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The Daily Q: How often do district attorneys decide not to file charges?

How often do district attorneys decide not to file charges? Yesterday, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., announced that it will not pursue rape charges against Good Day New York co-host Greg Kelly,  son of New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. After a two-week investigation into claims Greg Kelly assaulted a…

How often do district attorneys decide not to file charges?

Yesterday, the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., announced that it will not pursue rape charges against Good Day New York co-host Greg Kelly,  son of New York City Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

After a two-week investigation into claims Greg Kelly assaulted a woman in her office after they had been drinking together one evening, the Sex Crimes Unit of the Manhattan DA informed Kelly’s defense attorney that ” the facts established during our investigation do not fit the definition of sexual assault crimes.”

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vergi mevzuatiToday the Daily Q wants to know: How often do New York City’s five district attorneys investigate and then decide not to prosecute?If you have information or insights to share, please comment below, write us, or tweet to @thenyworld.

What we found

New York City’s district attorneys decided not to prosecute about 7 percent of felony arrests and 9 percent of misdemeanor arrests in 2010, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services. That means 6,000 people arrested for felonies that year and another and 20,000 taken in for misdemeanors never went to court at all.

The number of instances in which a district attorney investigates and then decides to “decline to prosecute” felony arrests has risen over the last 20 years. In 1980, only 2 percent of felony arrests citywide were disposed of with no prosecution. (Kelly was not arrested or charged.)

Rates vary borough by borough. The Bronx has the highest rate of non-prosecutions  — 13 percent of felony arrests in 2009. In Manhattan, just 4 percent of felony arrests that year crumbled following a DA investigation.

Prosecution rates reflect a calculation on the part of each prosecutor’s office, suggested George Sweeting of the New York City Independent Budget Office, in a letter last year to Councilmember Brad Lander, who had inquired about funding levels for the boroughs’ district attorneys. Wrote Sweeting, “DAs must choose which cases in which to invest their resources, taking into account factors such as the strength of available evidence and the likelihood of successful prosecution.”