Prosecutors in this city are ‘leaving in droves;’ what’s to blame?

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Prosecutors in Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx in New York City are increasingly leaving their jobs as they struggle with higher workloads attributed to new discovery laws in New York.

The New York Times has the story.

“New York City’s prosecutors are leaving in droves, citing pandemic burnout, low salaries and two intersecting laws that fundamentally changed the nature of their jobs,” the New York Times reports.

The new discovery laws passed in 2019. One requires prosecutors to turn over to the defense 21 kinds of materials, including electronic evidence relevant to the case. The other law requires disclosure of evidence earlier in proceedings.

“Prosecutors now must hustle to obtain reams of paperwork—much of it produced by the New York Police Department—and submit it to defense attorneys or risk seeing a case tossed out,” the New York Times reports. “Prosecutors often work as many as 100 cases simultaneously, and a large percentage of their cases now generate significant paperwork.”

The New York Times has these figures on attrition since January of this year: Thirty-six prosecutors left in Brooklyn, 44 prosecutors left in Manhattan, at least 28 prosecutors left in the Bronx and nine prosecutors left in Staten Island (about 10% of the total).

Looking back a full year, about one-fifth of the prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn left their jobs, “a sharp increase from attrition averages before 2020,” the New York Times reports. “The Bronx is shedding lawyers at a similar pace, a total of 104 since July.”

Starting pay for prosecutors in Manhattan and Brooklyn is $72,000. The starting salary is $75,121 in the Bronx.

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