ABA Journal


Constitutional Law

Stop-and-frisk project reaches ‘appalling’ conclusion: No right to misdemeanor trial in Bronx, NY

May 1, 2013, 07:21 pm CDT


Yet another illustration of the gap between how something is conceived in the ivory tower of SCOTUS and how it actually works when state and local giovernments try to implement the unfunded mandate.

I have to be impressed with that ethical level of case evaluation that results in a prosecutor finally realizing in the middle of cross that the star witness can't support the elements. After 11 continuances.

By B. McLeod on 2013 05 01, 11:09 pm CDT

My first job in law was as a prosecutor in the Bronx. (Late 90's) This is not how things ran back then. The whole culture of the office was aggressive, early evaiuation of cases, dismissing the dross early, and prosecuting the remainder quickly and powerfully so that trials resulted in convictions, and the rest plead out.

These stories are horrifying and bear little resemblance to the office I knew, and continue to remember fondly. The lack of funding to the courts and the office are likely contributing factors, but ones that must be aggressively fought, and then also managed.

By Christopher T. Anderson on 2013 05 02, 3:08 pm CDT

What a misleading title! It should read: "The right to a jury trial for misdemeanor cases leads to huge backlog in the Bronx."

By KEV57702 on 2013 05 02, 4:23 pm CDT

I don't know New York law, so there may or may not be a right to a jury trial under *state* law for misdemeanors. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that there is no right to a jury trial, in either federal or state criminal cases, if the maximum penalty is 6 months or less. So, the right to jury trial for such misdemeanors in New York state courts depends on state law.

By Daniel on 2013 05 06, 4:57 pm CDT

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