Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito wants to hand Get Out of Jail Free cards to criminal defendants — paid for not with Monopoly money, but with yours.
This is law-and-disorder lunacy on the public dime, gussied up as a way to drain the cesspool that is Rikers Island.
A proposed $1.4 million bail fund tops the City Council’s just-announced wish list for the $77 billion city budget.
The NYPD makes 260,000 misdemeanor arrests a year. Criminal Court judges release the vast majority of defendants on their own recognizance or on minimal bail.
In a small proportion of those cases — ranging from 5% in Staten Island to 10% in Queens — judges set bail beyond the reach of defendants. Annually, some 11,000 lack the money to post amounts ranging from $20 to $2,000.
The Council would post those payments in order to enable defendants to live in freedom while awaiting trial. Some chutzpah.
Judges set bail when defendants are deemed flight risks. Based on how few defendants are held, judges appear to be making considered judgments as to who’s least likely to show up in court.
Disrespectfully, your honors, the Council has decided it knows better than you how to determine who’s safe to free.