Mayor Eric Adams plans to crack down on “extremely violent repeat offenders” in his second year at City Hall by boosting funding for a judiciary beleaguered by a 2019 disclosure law that experts say is slowing trials and even causing cases to be dropped.
The focus, which will be revealed in his second State of the City Address at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens on Thursday, will be to provide additional city funds and lobby Gov. Kathy Hochul to allocate public dollars to the offices of the city’s five district attorneys. and public defenders.
“It’s both the city providing additional funding and partnering with the state where more funding can be provided,” Brendan McGuire, Adams’ general counsel, told The Post in a phone interview Wednesday.
“If you don’t invest in them and fund them properly, you won’t let these reforms really succeed.”
The new funding will help the Adams administration target a “core group” of repeat offenders, who were identified as one of the drivers of last year’s 22 percent surge in crime, McGuire said.
In 2022, 1,694 people were re-arrested for violent crimes after they had already been released on bail, according to data provided by the mayor’s office.
Of these offenders, 773 had been arrested at least once for violent crimes.
However, it was not immediately clear how these figures compare to pre-2019 statistics.
Although the state carried out major criminal justice reforms in 2019, few funds were allocated for this. District Attorneys across the state have experienced high turnover and recorded frequent dismissal cases.
McGuire noted that a “substantial” amount would be required from the state, but did not provide an estimate or disclose how much the cash-strapped city would contribute.
The prosecutor’s office told The Post last year that changes to the state’s disclosure law have severely slowed down the judicial system, in some cases contributing to an increase in case dismissals.
A recent study published by the Manhattan Institute points to the “clerical burden” placed on prosecutors, who must “collect and edit an unlimited number of … documents and videos” over a period of time for defense lawyers as part of the process.
By mid-October 2021, the City Attorney’s Office had closed 69% of criminal cases, up from 44% in 2019.
McGuire argued that not only were the DA’s offices understaffed to handle the workload, but that there was a “bottleneck” in cases as a result.
“The pace of their business is much slower,” McGuire said.
“This results in a higher rejection rate and also more people sitting in Rikers.”
Adams plans to invest the city’s money in solving this problem, as well as ask the state to provide additional funding by hiring additional staff in the offices of district attorneys and public defenders of the five districts.
The new employees will help reduce the amount of paperwork waiting to be opened, as well as work through future cases to speed up the overall process.
An all-hands-on-deck approach will result in faster detection stages and faster trials, meaning repeat offenders released on bail will not have the luxury of time to commit new crimes.
“Time after time, we see crime after crime by a core group of repeat offenders,” Adams said in a statement to The Post. “We need to get them off the streets, and we will work with our partners in Albany to find reasonable, evidence-based solutions to this recidivism crisis, including speeding up our judicial system.”