Queens scores best felony conviction rate in city: Report

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown at a murder scene in 2011. Photo by Christina Santucci
Photo by Christina Santucci
By Philip Newman

The Queens district attorney’s office was rated the highest in New York City in conviction rates for violent felony arrests and other categories in ratings of the Summer 2013 Criminal Justice Indicator Report.

“The report’s statistical evidence offers without a doubt substantial proof that Queens County is and continues to be a citywide leader in many categories, including consistently maintaining the best arrest-to-arraignment time in the city and highest violent felony conviction rate,” said DA Richard Brown.

Among the report’s key findings:

• Queens continues to have the best arrest-to-violent felony arrests in 2013 and was the highest among city prosecutors with 60 percent. The citywide average was 52 percent.

• Queens continues to have the best arrest-to-arraignment time for the first six months of this year. The citywide average arrest-to-arraignment time is 21.71 hours while Queens arraigns defendants in 20.27 hours.

• Queens maintains the lowest rearrest rate citywide with 26 percent of people being rearrested for a crime within the year and 10 percent rearrested for a felony within the year. Citywide, 33 percent of people arraigned in 2009 — the last year for which there is available data — were rearrested for another crime within a year and 13 percent were rearrested for a felony crime within a year.

In Queens, 86 percent of all state Supreme Court defendants arrested for possession of an illegal gun are sentenced to incarceration — local jail — and 77 percent are sentenced to prison. Citywide, 80 percent of defendants are sentenced to incarceration and 54 are sentenced to prison.

Queens together with New York (Manhattan) County, lead the city in percentage of Operation Spotlight defendants, who were sentenced to jail between April 2012 and September 2012 — 62 percent. Operation Spotlight was created in 2003 to target the most persistent misdemeanor offenders.

Queens has the second lowest rate of high risk felony defendants being released at arraignment — 26 percent — and is below the citywide average of 33 percent. High risk defendants are those who are classified as not being recommended for release because of high risk of flight.

Similarly, 54 percent of felony defendants were detained at arraignment in Queens in 2012 compared to 53 percent citywide.

The failure-to-appear rate for released defendants in Queens in 2011 was 9 percent, the lowest in the city. The success in driving down the rate at which defendants fail to appear in court can be attributed in part by the fact that in 2012 Queens brought 46.1 of New York City’s felony bail jumping indictments and 87.1 percent of the city’s misdemeanor bail jumping complaints.

Statistics in the report are based on data from the judiciary, the city’s five district attorneys, the New York City Special State Narcotics Prosecutor and other city criminal justice agencies.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-260-4536.

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