Thursday, July 3, 2014

Prosecutors and Judges and Firearms Laws

In 1980 mandatory sentencing laws were passed by the New York State Legislature. The message they tried to send was "Get caught with a loaded gun and you'll do at least a year in jail." It certainly looked good on paper. In 1981 the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services undertook a study to see how effective this new "mandatory sentencing" law had been in New York City. But they only studied "Loaded Gun Arraignments" that made it through the initial prosecutor discretionary phase as to whether or not to proceed to the arraignment stage. To make this long and technical study short, more than 60% of  persons convicted of these "Loaded Gun" charges  did not serve the mandatory one year sentence as laid out by the legislature. The report cited below stated, "...it is still obvious that the intent of the law was not being complied with by prosecutors and judges to the fullest extent."
Sources: "Criminal Possession of a Loaded Firearm Outside the Home or Place od Business - The effect of the Gun Law in New York City," contained in Division of Criminal Justice Service Semi-Annual Report on Violent Felony and Juvenile Offenses in New York State. February 2, 1982
And, An Overview of the Handgun Control System in New York State by Roger V. Fulton, Spring, 1987 , Page 39

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