Exclusive: Bronx Prosecutors Won Lowest Percentage of Violent Felony Cases in 2018

By Kevin Deutsch
kdeutsch@bronxjusticenews.com

The Bronx District Attorney’s Office last year had the lowest percentage of violent felony convictions among city prosecutors, securing sentences for fewer than 36 percent of arrestees in those cases, new state data shows.

Violent felonies—classified as crimes including murder, kidnapping, predatory sexual assault, and arson—are typically seen as some of the most consequential offenses in the criminal justice system, with convictions stridently pursued by prosecutors, and outcomes closely tracked by DA’s office bureau chiefs.

In the Bronx, prosecutors won convictions and sentences in 2,198 of 6,168 of violent felony arrests—a win percentage of 35.6 percent, according to statistics compiled by the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

Brooklyn prosecutors had the second lowest percentage, winning convictions in 2,913 of 7,569, or 38.5 percent, of violent felony arrests, the data shows.

The next lowest percentage was recorded in Manhattan, where prosecutors won 1,966 of 3,771—or 52.1 percent—of  such prosecutions, followed by Staten Island, with 427 convictions in 786 cases, or 54.3 percent.

The Queens District Attorney’s Office won the highest percentage of violent felony cases last year, with 2,924 of 5,050 arrested defendants, or 57.9 percent, convicted and sentenced.

The percentage of convictions won in Bronx violent felony cases fell from 2017, when prosecutors won 38.3 percent of violent felony cases, as well as 2016, Bronx DA Darcel Clark’s first full year in office. 

The Bronx DA’s office did not comment on the conviction numbers.

The difference between the Bronx violent felony conviction totals, and that of the other boroughs, appears to be driven in part by declinations to prosecute.

The Bronx DA’s Office declined to prosecute around 20 percent of violent felony arrests last year, whereas prosecutors in the other boroughs disposed of between roughly five and seven percent of violent felony cases via declinations, the state data shows.

Other contributing factors, according to experts: Bronx jury pools tend to be more skeptical of police testimony than those in other boroughs, and the DA’s office’s struggles to retain its most experienced prosecutors.

This is a developing story.  Check back for updates.

About Kevin Deutsch 122 Articles
Kevin Deutsch is a Staff Writer for Bronx Justice News covering the criminal justice system, incarceration, and DNA use by law enforcement. An award-winning journalist, Deutsch is the author of the true crime books "Pill City" and "The Triangle." He has worked on staff at the Daily News, Miami Herald, Newsday, The Palm Beach Post, and The Riverdale Press. His work has also appeared in Newsweek, Columbia Journalism Review, The New York Times, The Village Voice, The Forward, The Independent, Huffington Post, and the New York Post, among other publications. A Bronx resident, Deutsch hosts the true crime podcast "A Dark Turn" on the Authors on the Air Global Radio Network.