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Brooklyn joins three other boroughs in dismissal of old summons warrants

July 28, 2017 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez announced on Thursday that his office will dismiss approximately 143,000 summons warrants next month that are at least 10 years old. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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District attorneys from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan announced late Thursday that nearly 700,000 low-level summons warrants that are 10 years or older will be vacated within the next few weeks.

“We have been working in Brooklyn to build trust between law enforcement and the community, and to focus our resources on violent crime,” Brooklyn’s Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. “Dismissing these old warrants is an important step in advancing both of these goals.”

In their announcement, the DAs stressed that this move does not create a public safety hazard as the dismissed summons warrants are only for those individuals who have not been arrested in the past 10 years, which would have triggered their warrants. Summonses issued were for infractions such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking a beer in public, disorderly conduct or being in a park at night.

“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,” Gonzalez continued. “Vacating these warrants enhances public safety and promotes fairness.”

This move comes at a time when there are approximately 1.5 million open summons warrants throughout New York City. Old warrants left unresolved left people open to automatic arrest when questioned or stopped by police. This could potentially hurt a person’s ability to apply for citizenship, get a job or find housing and subjects undocumented immigrants to deportation.

A total of 143,000 warrants are expected to be dismissed in Brooklyn. They will be dismissed during a court proceeding next month.

This is the culmination of an effort between the Office of Court Administration, NYPD and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

Staten Island is the only borough that will not participate in this amnesty program.


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