Queens District Attorney Richard Brown
By Forum Staff
Four City district attorneys recently announced the unprecedented dismissal of nearly 700,000 summons warrants that are 10 years or older.
The warrants, which will be vacated in the next few weeks, were issued for failure to pay a ticket for a minor infraction, subjecting individuals to arrest as well as carrying other negative consequences, according to the chief prosecutors of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, and Manhattan.
Approximately 100,000 warrants will be dismissed in Queens; 143,000 in Brooklyn; 166,000 in the Bronx; and 240,000 in Manhattan.
“The prosecution of thousands of 10-year-old and older summons part cases would pose serious factual and legal challenges. The NYPD has vetted the list and excluded the most flagrant violators who may still be prosecuted if apprehended,” said Queens DA Richard Brown. “We believe the people of Queens County will be better served by focusing our resources on more serious offenses.”
According to the district attorneys, the dismissals pose no risk to public safety as those individuals whose warrants are being vacated have not been arrested in the past 10 years or their warrants would have been triggered. The warrants stem from summonses issued for minor infractions such as riding a bicycle on the sidewalk, drinking beer in public, disorderly conduct, and being in a park after dark.
There are approximately 1.5 million open summons warrants citywide. These summons warrants, when left unresolved, subject those who have them to an automatic arrest when questioned by police on the street or during a traffic stop. They may also impede one’s ability to apply for citizenship, to secure employment or obtain public housing, and subject undocumented immigrants to deportation, the DAs noted.