Misdemeanor Prosecution | NBER

Communities across the United States are reconsidering the public safety benefits of prosecuting nonviolent misdemeanor offenses. So far there has been little empirical evidence to inform policy in this area. In this paper we report the first estimates of the causal effects of misdemeanor prosecution on defendants’ subsequent criminal justice involvement. We leverage the as-if random assignment of nonviolent misdemeanor cases to Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) who decide whether a case should move forward with prosecution in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts. These ADAs vary in the average leniency of their prosecution decisions. We find that, for the marginal defendant, nonprosecution of a nonviolent misdemeanor offense leads to large reductions in the likelihood of a new criminal complaint over the next two years. These local average treatment effects are largest for first-time defendants, suggesting that averting initial entry into the criminal justice system has the greatest benefits. We also present evidence that a recent policy change in Suffolk County imposing a presumption of nonprosecution for a set of nonviolent misdemeanor offenses had similar beneficial effects: the likelihood of future criminal justice involvement fell, with no apparent increase in local crime rates.

Founded in 1920, the NBER is a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to conducting economic research and to disseminating research findings among academics, public policy makers, and business professionals.
— Read on www.nber.org/papers/w28600

From the VERA Institute

Misdemeanor cases make up over 80 percent of the cases processed by the U.S. criminal justice system, yet we know little about the causal impacts of misdemeanor prosecution. In this talk, we will report the first estimates of the causal effects of misdemeanor prosecution on defendants’ subsequent criminal justice involvement. To do this, we leverage the quasi-random assignment of nonviolent misdemeanor cases to arraigning assistant district attorneys in the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office in Massachusetts between 2004 and 2018. We find that the marginal prosecuted misdemeanor defendant has a substantially higher risk of being charged with a subsequent criminal complaint, of being prosecuted on that complaint, and of acquiring a criminal record of that complaint, within two years of their initial case. These effects appear to work through a longer time to case disposition, an increased likelihood of acquiring a criminal record of a misdemeanor complaint, and an increased likelihood of a misdemeanor conviction in the current case.

See the VIDEO HERE:

https://www.vera.org/events/neil-a-weiner-research-speaker-series/misdemeanor-prosecution

Advancing Racial Equity: Shrinking Misdemeanor Prosecution in New York

Misdemeanors are under attack. Misdemeanors are what drives the criminal justice system at least at the local criminal court level. Misdemeanors are the crimes that directly and most often impact day to day life. This has led to a shift of the criminal justice system from being victim focused to offender focused. This has created drastic changes.

The link below has several reports on its webpage and there are also links to several additional articles.

Findings and policy recommendations from a comprehensive analysis of misdemeanor cases in NYC.
— Read on www.courtinnovation.org/publications/misdemeanor-race-NYC

Evaluation of Utah’s .05 BAC Per Se Law

Is it me or do others notice too that increasing the penalty or lowering the threshold for the crime only works for a crime like Driving While Intoxicated for preventing people from driving drunk? It doesn’t work for drugs, or theft, or shoplifting but it works for DWI. Interesting. Lower the criteria for DWI thereby more people will be violating the law and it makes more people stop breaking the law. Enforce DWI laws and more people stop drinking and driving.

In the news shoplifting is rampant yet lawmakers and prosecutors want to raise the criteria for committing shoplifting and they don’t what to prosecute shoplifting after a person is arrested. Yet the argument is that shoplifting will go down?

Why does it work in just the opposite way for DWI? In most cases DWI is the same level of crime as shoplifting and they carry the same punishment for prison. DWI has powerful lobbying groups – anti-shoplifting doesn’t. DWI carries substantial state penalties in the form of thousands of dollars in fines, shoplifting doesn’t. DWI carries substantial penalties for car insurance – not shoplifting. For DWI you need an attorney, you don’t need an attorney for shoplifting especially if its your first one. Bottom line DWI costs about $9,000.00 in fines, insurance, attorney fees, shoplifting $0.00 and in some states they don’t even want to persecute shoplifting.

The crime of DWI was made more severe in an attempt to lower the number of people committing DWI and fatal crashes. The crime of shoplifting Is being treated less harshly so people stop stealing. Does this make sense?

Why don’t government treat DWI like shoplifting? Then there would probably be NO DWIs at all!!!

Results
Legislative Review. This indicated the motivation for lowering the BAC law from .08 to .05 was a desire to improve traffic safety. The majority of objections were based on hypothesized negative effects on the economy (e.g., alcohol sales, tax revenues, and tourism), the belief arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) would increase drastically for people who had “one or two drinks,” and the assumption there would be no safety benefits.

The report can be accessed HERE

Smash & Grab Retail

When police busted a shoplifting ring operating out of a liquor store last spring, they calculated that the dozen or so people involved had swiped at least $375,000 worth of goods from retailers such as Walmart, Lowe’s, and Walgreens. The pair heading the ring relied on small-time thieves, including several with drug arrest records, to launch brazen “grab-and-go” operations in which they snatched expensive goods and then raced out of stores and fled in cars with phony license plates. Though police and prosecutors often categorize shoplifting as a nonviolent crime, the gang’s sprees resulted in several physical confrontations, including one in which a gang member assaulted a store employee with a stun gun. This may sound similar to the organized smash-and-grab lootings that have plagued high-end retailers in San Francisco and other Northern California communities recently, but this gang was operating out of Daytona Beach, Florida—and had done so for nearly two years.
— Read on www.city-journal.org/smash-and-grab-retail

Thoughts on New York’s Manhattan’s District Attorney’s Day One Memo

Alvin Bragg the Manhattan DA is not the first DA to make a policy manifesto on how their office will run. His is one of the most resent. Bragg is part of a Progressive Prosecutor movement that is moving through some of the most crime ridden cities. Manhattan joins Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, Seattle, and Los Angeles with their progressive movement.

District Attorneys are supposed to be the leading “Law Enforcement Official” in their County. That would put them in the Executive Branch of government. Prosecutors enforce the law they don’t interpret the law and they don’t create the law. If Prosecutors want to change the law there is a process for doing so, it isn’t by improperly charging crimes that are robbery (with a weapon) as simple petit larceny. As a Prosecutor if you don’t like the fact that when someone robs another person by displaying a gun (§ 160.10(2b)) and can get sentenced up to 15 years in jail. It’s not the Prosecutors choice to establish the penalty for the crime, the legislators did that. Again there is a process to change the severity of the penalty through petitioning the legislator, it is not by artificially improperly charging a serious felony robbery to a petit larceny.

For the record petit larceny is a theft of $1 to under $1000 and is a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to 1 year in jail. This compared to a robbery where a the offender brought a gun to aid in the completion of the robbery with a threat of harm if you don’t give up the money. Crazy.

Mare sure to check out DA Bragg’s Police Memo there is much more than what was covered here so far.
See DA Bragg’s Police Memo HERE

Concerns with DA Bragg’s Policy Memo

The Commissioner of NYPD has issue with the policies of the Manhattan DA.
See HERE

The Union for NYPD also see issue with the DA’s policy. See HERE

Here is a link to the New York Constitution and the role and function of District Attorneys in New York – access it HERE

2 Articles from the Manhattan Institute

Looking Beyond Day One

Three steps to minimize the impact of the new Manhattan DA’s soft-on-crime policies.
See HERE

How Much Leniency with Criminals Can We Afford?

Progressive prosecutors claim that a soft-on-crime approach will make us safer, but the evidence tells a different story.
See HERE

Why Violent Crime Is Rising – Michael Shellenberger

Aariel Maynor (left), suspected killer of Jacqueline Avant (right) with husband Clarence Clarence and Jacqueline Avant may not be household names but they are giants of black American music and philanthropy. Clarence is the former chairman of Motown Records, and responsible for the careers of some of America’s greatest African American musicians including Bill Withers, Babyface, and Terry Lewis. Jacqueline, 81, was president of Neighbors for Watts, an early child care advocacy organization, and a much-loved Beverly Hills philanthropist. Netflix last year produced a film about Clarence, the “
— Read on michaelshellenberger.substack.com/p/why-violent-crime-is-rising