Last Updated: 2/9/2021
The Brooklyn DA’s Office will continue to provide essential services necessary to keep Brooklyn safe while adopting social distancing practices to keep our employees and visitors safe and to slow the spread of COVID-19.
262 Warrants Connected to Offenses That are No Longer Prosecuted Dismissed in First Phase; DA Calls on Legislature to Repeal Loitering Law and Expunge Prostitution Convictions
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Vacating these warrants and dismissing these cases is consistent with my view that those who engage in these activities need to be offered assistance, not criminally prosecuted. I am also calling on Albany to repeal the law that prohibits what is known as loitering for purposes of prostitution, because of the vagueness of the law, the stark racial inequalities in its enforcement, and the disproportionate harm that enforcement of the law has caused to vulnerable trans women in our community. Additionally, I am asking the legislature to expunge past prostitution convictions so they will not hold people back from opportunities for a better future.”
Defendants Charged with Conspiracy to Commit Murder and Possess Guns, In Effort to Maintain Territorial Dominance in Bedford-Stuyvesant; Four Additional Alleged Gang Members Charged in Separate Indictment
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, announced that 15 alleged members of the 900 street gang are variously charged in a 77-count indictment with murder, conspiracy to commit murder and to possess weapons, attempted murder and related charges. Four additional alleged members of the 900 gang are variously charged in a separate 11-count indictment with conspiracy to commit murder and to possess weapons.
Adds Resources to Support Investigations of Traffic Fatalities from Their Outset; Will Provide Assistance to Victims and Liaise with Advocates and Lawmakers to Improve Road Safety
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced the creation of a Street Safety Bureau to assist in police investigations of traffic violence cases, with emphasis on protecting bicyclists and pedestrians, respond to scenes of serious collisions in real time and coordinate support services for victims and their families. Bureau members will also work directly with legislators to assist in drafting and revising bills to combat vehicular violence, attend Safety Board meetings and host regular meetings with traffic safety advocates, among other duties.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “For more than three years, I have been calling on ICE to stop its unconscionable practice of conducting immigration raids in and around our courthouses because they jeopardize public safety. But the Trump Administration only escalated this unlawful and dangerous tactic, creating a chilling effect in immigrant communities, which discouraged victims and witnesses from reporting crimes and participating in the legal process. I joined Attorney General James in filing a federal lawsuit to bring this practice to an end, so I am extremely gratified that U.S. District Judge Rakoff today agreed and enjoined ICE from making those arrests, finding that it was a violation of longstanding practices, of their own policies, and interfered with the administration of justice. Allowing every resident equal access to our justice system is crucially important and necessary for maintaining fairness and public safety.”
Forty-Four Firearms Purchased During Year-Long Undercover Police Operation; Sales Took Place Near Defendant’s Brownsville Home
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, announced the indictment of an alleged gun trafficking ring that purchased firearms in South Carolina and Virginia that were then transported on the Iron Pipeline and destined to be sold on the streets of Brooklyn.
Scheme Targeted Homes in Foreclosure in Bedford-Stuyvesant, East New York and Flatbush; Defendant Allegedly Collected Over $600,000 in Rent
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Brooklyn’s valuable real estate market continues to be an attractive target for fraudsters willing to deceive homeowners. These victims, who trusted the defendant to help them avoid foreclosure, instead allegedly had their homes stolen by him and were left facing financial ruin. I urge anyone considering selling their property to be prudent about with whom they do business. Be wary of any unsolicited offers of help with your property and do not sign any documents unless you consult with an independently retained attorney.”
First-of-its-Kind Study Conducted with the Innocence Project and WilmerHale Law Firm; Examined Cases of 25 Wrongfully Convicted People Who Spent a Combined 426 Years in Prison
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very proud of Brooklyn’s Conviction Review Unit and the commitment to justice it represents. With this Report, we hope to share the methods, analyses and findings of the CRU with others around the country who are engaged in this critical work, and with the public at large. Wrongful convictions devastate lives – each one of the 25 cases in this Report is its own tragedy – and strike at the heart of our criminal justice system.”
Some Defendants Allegedly Targeted and Exploited Young Women to Act as “Holsters” to
Carry and Transport Weapons for Gang Members
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment reflects the commitment of my office and the NYPD to continue to work together to target those individuals responsible for senseless shootings that endanger innocent people. We allege that these gang members’ primary activity is to track rivals and to shoot at each other on sight on the streets of Brooklyn. This is outrageous and will not be tolerated. I am confident that this takedown, which is focused on drivers of violent crime, will have a measurable impact on public safety by targeting the offenders who commit the violence in our communities.”
Initiatives Will Include Significant Changes to the Office’s Parole Policies and Robust Participation in Parole Proceedings, Including Recommending Release After Defendants Serve the Minimum Sentence as Default Starting Position for Cases That Ended in Guilty Plea
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced the creation of the first dedicated Post-Conviction Justice Bureau in the country. It will be anchored by the nationally recognized Conviction Review Unit and include two new Units: A Parole and Clemency Unit charged with implementing new policies governing the Office’s participation in parole and clemency proceedings for incarcerated individuals, and a Sealing Unit to encourage and facilitate applications to seal criminal convictions.
Arts-Based Educational Course and Other Programming are Offered In Lieu of Prosecution; Cases Get Dismissed Upon Completion and Without Court Appearance
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “Project Reset aligns with my commitment to reduce our reliance on convictions and incarceration while still holding offenders accountable. This program addresses the conduct of those who commit misdemeanor offenses and confronts the consequences of their actions in a more meaningful way than traditional court sanctions. I am especially proud that we have partnered with the Brooklyn Museum because involving our local communities and Brooklyn’s incredible cultural institutions as partners in justice is one of my goals as we strive to strengthen fairness and trust. This partnership helps harness the transformative power of art as a response to low-level crimes. With the forthcoming expansion of DAT arrests under the new criminal justice reform law taking effect next year, this program will help us handle misdemeanors more efficiently and equitably while reducing the footprint of the criminal justice system.”
Instead of Traditional Cleaning Assignments, Individuals May Take Educational or Job Training Courses to Fulfill Their Court-Mandated Community Service; New Approach Aims at Creating Positive Turning Point and Meaningful Engagement
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am committed to holding offenders accountable in ways that are meaningful because putting individuals on a positive track reduces recidivism and promotes public safety. I’ve now expanded this approach to court-mandated community service. Our new Community Resource Empowerment Center, which embodies the core principals of my Justice 2020 plan, provides an array of opportunities for people to better their lives and end their criminal cases with tools that would help them succeed. This will help keep Brooklyn safe and strengthen community trust.”
Revamping Agency’s Data and Analytical Capacity Will Improve its Practice and Allow for Better Decision-Making, Greater Accountability and Transparency; Program Fulfills one of Justice 2020’s Recommendations
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez, together with the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), today announced a Data and Transparency Initiative that will improve the DA’s Office’s ability to track and analyze its data, allowing for better evaluation of prosecutors’ decision-making, enhanced transparency and an increased ability to assess the effectiveness of its policies. The partnership represents an important step in fulfilling the recommendation of DA Gonzalez’s Justice 2020 Committee to “establish a data/analytics team to drive metrics, best practices and reform.”
Treating Incarceration as Last Resort and Partnering with Communities, Justice 2020 Signals Unprecedented Effort to Drastically Reshape Prosecutorial Agency
District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “Justice 2020 will reshape the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office into a model of progressive prosecution that keeps the public safe and strengthens community trust by ensuring fairness and equal justice for all. We will move away from over-reliance on incarceration, engage all stakeholders as partners in justice, focus resources on those who do the most harm and make my Office more strategic and mission-driven. I am deeply grateful to all of the people, many of whom have personal experience within the system – who helped develop this comprehensive blueprint, which we have already begun implementing. As we continue to reap the benefits of historic decreases in crime here in Brooklyn and across the country, now is the time to focus on reforming injustices in the system that have led to over-reliance on incarceration and a lack of trust in the criminal justice system. In many cases, incarceration does not keep us safer, and I am committed to shifting to ways of holding people accountable and increasing public safety that don’t rely on incarceration as the default option.”
Erased Dozens of Old Marijuana Possession Convictions for First Time in State History; Vacated Over 1,400 Open Warrants for Offenses His Office No Longer Prosecutes
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today moved to vacate 1,422 outstanding misdemeanor warrants stemming from failure to appear in court on misdemeanor marijuana possession cases, and also consented to defense motions to erase 28 past convictions for misdemeanor marijuana possession. Vacating those convictions – which is part of the District Attorney’s Justice 2020 action plan – represents the first time in New York State history that a criminal record for marijuana possession was erased under a DA’s initiative.