By Philip Newman
Queens, Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys have announced their staffs are at work carrying out the unprecedented dismissal of nearly 700,000 open summonses to permit New Yorkers to go on with their ives without fear of arrest for long-ago infractions.
Queens District Attorney Richard Brown is expected to dismiss about 100,000 summonses.
“We believe the people of Queens County will be served by focusing our resources on more serious offenses,” he said.
The top prosecutors in the Bronx and Brooklyn had similar reasons for vacating the summonses.
“By asking the court to purge these old warrants we are removing a hindrance to many people’s lives,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark. “Those who committed minor offenses a decade ago or longer and have not been in trouble with the law since pose no threat to public safety today.”
Court officials said an estimated 700,000 open summons warrants will be vacated in the next few weeks.
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “the bulk of these summonses have been issued to mostly poor black and Latino individuals, many of whom may not even be aware that they have become open warrants that could trigger an arrest for minor infractions dating back many years. Vacating these warrants enhances public safety and promotes fairness.”
The prosecutors said the summonses were issued for minor infractions such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking beer in public and being in a park after dark.
Some 143,000 warrants will be dismissed in Brooklyn, 166,000 in the Bronx, and 240,000 in Manhattan.