What do the Rockefeller Drug Laws have in common with recent Criminal Justice Reforms? More than you might think.
Hear the rest of this conversation on this week's Albany Street, airing on B95.5 fm, and Magic 590 am tomorrow morning at 6:30.
One of THE MOST significant problems with Bail Reform has seemingly gone completely unnoticed.
It's the words, "Least Restrictive".
Below is a 1-minute explanation of how those two simple words in the law have led to disastrous outcomes.
#reform #raisetheage #crime #publicsafety #albany #albanycounty #culture #blackcommunity #innercity #guncrime #gunviolence #guns #violence #weapons #blacklivesmatter #bailreform
Here is a 1-minute explanation of a secondary effect caused by Raise the Age and related reforms; a change in Culture surrounding crime.
What message does a lack of accountability send to at-risk youth?
Black Lives cannot ONLY matter when a bullet is fired by a police officer. Black Lives have to matter regardless of who is holding that gun.
DA Soares sits down with Communications Director Darrell Camp here, to further clarify yesterday's statements about ongoing gun activity in Albany, and discuss solutions.
We ARE talking about the Black Community. The leaders in State Government have forsaken this community.
We can't shy away from it. It can't be normalized in our discussions, and we have to call out these issues, and call out the policies that are contributing to this heightened level of violence.
"How do you get people to stop looking at other people as that... as just... 'The Enemy'?"
30-year-old Shimair Perrin was sentenced to 20 years in State Prison, followed by 5 years of post-release supervision this afternoon, for the July 2021 shooting death of Lamon Lanier.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brucato, who handled the prosecution of this case, spoke about its resolution, and the ongoing issue of gun violence in Albany.
The Full Press Release is in the comments.
Congratulations to our Head of Diversion Initiatives, Renee Merges, on being honored with the 2022 Albany Law School Distinguished Alumni Award!
We couldn't think of a more deserving person to receive such a distinction!
Below is an excerpt of her acceptance speech from last night.
We'd like to thank Assembly Members Pat Fahy and John McDonald, as well as Senator Neil Breslin for working to secure grant funding to support the continued success of our Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion Program, as we celebrate our 300th diversion!
DA Soares: "There is no disruption with the ongoing commitment to diverting people. It would be easy for a police department... to respond to the crises that are emerging on our streets with a more hard-handed approach"
"Sharaf Addailam was literally walking to work, and stopped to talk to people on the corner, and ended up being shot"
-Assistant District Attorney Jessica Blain-Lewis after the sentencing of 22-year-old Jhajuan Sabb.
"And to see something like this happen, in such a brazen fashion, in the middle of the afternoon, and have no comprehension or even care for what you are doing to the people in that area, is
"You, for whatever senseless reason, unleashed a Barrage of Bullets out the window Heedlessly, Carelessly, at some other group that you had some grudge with … You didn’t only hit your targets, you hit this poor victim, Mr. Addailam, who was walking to work...
... As I sit amidst this Tsunami of Street Violence, I’ve told defendants who get charged with gun cases, or cases where they fire a round and no one’s hurt, I always say ‘there but for the grace of God, you’d be standing before me charged with the death of another individual.’ Well this is exactly that case."
-Judge Roger McDonough said during the sentencing of 22-year-old Jhujuan Sabb this morning.
Full Press Release in the comments below:
"A lot of the police that we work with, they just have such empathy, that I would expect from a Service Provider"
Albany's Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program recently saw its 300th Diversion from Prosecution!
The program is aimed at low-level offenders, and crimes of poverty, or mental illness. Ultimately, diversion benefits the person being diverted, as well as society at large.
ADA Renee Merges, along with co-project managers Jennie Huling, and Robert Ward, sat down to detail the goals of the program, and celebrate its accomplishments so far.
DA Soares on the LEAST RESTRICTIVE standard legally REQUIRED by NY's Bail Reform Law:
"This idea that now, all of a sudden, prosecutors and judges have retroactively failed the bar, meaning we don't understand what they've written... it's infuriating, but it's also a bit insulting..."
Judges need discretion, and they need it now.
Raise the Age is not working.
The Crime Wave is not going to wait for the Legislature to return to Albany next year.
We need a special session NOW to make common-sense adjustments to recent legislative changes, including Raise the Age, which have disproportionately affected the Black Community in a negative way.
Two reminders for this July 4th Weekend:
1) Do NOT Drive Impaired
2) The Use of Fireworks is Illegal in Albany County
A big thanks to our communications intern, Tyreiq Mohamed, for lending his voice for this announcement.
As previously stated, the Albany County District Attorney's Office doesn't ONLY prosecute crime; in addition to diversion, we also engage in Community Outreach.
One way we connect with the youth in the community, like 9-year-old Zavier Smith, is through our dirt bike mentorship program.
He's one of several young people who found the program through the outreach efforts of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area.
Take a look at what this unconventional program is all about:
SENTENCING IN CONNECTION WITH 2020 ALBANY RIOT:
ALBANY, NY – 40-year-old Dwight Parker was sentenced to 18 years in State Prison, followed by 5 years of post-release supervision, and a consecutive term of 2 to 6 years in State Prison in Albany County Court this morning, following his April conviction on (6) Counts, which included (1) Count of Attempted Aggravated Assault Against a Police Officer as an Act of Terrorism.
An indictment alleged that on or about May 30th, 2020, at approximately 8:59 p.m. in the area of 259 South Pearl Street in the City of Albany, PARKER attempted to cause serious physical injury to a police officer with a dangerous instrument.
Specifically, PARKER was accused of throwing an incendiary device toward police. Additionally, PARKER was accused of damaging a tractor Trailer in the area of South Pearl Street and Westerlo Street in the City of Albany, at approximately 9:30 p.m, by setting it on fire.
Below are statements on the conclusion of the case from Assistant District Attorney Collin D'Arcy:
We're proud to announce the graduation of the FIRST EVER class from Albany County Mental Health Court!
The program began in early 2021, with a focus on low-level offenses motivated by a mental health condition in need of treatment. Today's class involved two young people who demonstrated that they were committed to improving themselves.
Assistant District Attorney Renee Merges, who leads our diversion initiatives (as explained here: https://fb.watch/dEMZ8lGFKh/ ), gave a review of this afternoon's POSITIVE court proceeding:
• Khalil Barnes
• Tyshawn Daniels
• Ty-Son Williams
• Raheem Douglas
• Dwayne Fenner
These 5 names were added to the New York State Crime Victims' Memorial kiosk during this afternoon's dedication ceremony.
Each year, we honor victims of crime by keeping their memory alive.
We'd like to sincerely thank Albany City Schools Superintendent Kaweeda Adams for inviting the office to Albany High this week to LISTEN to the students' concerns about violence in the community.
The students were very engaged, and offered thoughtful solutions to the challenges our communities face.
In thinking over our discussions with the young people, one thing is immediately clear; as a society, have to prioritize protecting, and investing in them.
The Albany County District Attorney's Office is not ONLY a prosecutorial agency; we're also tasked with Crime Prevention
Diversion from the criminal justice system entirely, is a major part of that.
Assistant District Attorney Renee Merges leads our diversion efforts, and took time today to explain exactly how Diversion works.
Each year during Memorial Day weekend, there are nationwide and local increases in impaired driving incidents, including personal injury crashes.
These are completely preventable.
That includes not only alcohol-related crashes, but drug-impaired incidents as well. The Albany County District Attorney’s Office is calling for everyone to observe responsibly this weekend.
To that end, the Vehicular Crimes Unit of the Albany County District Attorney’s Office is also calling on the New York State Legislature to pass bill (A9554/S8913), to update the state’s impaired driving laws to coincide with the legalization of adult-use cannabis in New York.
Albany County Assistant District Attorney Mary Tanner-Richter, head of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, summarizes the bill in the video below:
27-year-old Raekwon Ellis of Troy was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison in Albany County Supreme Court this morning.
He was accused of fatally shooting 26-year-old Raheem Douglas in the area of First Street and Lexington Avenue in the City of Albany in October of 2019.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Shanley prosecuted that case:
Assistant District Attorney Michael Shanley on the murder of 62-year-old Valena Shepherd:
"It was a brutal, vicious, and especially cruel crime... she was beaten to death and strangled with an electrical cord."
SENTENCING FOR 2020 HOMICIDE:
This morning, 29-year-old Hassan Riddick of Albany, was sentenced to (2) concurrent terms of 25 years to life in state prison, and a consecutive sentence of 3 and 1⁄2 to 7 years in state prison as a Predicate Felon.
Back in March, Riddick was convicted of three counts in connection with the 2020 murder of 34-year-old Dwayne Fenner.
Assistant District Attorney Joseph Brucato on Fenner’s murder:
“It’s not as easy as it once was to get away with crimes like this. There are cameras everywhere. There are electronic means of recording everywhere. Law enforcement will work diligently to pursue justice for anyone and everyone.”
DA David Soares and APD Chief Hawkins Address Gun Violence in City of Albany - June 5th, 2020
DA David Soares and APD Chief Hawkins Address Gun Violence in City of Albany - June 5th, 2020
Week 1 WORDS Challenge Winners!
Congratulations to Myia and Nãla for being selected as the week one WORDS challenge winners! You definitely used your words to show us how you wash your hands!
Week 2 Challenge here: https://bit.ly/2V8M4Yp
We want to see your #wORds in action! Use Your wORds win a "Bored" Game Swag Bag. Our first #TuesdayChallege: Post a song about washing your hands 👏
Details here: https://bit.ly/3cbH3Ef
Using WORDS to heal during this time of social distancing! Thank you #518RainbowHunt for keeping us all inspired to see the good and spread kindness everywhere we can.