NY state’s Chief judge Janet DiFiore, who was preceded by Fox News Host Judge Jeanine Pirro and was appointed by Governor Cuomo, sharply rebuked NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for claiming courts caused NYC’s shooting surge.
NYPost reports the state’s chief judge penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio demanding he correct claims that a closed court system is largely to blame for the city’s violent crime wave — as the NYPD’s own data proves other factors are causing the bloodshed.
“I write to correct the numerous inaccuracies you levied against the court system in your public statements at today’s press conference,” Chief Judge Janet DiFiore told de Blasio in a letter that was hand-delivered to the mayor’s Gracie Mansion residence Thursday night and forwarded to 16,000 judicial employees statewide Friday.
During Thursday’s press briefing de Blasio said, “We need to have I’m imploring everyone at the Office of Court Administration – please, we need our court system to run again. We need it to be open next month as fully as humanly possible.”
“We owe it to our communities and we owe it to our police officers to restart the court system as vigorously as possible and as quickly as possible. So, please hear our plea, because that’s how we will keep our communities safe,” de Blasio said.
Since mid-March when the coronavirus crisis began the city’s criminal court has conducted nearly 19,000 arraignments, 34,000 additional criminal proceedings and over 600 felony preliminary hearings, DiFiore says in the letter.
Grand jury proceedings were put on hold because of the state’s social distancing regulations, but summonses have already been sent out to New Yorkers in anticipation of the panels reconvening in the first half of August, she says.
“Although we share your goals for a safer and stronger city, your plea for a ‘functioning and open’ court system wholly ignores the reality that the courts have not only always remained open, but have excelled and adapted in ways that were unimaginable only a few months ago.
“We will continue to do so to serve justice and promote the common good for the people of this state and city, and would appreciate your correcting the inaccurate record you made today and getting the facts straight going forward. New Yorkers expect and deserve nothing less,” DiFiore said in closing the two-page missive.
A City Hall spokeswoman said, “In the absence of grand juries, we have not been able to begin a single new trial. Virtual appearances are no substitute for a fully functioning court system, and we look forward to working with the State to safely reopen our courts.”
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