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No risk to public safety in dismissal of decade-old bench warrants

New York Amsterdam News

As Manhattan’s district attorney, it is my responsibility to make our criminal justice system fairer, more efficient and more effective for all. And if we are going to build a more just system, we must begin by safely reducing unnecessary contact with the criminal justice system. Each new initiative contemplated by my office is scrutinized through that lens, and if a past policy inhibits that goal or contributes to an injustice, we have a duty to reform it.

That is why last month I appeared in a Manhattan courtroom to dismiss more than 240,000 bench warrants that are at least 10 years old, and my colleagues in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens district attorney’s offices simultaneously dismissed more than 400,000 additional warrants. These warrants were originally issued for failure to pay tickets for minor, nonviolent offenses, including drinking alcohol in public, being in a park after dark or riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, subjecting those individuals to arrest and other harsh penalties.

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