The following contains editorial content which is the opinion of the author, a retired police chief and current staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.
NEW YORK CITY- Someday when 2021 gets a title of “Year of” something…it likely will be along the lines of the “Year of the Criminal.”
In major cities across the U.S. such as LA, Chicago, and New York, that is a pretty accurate description of 2021. Let’s put our focus on the Big Apple, New York City.
The “City That Never Sleeps” couldn’t sleep this year, what with crime running rampant, courtesy of a combination of cowardly judges, liberal bail reform laws passed by far-left do-gooders in Albany, and a police department weary of budget cuts, retirements and officers outright quitting.
Not to mention being micro-managed on a daily basis by the outgoing communist-sympathizing mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Perhaps nothing had the most obvious effect on crime in New York than the absurd bail-reform laws passed in 2019, which basically removed all discretion from judges in setting bail on pretty much all misdemeanors and a good chunk of so-called non-violent felonies, the New York Post reports.
To make matters worse, some far-left lunatic judges took it a step further, cutting defendants loose in far more serious cases, including violent felonies. How about some examples?
In October, 21-year-old college student Saiko Koma was shot in the head in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity by a reputed gang member, 17-year-old Steven Mendez, the Post reported.
So bad a guy is Mendez that he was once arrested for pulling a gun on his own mother. In 2020, Mendez was arrested in connection with a violent armed robbery. Instead, he was out on the street when he gunned down Koma in a botched gang hit.
Koma’s despondent mother told the Post, “The judge let him go, but I’m not letting [it] go. My son will get justice. This is crazy.”
Koma’s father slammed the judge who cut Mendez loose.
“What is wrong with this judge? If this was the judge’s son, or his nephew or a relative, he would not let him go. The city, the mayor. If this was his kid, they would not let him go. They do not care about us.”
Mendez had been arrested for first-degree assault, first-degree robbery, and felony gun possession charges in connection with the July 17, 2020, armed robbery in The Bronx.
Mendez was prosecuted as a “youthful offender” and in May, Supreme Court Justice Denis Boyle granted him probation over prosecutors’ objections, who wanted him sent to prison.
But judges get absolute immunity and cannot be sued, unlike police officers. Mendez could have been locked up for four years for the robbery. Instead, he was free to kill an innocent college student.
How about another frequent flyer? Isaac Rodriguez, a serial shoplifter has been arrested 50 times…this year, yet he keeps getting released. Twenty-two years old, he currently has 23 open cases In Queens, all part of a rap sheet a mile long consisting of 74 arrests since 2015, court records show.
According to authorities, Rodriguez likes him some Walgreens, having hit one in Jackson Heights 37 times, but has hit a number of other retailers where he steals everything from baby formula to Victoria’s Secret merchandise.
Under New York’s “get out of jail free” criminal justice system, the larceny and stolen property charges don’t qualify for bail.
“I don’t know how these [cases] have been handled, but clearly there has been no consequence,” according to one police source who spoke to the Post.
It took an assault in a June 7 gang attack on a 39-year-old man that Rodriguez was finally locked up…for now. He’s currently being held at Riker’s Island on $10,000 bail.
How about a burglar? That’s Juan DelValle, a serial burglar who was so good at avoiding jail time that NYPD cops started calling him “Teflon.”
He’s “only” been arrested 30 times, and has five open cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn, however that didn’t stop a judge from releasing him without bail on August 15 on the most recent prior burglary case. Prosecutors had asked for a $10,000 bail. Sorry, no dice…not in New York.
While on the lam, DelValle was being sought in connection with more than a dozen other burglaries after police found 20 laptops, a stolen 9mm handgun and illegal drugs at his apartment in a taxpayer-funded Brooklyn public housing project.
NYPD officers finally picked up DelValle at the end of August on felony burglary charges, and he is currently locked up, being held on $10,000 bail, according to court records.
Child molester? New York’s got some of them too and once again a judge let one loose on the streets after he was pinched on a burglary case. After being freed, the 31-year-old homeless man, Raymond Wilson broke into a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom this past June and “only” rubbed his genitals on her.
Wilson, another frequent flyer but a rookie compared to some of the others mentioned, had been arrested on burglary charges at least a dozen times.
“The victim felt something slimy on her feet and noticed that the defendant was rubbing his penis on her toes,” said Manhattan prosecutor Meghan McNulty in court.
“The victim screamed for her parents but no one was home except her younger sister, who was sleeping in another room,” McNulty said.
Only one month before that incident, Wilson was arrested and charged with third-degree burglary in a separate case, but due to New York’s woke bail policies, he had to be released because judges aren’t permitted to set bail on a third-degree burglary crime.
Detectives were able to track Wilson through DNA obtained from a water bottle he left behind; he is currently being held on $500,000 bail at Rikers Island on the sex abuse charges.
Back to a gangbanger, this time Alberto Ramirez. Bronx Judge Denis Boyle lowered his bail on a gun case, and he promptly then used it to kill a father of two.
We’ve raised this question before for the anti-gun nuts who think legislating against legal gun owners will prevent crime. If you’re not going to enforce the damn laws already on the books, what is the point of more laws? Other than to punish law-abiding gun owners?
Oh by the way, Boyle was the same judge who had cut Mendez loose, as a point of information. Boyle freed Ramirez, 17, on March 2, lowering his bail from $75,000 to $10,000 despite objections from Bronx prosecutors.
On May 16, according to prosecutors, Ramirez decided to fire randomly into a crowd on a rival gang’s turf, with one of his bullets striking and killing 34-year-old Eric Velasquez, an innocent bystander.
One anonymous police source told the Post, “How many bites of the apple does someone get before someone gets killed?”
Ramirez was arrested on June 7, and is still currently being held without bail on murder, manslaughter, and weapons charges.
How about someone who shoves a NYPD cop onto subway tracks? Ricardo Hernandez did that on April 17, shoving an Asian NYPD officer onto tracks in Queens, leading to him being charged with three hate crimes. So, he was clearly locked up right? Not so much.
“My hands are tied because under the new bail rules, I have absolutely no authority or power to set bail on this defendant for this alleged offense,” said Queens Supreme Court Justice Louis Nock at Hernandez’s arraignment.
Hernandez, 32, had at least a dozen arrests on his record, however shoving an NYPD officer onto subway tracks is apparently not worthy of cash bail.
Hernandez walked up to the officer, who was undercover on the N train platform in Dutch Kills and said, “I will fuck you up. This is my house.”
The officer was not seriously hurt, but that’s beside the point…he could have been. Hernandez later pleaded guilty to a violation in the case, which was then sealed according to a spokeswoman for the Queens District Attorney’s Office.
Even the New York Post and Fox News fell victim to the state’s bogus bail laws on Dec. 8, when the All-American Christmas Tree was set afire by a serial criminal, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.
Of course, arson doesn’t warrant a cash bail, so the suspect, Craig Tamanaha was cut loose without bail. He also has a lengthy rap sheet. The Post and Fox are both owned by News Corp.
The state’s bail reform laws have had serious negative consequences, not only in New York City but across the entire state.
While incoming de Blasio replacement Eric Adams, a former NYPD officer has complained about the bail measures, he’s the mayor of New York, with little sway on a statewide basis.
Moreover, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who took over when Andrew Cuomo resigned, appears to be an even more committed leftist than Cuomo was. So it is not likely the Big Apple will get any help from Albany.
In fact, the Post reached out to state lawmakers as well as Hochul this past week, and neither is interested in discussing the issue.
As expected, state court officials defend judges’ “discretion” when setting bail, although in many cases judges have no discretion whatsoever.
“Judges are unique in the criminal justice system, particularly during arraignments, in that with limited information they exercise their discretion in case after case while having to decide what is fair and equitable both for the defendant and society, which at times can seem to be at cross purposes,” said Lucian Chalfen, court spokesman in an email to the Post.
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