Eric Adams to unveil plan targeting ‘extreme and violent repeat offenders’ during State of the City address

Mayor Eric Adams plans to crack down on ‘extreme and violent repeat offenders’ in his second year at City Hall by boosting funding for a justice system beleaguered by a 2019 discovery law that experts say , slows down trials and even leads to dismissed cases.

The focus, which is to be revealed in her second State of the City address in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens on Thursday, will be providing more city funds and lobbying Governor Kathy Hochul to allocate dollars from the state to the city’s five district attorneys’ offices. , as well as public defenders.

“It’s both the city committing additional funds, but also a partnership with the state where a greater amount of funding can be provided,” Adams’ chief attorney Brendan McGuire told the Post in a phone interview Wednesday.

“If you don’t invest in them and fund them properly, you won’t allow these reforms to succeed.”

The new funding would help the Adams administration target a “core group” of repeat offenders identified as one of the drivers behind the 22% spike in crime last year, according to McGuire.

According to figures provided by the town hall, 1,694 people were re-arrested in 2022 for a violent crime while already on bail.

City hall said 1,694 people were re-arrested in 2022 for a violent crime while already out on bail.
Christopher Sadowski

Among these offenders, 773 had already been arrested at least once for a violent crime.

However, it was not immediately clear how those numbers compared to pre-2019 stats.

Although the state enacted major criminal justice reforms in 2019, little funding has gone into them. District attorneys’ offices across the state experienced high staff turnover and recorded frequent layoffs.

McGuire noted that a “substantial” amount would be needed from the state, but would not provide an estimate or disclose the amount of the cash-strapped city’s contribution.

The entrance to Rikers Island Correctional Facility in the Queens borough of New York.
A slowdown in the justice system has left people sitting on Rikers Island for longer periods of time, City Hall said.
Shutterstock / rblfmr

Prosecutors told the Post last year that changes to the state’s Discovery Act had significantly bogged down the justice system, contributing in some cases to increased layoffs.

A recent study published by the Manhattan Institute highlighted the “administrative burden” placed on prosecutors who must “assemble and redact an unlimited number…of documents and videos” within a specific timeframe for defense attorneys as part of the process.

City prosecutors dismissed 69% of criminal cases as of mid-October 2021, up from 44% in 2019.

McGuire argued that not only were the DA’s offices understaffed to handle the workload, but the result was also causing a “bottleneck” in business.

“The pace of their business is so much slower,” McGuire said.

“That translates to a higher percentage of cases being dismissed, that translates to more people sitting at Rikers.”

Adams plans to invest the city’s money to fix the problem, as well as ask the state to contribute additional funding, hiring additional staff at the district attorney’s offices and public defender’s offices in the five boroughs.

The new hires would help reduce the backlog of discovery documents, as well as resolve future cases to speed up the overall process.

“[One of the key pieces to this is that the bottleneck and delay in the system, which we think could be alleviated by additional resources, which were not provided to the degree they should have been at the time of the discovery reforms pre-covid.”

Police respond to the scene of a shooting.
Adams plans to use city and state funding to expedite criminal trials and keep repeat offenders off the streets.
Gregory P. Mango

The all-hands-on-deck approach would lead to speedier discovery phases and quicker trials, meaning repeat offenders out on bail would not have the luxury of time to commit more crimes.

“Time after time, we see crime after crime from a core group of repeat offenders,” Adams told The Post in a statement. “We need to get them off the streets and will work with our partners in Albany to find reasonable, evidence-based solutions to this recidivism crisis, including speeding up our court system.”

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