession and other charges related to the 2015 shooting of another teen boy — until the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights nonprofit bailed him out.
Charges in that case were later dropped after his alleged victim recanted his identification and another witness stopped cooperating with prosecutors. (Funny how witnesses back off when the accused is roaming the streets.)
Other highlights of his rap sheet:
December 2018: Hernandez missed an RFK foundation gala when he was arrested for allegedly driving a stolen BMW in The Bronx without a license.
April 2019: He was allegedly among a group that slashed a man in The Bronx while trying to rob him of his Gucci watch and gold chain; the case is still pending.
May 2019: He was charged with reckless endangerment on another reckless driving arrest, and released with no bail. The same month, Bronx prosecutors dropped a 2015 robbery charge because Hernandez made good on a deal to complete a semester in college.
June 2019: He was busted for reversing his car against traffic and blowing through several stop signs in a bid to evade Bronx cops. Bail, initially set at $750 cash/$1,500 bond, was lifted that December as the no-bail law began kicking in.
Now he’s at last in jail — after his alleged crimes escalated to attempted murder. Despite his long criminal history, three open gun cases and a month on the lam from the cops, his lawyer still tried to get him released. But prosecutors were able to show he’d booked several flights out of the country; the flight risk and his record convinced the judge to remand him without bail.
Otherwise, New York’s lax laws would’ve required bail to be “affordable,” making it likely he’d soon win release with the least-restrictive conditions and be back in his Bronx neighborhood lickety-split.
And all-too-similar perps routinely walk in similar cases without such publicity. With Gov. Hochul pretending that the bail reforms have been fully fixed, New Yorkers who want a justice system that aims to keep the public safe have no choice but to vote for her opponent, Rep. Lee Zeldin, this November.