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District Attorney's Message - Bronx County District Attorney


									                                                   District Attorney’s Message
                                                     As has been the case for the past   abuse victims. We worked with other
                                              13 years, in 2001 our Office sent a        organizations in the community, such
                                              higher proportion of convicted felons      as the Hebrew Home for the Aged, to
                                              to state prison than did the rest of the   develop strategies to enhance prosecu-
                                              City and State. The Office had lower       tion of elder abuse cases and to
                                              Criminal Court and Supreme Court           increase the coordination of services to
                                              dismissal rates than the rest of New       elderly victims. Through Project Safe
                                              York City. Some accomplishments are        neighborhoods, our Office is collabo -
                                              less obvious. For example, the Office      rating with the U.S. Attorney for the
       These are difficult times. On          was recently recognized for leading the    Southern District of New York to
September 11, 2001, our Nation, State         State in the prosecution of unemploy -     reduce the number of illegal guns on
and City endured a horrific terrorist         ment insurance fraud cases.                the streets of the Bronx. In 2001 our
attack unprecedented in American his -               The challenge ahead will be         Gun Possession Prosecution Program
tory. The consequences of this attack         to continue these trends within            resulted in the seizure of 843 illegal
are likely to be with us for years to come.   the new fiscal constraints imposed         guns and 303 convictions for illegal
Sadly, our Office lost three former assis-    by September 11 and other eco -            gun possession or trafficking.
tant district attorneys: Mark Brisman,        nomic developments.                               Finally, the Office has always
Dwight Darcy and Andrew Zucker.                      As we try to do more with fewer     worked in partnership with the whole
       Despite the year’s tragic events,      resources, partnerships and collabora -    Bronx community. Through educa -
the people of the Bronx continued to          tions become even more important.          tional programs, workshops, commu -
enjoy an environment of declining             Many of the accomplishments of this        nity meetings, mentoring opportuni -
crime. Overall violent crime declined         past year emerged through developing       ties, and other programs, we are in
in 2001 for the eighth consecutive year.      and nurturing relationships with other     constant interaction with Bronx resi -
Since 1997, homicides in the Bronx            agencies and community-based               dents, whose suggestions and feedback
have been at levels not seen since the        groups. For example, the Bronx             have proved invaluable.
1960s. Other types of crime have              Treatment Court has provided sub -                The struggle to recover from
declined as well. For example, auto           stance abuse treatment to hundreds         the events of September 11th is com-
theft in the Bronx fell again in 2001         under close judicial supervision.          plicated by new fiscal realities. Yet
and has been reduced 76% since 1990.          Operation Weed & Seed operates pro-        New Yorkers are resilient, even in
Drug crime, which used to represent           grams intended to “weed out” drug          these uncertain and tumultuous
65% of our caseload now accounts for          traffickers and violent gangs. The         times. This Office is determined to
some 53% of the Office’s prosecutions.        Integrated Domestic Violence Part          build on the accomplishments of this
       Despite these impressive trends,       provides a mechanism to better serve       past year as we efficiently and effec -
violence in the Bronx remains too             victims of domestic violence. Through      tively apply both new and time-test -
high. In 2001 the Bronx had the high-         our participation in Multidisciplinary     ed approaches to the prosecution
est incidence in New York City per            Team on Child Physical and Sexual          and prevention of criminal activity.
100,000 population of murder, rape            Abuse, we have significantly improved
and felonious assault and drug crime          our ability to prosecute child abusers
remains a serious problem.                    while addressing the needs of child

Annual Report 2001                                                                                                         1
                     Table of Contents

      District Attorney’s Message                                     1

      INTRODUCTION    C RIME O VERVIEW                                4

      PROSECUTING CRIMES                                              6

                      Dismissal Rate                                  6

                      C RIME VICTIMS A SSISTANCE U NIT                8

                      Violent Crime                                   9

                      Drug Crime                                     11

      PARTNERSHIPS AND COLLABORATION                                 14

                      B RONX T REATMENT C OURT                       14

                      Operation Weed and Seed                        15

                      I NTEGRATED D OMESTIC V IOLENCE P ART          16

                      A UTO C RIME I NITIATIVES                      17

                      E LDER A BUSE                                  18

                      P ROJECT S AFE NEIGHBORHOODS                   19

                      M ULTIDISCIPLINARY T EAM                       20


      COMMUNITY OUTREACH                                             22

Annual Report 2001                                                        3
                                            Crime Overview

      In 2001 crime in the Bronx was reduced to levels not seen in decades. There were 15% fewer crime complaints
in 2001 than in the previous year. The largest decrease (23%) was in burglary complaints, which have declined 70%
since 1990 (from 19,326 to 5,768). This year auto theft also declined, by nearly 17% and robbery complaints declined
nearly 15%, contributing to a 76% decline in auto theft since 1990 and a 71% decline in robbery during the same
period. There has been a 71% reduction in murders since 1990.

     There have been fewer mur -           in 1990. Indeed, prior to 1997,        than 200 homicides in one year
ders in the past three years com -         the last time that there were fewer    was in 1969.
bined (1999-2001) than there were

     Decline In Homicides
     1990 - 2001

        700         653
                                                                       Since 1990, Bronx homicides
        600                 554      547                                have declined by over 71%.
        300                                                         304
                                                                            249                    190     189
        200                                                                                166


                          1991             1993             1995          1997           1999            2001
    Source: New York City Police Department

  4                                                                                              Annual Report 2001
     Violent crime has been dra -           between 1990 and 2001 overall vio -          by 65% and the murder rate
matically reduced in recent years.          lent crime in the Bronx decreased            decreased by 71%.
Police statistics indicate that

     Violent Crime
     1990 – 2001

     50,000               47,480            45,471
                                                                        Since 1990, violent crime in the
                                   44,340                               Bronx has decreased by 65%.
     40,000                                                   34,976

     30,000                                                                     25,780
                                                                                              20,886 20,393
     20,000                                                                                                   16,954

                       1991             1993              1995              1997             1999           2001

    Source: New York City Police Department

      Despite these encouraging             (murder, rape, robbery, felonious            serious problems in the Bronx. In
reductions in crime, the Bronx still        assault, burglary, grand larceny and         2001 the Bronx accounted for near-
experienced a higher incidence of           motor vehicle theft) dropped in the          ly 20% of the City’s violent crime
crime in 2001 than its 16.6% share          Bronx and the rest of New York               and had the highest incidence per
of the City’s population. Since 1990        City. Even with the remarkable               100,000 population of murder, rape
crime complaints across the seven           decreases in violent crime, however,         and felonious assault.
categories reported by the NYPD             drugs and violence are still very

    Bronx Violent Crime 2001
    Percentage of Citywide Violent Crime v. Population

         Burglary                                17.7%                        In every category, the
                                                                        Bronx’s share of the City’s violent
                                                                        crime exceeds it’s 16.6% share of
         Robbery                                     18.6%                    the City’s population.

         Murder                                                    23.2%

         Felony Assault                                                     25.9%

         Rape                                                                        29.4%
    0%            5%            10%               15% 16.6% 20%                   25%             30%           35%
    Source: New York City Police Department

Annual Report 2001                                                                                                     5
                               Prosecuting Crime
      This year 5,968 defendants were prosecuted on felony charges in Bronx County; more than half of these were
felony drug prosecutions.

     Bronx District Attorney’s Office
     Felony Prosecutions: 2001

          Total Felony                                     6.6% Guns
          Prosecutions: 5,968
                                                                          9.4% Other

                                                                                 5.2% Assault

                                                                                       5.3% Homicide
                          Narcotics                                                3.7% Sex Crimes
                                                                                  11% Robbery

                                                                           1.9% CPSP & Larceny

                                                                3.5% Burglary
    Source: Bronx District Attorney’s Office

      In each of the past 12 years, this Office sent a higher proportion of convicted felons to state prison than the
statewide average.

    Percentage of Convicted Felons Sentenced to State Prison
    New York State v. Bronx 1990-2001


    60%              New York State
                      New York State


                   1991           1993           1995            1997           1999            2001
    Source: NYS DCJS

  6                                                                                           Annual Report 2001

      Since 1996, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office has had lower Criminal Court and Supreme Court dismissal
rates than the rest of New York City.

    Criminal Court Dismissal Rate
    Bronx v. Rest of City 1996-2001

     40%        Bronx
                Rest of the City                  38.9%          39.9%                          39.5%
            23.7%              24.3%                                        24.4%          24.6%
                                              22.7%          23.5%

              1996                 1997         1998           1999           2000            2001
    Source: Office of Court Administration

    Supreme Court Dismissals
    Bronx v. Rest of City 1996-2001

    12%                                                                                     Bronx
                    9.6%                              9.7%                          9.8%    Rest of the City
    10%                                                                                            8.7%
                               8.1%           7.7%                          7.8%
     8%                                                      6.9%                          6.9%


              1996                 1997         1998           1999           2000            2001
    Source: Office of Court Administration

Annual Report 2001                                                                                             7

     The District Attorney’s Crime Victims Assistance Unit made over 25,000 service contacts with victims and wit-
nesses during 2001.

    Crime Victims Assistance Unit                                           Total 2001 Service
    Contacts By Type of Service Provided                                    Contacts: 25,264

                                      Emergency                  CVB Application &
                           Relocation Assistance                 Affidavits
              Crisis Therapy    4.9%    3.3%                     5.2%       Support
          Counseling    4.3%                                                Counseling
               4.8%                                                         21.5% Criminal

                                                                                       0.6% Court
                   Info &                                                              Accompaniment
                   34.7%                                      6.6%
                                                                         10.4% Personal Advocacy

    Source: Office of Bronx District Attorney

    Crime Victims Assistance Unit
                                                                            Total 2001 Client
    Contacts By Type of Crime                                               Contacts: 2,324

                         Child &                  Violent
                           Elder                  Crimes                     Homicides
                          Abuse                   13.3%                      17.9%

               Robbery/                                                           Sex Crimes Adults
                Assault                                Sex Crimes                 6.5%
                 37.3%                                  Children
    Source: Office of Bronx District Attorney

  8                                                                                        Annual Report 2001
                                           Violent Crime

     Among the homicides prosecuted by this Office in 2001, some stand out. Three such cases are summarized

           Jury Rejects Demon Defense

                                                                    At his trial, Hill claimed that since a
            Lewis Hill’s 25 year-old girlfriend,              November 1997 car accident he had heard
      Crystal May, was only 4’9” tall and                     voices telling him that his girlfriend was
      weighed just 73 pounds. Arthritis caused                possessed, and that those voices told him
      her to walk with a limp. On January 14,                 how to cast out the demon. Hill pleaded
      1998, thirty four year-old Hill fatally beat            not guilty by reason of insanity, but the
      May on the head, chest, arms and legs. He               jury rejected that defense and found him
      force-fed her pepper and strangled her,                 guilty of murder in the second degree
      causing her to suffocate. He then dumped                “under circumstances evincing a depraved
      her head-first into a tub of scalding water,            indifference to human life.” Hill was sen-
      burning away her flesh. The autopsy                     tenced on April 18, 2001 to life imprison -
      would later indicate that Crystal struggled             ment. The judge made a note to the
      with Hill for at least three minutes. After             parole board recommending that the
      dressing May and placing her in bed, Hill               defendant spend the rest of his life in
      cleaned the apartment. He then tele -                   prison. Hill must spend at least 25 years in
      phoned the police and calmly reported that              prison before becoming eligible for parole.u
      he had found the victim dead.

      Killer’s Bragging Helps Convict Him

                                                              tim’s name and the abbreviation RIP
            On New Year’s Eve 1998, 22 year-                  (“rest in peace”). But this was not sufficient
      old Bruce Phillips was shot four times in               for Warren; he also bragged about the
      the chest, abdomen and legs during an                   killing to several people, one of whom
      altercation in an area of the Edenwald                  called police.
      Houses known as “the horseshoe.” Phillips                     On January 26, 2001, a jury found
      was murdered by a man he had met in                     Warren guilty of murder in the second
      prison, 21 year-old Vincent Warren.                     degree. His conviction removed a danger-
            After the shooting, Warren went into              ous and violent person from the communi -
      hiding. He might never have been caught                 ty and has made the Edenwald Houses
      were it not for his boastfulness and lack of            safer. On April 18, 2001, Warren was sen-
      remorse. Warren actually had his arm tat-               tenced to life in prison. He will not be eli-
      tooed with the date of the murder, the vic -            gible for parole until 2026.u

Annual Report 2001                                                                                             9
      Two Convictions for One Murder

                                                   car-theft ring that was under investigation
           In September 2000, seventeen year-      by the Westchester District Attorney’s
     old Jamal Santiago and two friends went       Office and the New York State Police.
     for a ride on two mopeds and a motorcy -      Investigators conducting a wiretap heard
     cle that they had stolen from a garage        the defendants on tape talking about the
     belonging to 36 year-old James King. King     murder and a plan to kill an eyewitness to
     and Charles Dargan could not find the         the crime.
     other two drivers, but they found and               On November 14, 2001, a jury
     ambushed Santiago at the intersection of      found King and Dargan guilty of murder
     166th Street and Carroll Place. While rid -   in the second degree. On March 18, 2002,
     ing on the back of a motorcycle driven by     King received an indeterminate sentence
     King, Dargan fired ten shots, hitting         with a maximum of life in prison. Three
     Santiago twice, and killing him instantly.    weeks later, on April 8, Dargan received
           Ironically, the motorcycle and mope-    the same sentence. Neither man will be
     ds had originally been stolen by King and     eligible for parole until he has served at
     Dargan, who were part of a sophisticated      least 25 years in prison. u

10                                                                            Annual Report 2001
                                              Drug Crime

     In recent years drug crime has decreased, both in the number of cases and as a percentage of prosecutions. In
1996 drug cases accounted for more than 65% of the Office’s 9,862 defendants, while in 2001, 53.4% of Bronx
defendants were prosecuted on drug charges. Nevertheless, drug crime is still a very serious problem in the Bronx.

     Over the past 12 years com -       were sentenced to state prison, a       New York State (53%) and the rest
bined, 58% of Bronx defendants          higher proportion than that for both    of New York City (52%).
convicted on felony drug charges

     State Prison Sentences
     Percentage of Narcotics Convictions from 1990-2001

           Bronx                                                               57.7%

           New York State                             52.9%

           Rest of the City                      51.7%

       40%                   45%                     50%                        55%                    60%
     Source: NYS DCJS

     Complex drug-trafficking           investigations, using sophisticated     gation that would not end until ear-
operations are difficult to close and   electronic equipment. In December       ly 2001.
may require expensive, long-term        1999 police began such an investi -

                More Than a Bodega

                                                                 The location was directly across the street
             Manuel and Eric Irizarry ran a nar-                 from the Mott Haven and Patterson hous-
       cotics business from a number of loca -                   ing developments, and the 24-hour a day
       tions: a bodega on East 142nd street, a                   drug business was very upsetting to the
       basement apartment adjacent to the bode-                  residents of those developments.
       ga and two other locations. The drug traf -                     Manuel was the manager of the
       ficking operation was a busy one; investi -               cocaine and heroin business; his younger
       gators observed as many as 25 individuals                 brother, Eric, and at least four other indi-
       entering the location within a single hour.               viduals were responsible for sales. At first

Annual Report 2001                                                                                              11
               More Than a Bodega
      undercover officers bought drugs at the                     felony, to criminal sale of a controlled sub -
      bodega and the apartment, but when the                      stance in the first degree, a class A-I felony.
      sellers gave them telephone numbers to                      Two more individuals were indicted later
      arrange future buys, the investigation                      on similar charges.
      became more complex.                                              Seven of the defendants have been
            In October 2000 investigators                         convicted and sentenced. Eric Irizarry was
      attached a pen register to a telephone                      convicted of criminal sale of a controlled
      number belonging to Eric Irizarry. This                     substance in the second degree and sen -
      device enables investigators to identify the                tenced to a term of imprisonment with a
      telephone numbers of instruments that                       maximum of life; he must serve at least six
      comunicate with the target phone num-                       years before being eligible for parole. His
      ber. The information from the pen regis-                    brother, Manuel, was convicted of
      ter led to a wiretap which lasted three                     attempted criminal sale of a controlled
      months and revealed additional informa-                     substance in the second degree; he
      tion about the illegal drug business,                       received an indeterminate sentence of
      including the location used to package the                  four-to-eight years in prison. The other
      narcotics and the identities of suppliers to                five convicted defendants were also sen -
      the organization.                                           tenced to terms of incarceration, ranging
            The undercover purchases of illegal                   from nine months in jail for a defendant
      drugs, information obtained from the                        who was found to be in possession of
      tapped phone line and the results of four                   drugs, to a prison sentence of 4½-to-9
      search warrants led to the indictment of                    years for a supplier. Charges are still pend-
      eight individuals. On January 24, 2001,                     ing against one defendant.
      “take-down day,” the investigation phase                          This investigation and the subse -
      of the case ended. Six people were named                    quent convictions of the defendants
      in a 42-count indictment, with charges                      have resulted in permanently removing
      ranging from criminal sale of a controlled                  the drug trafficking operations from
      substance in the third degree, a class B                    these locations. u

     Drug traffickers have become       Service or other delivery services to    dealer who may spend the rest of
very creative in recent years and       deliver their products. The follow -     her life in a New York prison.
sometimes use the U.S. Postal           ing case involves one such drug

      Mail-Order Drug Trafficker Stopped

                                                                  in the course of a joint undercover investi -
            Thirty-four year old Californian,                     gation by the Bronx District Attorney’s
      Carrie Casias sold illegal drugs to residents               Office and the United States Postal
      in the Bronx through her mail-order drug                    Inspection Service, investigators discovered
      business. One such shipment of metham -                     illegal drugs in three shipments that Casias
      phetamine was sent inside a baby’s cloth                    sent from California to the Bronx.
      toy duck. Between March and June 2000,                            Casias used the U.S. Postal Service

12                                                                                              Annual Report 2001
     Mail-Order Drug Trafficker Stopped
                                                           the United States. This information was shared
     and Federal Express to sell a total of                with law enforcement authorities in San Diego
     almost three ounces of methamphetamine                and Mexico.
     to undercover investigators in the Bronx.                    In August 2000 Casias, who had over
     Casias also sold five pounds of metham -              a dozen misdemeanor convictions in
     phetamine, valued at $32,500 to an under-             California, was brought to the Bronx for
     cover detective during a buy-and-bust                 arraignment. Casias pleaded guilty to
     operation in El Cajon, California. This               three counts of criminal sale of a con -
     sale occurred in the parking lot of a fast            trolled substance in the second degree, a
     food franchise on June 28, 2000.                      class A-II felony. On January 5, 2001, she
            As a result of this operation, investigators   received concurrent indeterminate sen -
     learned the location of a clandestine drug lab        tences to life in prison and will not be eli-
     across the Mexican border near San Diego and          gible for parole until she has served at least
     the identities of high-level Mexican nationals        8 1/3 years.u
     who were involved in distributing illegal drugs in

Annual Report 2001                                                                                          13
                Partnerships and Collaboration
B RONX TREATMENT C OURT                    Administration, the Bronx District          treatment are sentenced to a state
                                           Attorney’s Office, the Bronx defense        prison term of two-to-six years.
      Since 1999, the Bronx                bar and drug treatment providers.                 In 2001, 168 clients enrolled
Treatment Court (BXTC) has pro -                 Defendants must be 19 years           in treatment programs through the
vided substance abuse treatment            of age or older, charged with com -         Bronx Treatment Court. A total of
under close judicial supervision to        mitting specific crimes and have no         657 clients have been enrolled
felony narcotics offenders as an           prior convictions for felonies or vio -     from its inception in March 1999
alternative to incarceration. BXTC,        lent crimes. BXTC defendants                through the end of 2001. In addi -
like the national drug court model,        plead guilty to a felony charge with        tion, this past year over 1,100
includes swift defendant assessment        deferred sentence and immediately           Bronx defendants who were not
and placement in treatment, close          enter treatment. Defendants who             eligible for BXTC were diverted
judicial supervision of offenders,         successfully complete the 12-18             through other treatment pro -
urinalysis and graduated sanctions         month treatment program have                grams. Since 1993, we have placed
and incentives. The Bronx                  their felony charges dismissed or           a total of 6,515 defendants in
Treatment Court is a collaborative         reduced to a misdemeanor.                   treatment programs.
effort of the Office of Court              Participants who fail to complete

    Drug Treatment Enrollment*
    1993 – 2001

      Programs         1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 TOTAL

      DTAP               N/A      N/A         N/A      N/A      N/A        26        316    488    481      1,311

      BXTC               N/A      N/A         N/A      N/A      N/A      N/A         285    204    168        657

      Willard            N/A      N/A         N/A      N/A      N/A      N/A     N/A         57      95       152

      Other Residential 64            24       90      287      548      883         313    477    416      3,102

      Other                89     205         158      168        15     162         210    152    134      1,293

      TOTAL              153      229         248      455      563 1,071 1,124            1,378 1,294      6,515

    Source: Office of Bronx District Attorney

       *Note: Drug Treatment Alternatives to Prison (DTAP) is for predicate (second and later)
  offenders. Extended Willard Drug Treatment is also for predicate offenders and is operated by the
  New York State Department of Correctional Services in conjunction with the Division of Parole.
  “Other Residential” includes first-time offenders placed in residential programs. “Other” includes
  residential and outpatient programs for first-time and predicate defendants.

 14                                                                                                Annual Report 2001
       Drug Treatment as an Alternative to
         Incarceration: One Man’s Story
                                                                  to Prison (DTAP) program. He accepted
             At the time of his March 2000                        the offer and in November 2000 was
       arrest, 50-year-old Ray (pseudonym) had                    enrolled in Project Return, a residential
       a long history of misdemeanor drug                         drug treatment program.
       arrests in the Bronx dating back to at least                     Ray recently completed his treat -
       1987. He was arrested on felony drug                       ment, is in a job training program and also
       charges in 1990 and again in 1992. Ray                     has an internship with another drug treat -
       pleaded guilty to attempted criminal sale                  ment program. He recently wrote about
       of a controlled substance in the third                     how he has come to understand “the
       degree and was sentenced to a term of                      addiction process and the recovery
       three-to-six years in prison. He was                       process” and looks forward to being “a
       released from prison in October 1995                       productive and viable member of society.”
       after serving three years.                                 Ray now sees his drug addiction, coupled
             In September 2000, when he plead-                    with low self-esteem and a need for accep-
       ed guilty to criminal sale of a controlled                 tance, as the roots of his criminal behav -
       substance in the third degree, Ray’s crimi-                ior, and says his experiences in drug treat-
       nal history made him eligible for treatment                ment were “without question the best
       through the Drug Treatment Alternatives                    experiences in my life.” u

O PERATION W EED & S EED                 Southern District of New York,         Recreation, Better Bronx for Youth
                                         the NYPD, other local, state and       and St. Ann’s Church.
       Weed and Seed is a federally-     federal law enforcement agen -              In the spring of 2002, the
funded strategy designed to “weed        cies and the New York City             two Weed and Seed sites will be
out” drug traffickers and violent        Board of Education. Operation          linked by a new Bronx District
gangs while “seeding” the communi -      Weed and Seed/Soundview also           Attorney’s community prosecution
ty with federal, state and local         relies on a close working relation -   program, resulting from a federal
resources to improve the quality of      ship with the Bronx Borough            grant. These resources will enable
life. This effort combines federal and   President’s Office, the Bronx          us to develop a mechanism
local resources to identify, target,     YMCA, Kips Bay Boys and Girls          through which community repre -
arrest and prosecute narcotics traf -    Club, Pathways for Youth, the          sentatives will be able to work
fickers, gang members and robbery        Bronx Lions Club, school-based         directly with the District
perpetrators in the Weed and Seed        parent organizations, other commu -    Attorney’s Office. We are now in
area. The Bronx is home to two           nity-based organizations and com -     the process of forming Law
Weed and Seed sites, one located in      munity residents. Operation Weed       Enforcement Advisory
the Soundview/Bruckner/ Castle           and Seed/Mott Haven is led by the      Committees, made up of commu -
Hill neighborhood and the other in       South Bronx Overall Economic           nity members who live in the
Mott Haven.                              Development Corporation                Weed and Seed neighborhoods,
       Each site involves coopera -      (SOBRO) and involves collabora -       which will collaborate with the
tion by the District Attorney’s          tion with the NYC Departments of       District Attorney’s Office. The
Office, the U.S. Attorney for the        Sanitation and Parks and               community residents who are to

Annual Report 2001                                                                                               15
be involved in the partnership
should have the capability to work
collaboratively to solve problems
and specifically, to work effective -
ly with law enforcement agencies.
To empower residents with regard
to problem solving, customized
leadership training will be provid -
ed by the Citizens Committee for
New York City.
        All Weed and Seed sites have
“Safe Havens” where programs
for children and adults are
offered. In the Bronx these               Mural panels painted by participants in Weed and Seed
                                          summer crime prevention through the arts program.
include recreational programs
such as Junior Knicks basketball,            The Center is funded by       N EW YORK STATE ’ S F IRST
mentoring programs and crime            the City of New York, and the      I NTEGRATED DOMESTIC
prevention through the arts.            Bronx YMCA oversees its day-       VIOLENCE P ART
Many of the individual programs         to-day operation. The Center is
rely on linkages with other organi -    directed by a Project                     On October 22, 2001, a new court
zations, including the Police           Coordinator who holds a            part combining Criminal Court and
Athletic League, Bronx Council          Masters in Social Work and has     Family Court opened in the Bronx.
on the Arts and Hostos                  experience working with adoles -   This new part, the first in the State, was
Community College.                      cents and families. The staff      implemented recognizing that domestic
        Bronx Truancy Prevention        includes a counselor, an out -     violence often involves not only criminal
Center. In the fall the Bronx           reach worker, NYPD School          matters but other family matters. For
Truancy Prevention Center began         Safety officers, a Board of        example, a woman who has been
program operations under the aus-       Education neighborhood worker      assaulted by her husband may obtain a
pices of Operation Weed and             and an attendance teacher, all     “full stay away” order of protection. If
Seed/Soundview. The Center is           of whom work with the truant       the couple has children together and the
the result of a collaboration           students and assess their needs.   father wants to see the children, he must
among the W e e d a n d S e e d              By the end of 2001, more      go to Family Court to obtain visitation
S t e e r i n g Committee, the New      than 400 students had passed       rights. In the past these two cases, in dif-
York City Board of Education, the       through the Bronx Truancy          ferent courts, would have proceeded
Bronx YMCA, the NYPD and the            Prevention Center. The Center      completely independently. Now both
Church of the Revelation. The           contacted 46% of the parents       cases are sent to the Integrated Domestic
program’s mission is to encourage       by telephone and 31% came to       Violence Part for adjudication and heard
truant students to secure their         the Center to meet with staff.     by one judge, who is aware of the cir -
education by supporting their           As a result of these meetings,     cumstances surrounding both cases. It is
attendance at school through            33% of the students were           anticipated that Supreme Court matters
advocacy, referral, linkage and         referred to community agen -       such as divorce will be added to this
direct services.                        cies for supportive services.      court in the future.

 16                                                                                       Annual Report 2001
        Bronx Man is Sentenced for the
           Murder of His Girlfriend
                                                                set fire to the car on the service road of
            Just days before Christmas in 2000,                 the Cross Bronx Expressway. The body
      22 year-old Manny Gonzalez strangled his                  was discovered the next day. After a brief
      live-in girlfriend, Nancy Reveron, also 22,               investigation, Gonzalez and his two co-
      with his bare hands. Reveron and                          defendants were arrested.
      Gonzalez were the parents of a three                             On May 30, 2001, Gonzalez pleaded
      year-old daughter. Reveron had graduated                  guilty to murder in the second degree and
      from nursing school the day before she                    to tampering with physical evidence. On
      was killed, and Gonzalez apparently was                   June 26, 2001, he was sentenced to life in
      concerned that Reveron was going to end                   prison for the murder conviction and a
      their tumultuous relationship. After the                  one year concurrent sentence for tamper-
      strangulation, Gonzalez placed her head                   ing with physical evidence. Gonzalez must
      in a tub of water to make sure she was                    serve at least 18 years in prison before
      not breathing.                                            becoming eligible for parole.
            Gonzalez then sought help from                             Gonzalez’s co-defendants pleaded
      two friends to dispose of the body. The                   guilty to hindering prosecution in the
      three men purchased sulfuric acid and                     first degree. One of the men was sen -
      gasoline and placed the victim’s body,                    tenced to one year imprisonment, and
      wrapped in blankets and bags, in the                      the other received a sentence of five
      trunk of her mother’s car. Gonzalez then                  years probation.u

AUTO CRIME I NITIATIVES               criminal possession of stolen prop -          In 1999, we expanded our
                                      erty, illegal possession of a vehicle   effort to include night-time surveil -
      The Office of the Bronx         identification number, auto strip -     lance and investigations of auto-
District Attorney has operated the    ping and/or unauthorized use of a       related crimes. This expansion was
Bronx Anti-Auto Theft Program         vehicle. It was also expected to        made possible through a grant from
since 1995. The program, which        result in an increased number of        the New York State Motor Vehicle
has been supported with resources     stolen cars recovered pursuant to       Theft and Insurance Fraud
provided by yearly legislative        arrests being made and/or search        Prevention Board, which provides
grants, was designed to increase      warrants being executed. In 2001 a      funds for equipment that enables
the number of successful prosecu -    total of 136 vehicles were recov -      detectives to conduct surveillance
tions of defendants charged with      ered, with a total value of more        operations at night.
grand larceny of a motor vehicle,     than $2.7 million.

            Two Thieves. Two Weeks.
               Two Stolen Cars.
                                                                passenger in the car. A check on the
            On July 30, 2001, police stopped a                  license plate revealed that the car had
      1999 Acura Integra driven by 17 year-old                  been reported stolen 1½ hours earlier in
      Luis Felix on Bruckner Boulevard after                    Rockland County. Both men were indicted
      Felix made an unsafe lane change without                  for criminal possession of stolen property
      signaling. Melvin Isaac Vargas, 21, was a                 in the third degree. One defendant was

Annual Report 2001                                                                                           17
              Two Thieves. Two Weeks.
                 Two Stolen Cars.
                         Continued                                   Vargas came out of a store and admitted
        released by the court despite our request                    he had been driving. Both were again
        for bail; the other made bail.                               indicted for criminal possession of stolen
              Two weeks later, on August 14,                         property in the third degree.
        2001, police found a parked 2001                                   Both defendants pleaded guilty. Felix
        Mitsubishi that had been reported stolen                     was sentenced to two-to-six years in prison
        several days earlier in Queens County.                       on January 10, 2002. On February 21,
        Felix was in the passenger seat, and                         Vargas was sentenced to one-to-three years

    Decline In Grand Larceny Auto
    1990 - 2001

                         20,567                                 Auto Theft in the Bronx has been
                                  17,711                          reduced by 76% since 1990.
     50%                                                  10,875
                                                                           8,151    7,170    6,968   6,671
                     1991              1993            1995             1997                1999          2001
    Source: New York City Police Department

E LDER ABUSE                               comprised of staff from the               on a program designed to increase
                                           Arson/Economic Crime Bureau,              bank employees’ and home service
      “Elder abuse” can take many          Domestic Violence/Sex Offense             providers’ awareness of the danger of
forms, including neglect or abuse of       Bureau, the Community Affairs Unit        economic and physical abuse of the
a physical, financial, psychological,      and the Crime Victims Assistance Unit.    elderly. Through this Elder Abuse
emotional or sexual nature. Although              In 2000, the District Attorney     Initiative, the Bronx District Attorney
anyone can be a victim of crime, age       hired an Elder Abuse Coordinator          and ElderServe (the community ser -
may render victims physically weak,        to serve as a liaison among the           vice affiliate of the Hebrew Home for
physically or emotionally isolated or      bureaus and units of the Office,          the Aged) educate seniors living in the
mentally disabled. These conditions        obtain services from outside agen -       community and others through direct
make the criminal justice system           cies for elderly victims and serve as     contact and by publishing and dissem-
more difficult to negotiate and            a resource for educating the com -        inating literature. The Hebrew Home
increase the trauma of victimization.      munity. The coordinator, who              won a national 2001 Community
      In 1998, the Bronx District          improves services to victims while        Service award from the American
Attorney formed an elder abuse com -       facilitating the legal process, is the    Association of Homes and Services for
mittee to develop strategies to enhance    first point of contact for elder abuse    the Aging in recognition of the pro -
prosecution in elder abuse cases and to    victims referred to the Office.           gram implemented in partnership with
increase the coordination of services to          Members of the committee work      the Bronx and Westchester County
elderly victims. The c ommittee is         with the Hebrew Home for the Aged         District Attorneys.

 18                                                                                                  Annual Report 2001
            Banker Bilks Elderly Couple
                                                                   and instructing the company to empty the
             Thirty-five year-old Joseph Holzberg,                 account by sending a series of $4,000
       former manager of a Bronx branch of                         checks. Holzberg then forged the victim’s
       Chase Manhattan Bank, victimized an                         signature and cashed these checks.
       elderly couple by stealing over $35,000                           Holzberg pleaded guilty to grand lar-
       from their bank account over the course of                  ceny in the third degree. On August 24,
       a year. He accomplished this by forging                     2001, he was sentenced to a conditional
       and cashing eight checks in both the wife’s                 discharge and ordered to pay $90,000 in
       and husband’s names. Holzberg also liqui -                  restitution to the victims. Full restitution
       dated the victims’ $40,000 brokerage                        was made shortly after sentencing.u
       account by changing the account address

PROJECT SAFE N EIGHBORHOODS                    As part of this effort, we are    resulted in the seizure of 845 illegal
                                         focusing on interviewing defen -        guns and 303 convictions for illegal
      Project Safe Neighborhoods is      dants charged with either illegal       gun possession or trafficking.
a national strategy designed to          sale or possession of guns. A                 Prosecutors also work closely
reduce gun violence in America           detective investigator and an assis -   with federal law enforcement agen -
through the combined efforts of          tant district attorney debrief such     cies, such as the ATF and the US
local police and prosecutors, the US     defendants in an effort to obtain       Attorney. The program builds on
Attorney’s Office and the federal        information that will form the          existing relationships and agree -
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and           basis for long term investigations      ments with these agencies to share
Firearms (ATF). As one of 154 state      of weapons trafficking and the          assets and intelligence to more effec-
and local prosecutors’ offices award -   issuance of search warrants for         tively investigate weapons trafficking
ed funds during the first phase of       the seizure of weapons. This            and prosecute gun cases. The
the program, the Bronx District          effort is further enhanced with         collaboration between this Office
Attorney is collaborating with the       state funding which in 2002 will        and the US Attorney’s Office is par-
US Attorney for the Southern             enable us to conduct complex            ticulary close in the two Bronx Weed
District of New York to try to           sting operations and purchase ille -    and Seed sites, where the law
reduce the number of illegal guns        gal guns. In 2001 our Gun               enforcement focus is on gangs and
on the streets of the Bronx.             Possession Prosecution Program          violent crime.

           Gun Running Ring Shut Down

                                                                   NYPD. Beginning in April 2001, detec -
             What is believed to be the largest                    tives spent $83,150 to purchase 107 guns
       number of guns ever purchased in a sin -                    and nearly 1,100 rounds of ammunition
       gle undercover investigation in New York                    in 20 separate transactions. The weapons
       City resulted from a joint investigation by                 were bought in Virginia and ranged from
       the Bronx District Attorney and the                         .38 caliber “Saturday Night Special”

Annual Report 2001                                                                                                19
           Gun Running Ring Shut Down
       handguns to deadly Tech .22 caliber                         weapon in the third degree and criminal
       assault weapons. Between April 1 and                        sale of a weapon in the third degree. A
       August 28, 2001, the guns were driven to                    fifth defendant was arrested in Virginia.
       the Bronx for delivery on an average of                     All five defendants are awaiting trial. By
       once a week.                                                shutting down the Virginia-based ring,
             On August 28, 2001, three men,                        illegal handguns and high powered
       including the two alleged leaders of the                    assault weapons were prevented from fur-
       ring, and a woman were arrested and                         ther flooding Bronx neighborhoods. u
       charged with criminal possession of a

M ULTIDISCIPLINARY T EAM    ON           The Multidisciplinary Team assists      available to all participants by
CHILD P HYSICAL AND                      hospital personnel in identifying       affording them the opportunity to
SEXUAL A BUSE                            and treating victims of child abuse,    be present to ask questions at the
                                         and acts as a network for further       victim’s first interview. Second, it
      The Multidisciplinary Team is      referrals. Through its participation    minimizes the additional trauma to
a coalition of representatives from      in the Multidisciplinary Team, the      which the victim is subjected by
the Office of the Bronx District         Office has significantly improved its   having to, through repeated inter -
Attorney, Bronx hospitals, mental        ability to prosecute child abusers      views, revisit incidents that may
health service providers, school dis -   effectively while addressing the        have been emotionally devastating.
tricts, the Administration for           needs of child abuse victims.           Third, it avoids problems associated
Children Services, the New York                In the six years since the team   with having victims repeat their sto -
City Corporation Counsel, the            began doing joint interviews, the       ries, such as details forgotten or
NYPD and the Juvenile Rights             number conducted each year has          inadvertently omitted, and having
Division of the Legal Aid Society.       grown. A single interview is con -      victims becoming tired and uncoop-
Its purpose is to improve communi -      ducted in which one of the partici -    erative. This process ensures that
cation among participating agencies      pants is designated to conduct the      participants are able to gather infor-
and coordinate their involvement in      interview, while the rest observe       mation essential to investigating the
child abuse cases. The primary ben -     from behind a one-way mirror.           allegations, prosecuting those
efit of this multidisciplinary                 This team approach affords a      responsible for abuse and providing
approach is the minimization of sys-     number of benefits. First, it           the child with understanding, sup -
tem-induced trauma to the victim.        enhances the quality of evidence        port and follow-up services.

      Joint Interview Facilitates Conviction

                                                                   upsetting incident, Michael showered and
            In the early evening of June 6, 2000,                  washed his shirt and shorts. His mother,
       twenty-two year-old William Mariano                         Claire (pseudonym), was away from the
       sodomized his 12 year-old nephew,                           apartment when the incident occurred.
       Michael (pseudonym). After this very                             When Claire returned home, she was

 20                                                                                           Annual Report 2001
      Joint Interview Facilitates Conviction
      surprised to find that Michael had show -                therefore, “swearable.” After the interview,
      ered. Michael was also clearly upset, and                Michael was given a physical exam.
      Claire was concerned. After some encour-                        As in other such cases, Michael’s tes -
      agement, Michael told her what had hap-                  timony was critical to the prosecution of
      pened. The next morning Claire took                      the case. It was particularly important
      Michael to the pediatrician, who immedi-                 because Michael had showered and
      ately referred them to the Montefiore                    washed his clothes, thus removing any
      Child Protection Center. A joint interview               potential DNA evidence, such as the
      was conducted at the Child Protection                    defendant’s semen. The joint interview
      Center that morning.                                     made him more comfortable relating his
            Although Michael was both shy and                  ordeal. On February 15, 2001, a jury
      embarrassed, the social worker who con -                 found Mariano guilty of sodomy in the
      ducted the interview was able to get him                 first degree and sodomy in the second
      to describe what had happened. As a                      degree. Mariano had also abused Michael
      result of the interview, the detective (who              on other occasions dating back to March
      observed) determined that there was prob -               1995 when Michael was seven years old.
      able cause to make an arrest, and the                    These additional incidents led the jury to
      defendant was arrested that day. As is cus-              find him guilty of endangering the welfare
      tomary with all child witnesses, the inter -             of a child. On June 19, 2001, Mariano
      viewer asked Michael questions designed                  received a determinate sentence of nine
      to establish that he knew the difference                 years imprisonment. u
      between the truth and a lie, and was,

LEADING T H E N ATION IN               has collaborated with the New          nation in successful efforts to fight
P ROSECUTING UNEMPLOYMENT              York State Department of Labor         this fraud.”
I NSURANCE F RAUD                      to prosecute individuals who com -           Since 1999 the Department
                                       mit this type of crime. According      of Labor has referred over 350 cas-
      Unemployment insurance           to the Department of Labor’s           es, representing more than $2 mil -
fraud has many victims–employ -        Inspector General, the Office of       lion in fraud, to this Office for
ers, honest employees, govern -        the Bronx District Attorney leads      prosecution. Vigorous investiga -
ment and the larger society. Those     the State of New York in aggres -      tion and prosecution of the cases
who collect unemployment insur -       sive prosecution of unemployment       resulted in the return of over $1.5
ance benefits without being enti -     insurance fraud. Furthermore,          million in restitution to the NY
tled to them are stealing money        since New York leads the nation in     State Unemployment Insurance
from the pockets of all New            prosecution of unemployment            Trust Fund.
Yorkers. Since 1999 this Office        fraud, this Office is “first in the

Annual Report 2001                                                                                              21
                              Community Outreach

                                               The programs highlighted                      PROJECT JUMP
      Community residents and            below represent only a sample of
business people often serve as the       those offered by the Office. Some of             Sophomores, juniors and
“glue” that holds together collabo-      the other programs, such as the            seniors from the Law, Justice and
rative efforts among public and          Elder Abuse Initiative and                 Public Service Academy at
private sector agencies and              Operation Weed & Seed, are dis -           Theodore Roosevelt High School
enhance each group’s efficacy in         cussed elsewhere in this report. Still     are matched with volunteers from
preventing crime and improving           other programs have been in exis -         the Bronx District Attorney’s
quality of life. The Bronx District      tence for a number of years ( e.g.,        Office on a one-to-one basis.
Attorney and his staff actively par -    STAR and KAPOW) and are                    Fifty-one mentors provide much
ticipate in a variety of programs        described on the Office’s web site:        needed support and inspiration to
and community activities to better                           students making their way
serve the residents of the county.                                                  through school. Traveling to the
      In these collaborations the                ASK THE BRONX D.A.                 Bronx District Attorney’s Office
Community Affairs Unit often                                                        to meet with their mentors allows
serves as a liaison between the                 Ask the Bronx D.A., a show co-      students to experience the men -
District Attorney and the residents      hosted by the District Attorney and        tors’ work environment and learn
of Bronx County. Staff from the          Bronxnet’s Melanie Torres, is an           about the functioning of the crim -
unit attend community meetings,          eight-part series that serves to educate   inal justice system.
and the unit provides speakers and       Bronx residents about the criminal
tours of the courts; offers educa -      justice system. The show was created              TOURS AND S PEAKERS
tional programs; participates in         as part of an outreach effort to edu -
interagency committees; and inter -      cate the public on matters of concern            The Community Affairs
acts regularly with community resi -     ranging from on-the-street drug sales      Unit coordinates requests for
dents, neighborhood leaders and          to elder abuse. Each show is a half        tours and speakers. Assistant dis-
others. The unit also keeps residents    hour long and usually deals with a         trict attorneys address communi -
informed of the status of a case as it   particular topic. People from the com-     ty, religious, civic and student
progresses through the criminal jus-     munity are invited to ask the D.A. and     groups regarding the criminal
tice system.                             his staff various questions related to     justice system. Speakers discuss a
      The Office’s programs are          that topic. Topics of discussion thus      variety of issues of interest to
coordinated by the unit, but volun -     far have focused on: Economic Crime,       the community. In addition,
teers from both legal and support        Quality of Life, Domestic Violence,        assistant district attorneys are
staff are needed to implement            Narcotics, Community Outreach,             available to conduct tours of the
them. These individuals use their        Elder Abuse, Homicide Survivors and        courthouses and explain how a
own time, often during evenings          The Abandoned Baby Protection Act          case proceeds through the crimi -
and weekends, to work with the           and the Bronx Multidisciplinary Task       nal justice system.
Bronx community.                         Force on Child Abuse.

 22                                                                                             Annual Report 2001
 T HE BRONX HIGH SCHOOL FOR                serves as the mentor pair for                          PRECINCT C OUNCIL
 LAW, GOVERNMENT AND J USTICE              Christopher Columbus H.S.                               R EPRESENTATIVES
                                           YOUTH T RIAL ADVOCACY PROGRAM                       There are 12 precinct communi-
      Once a week for four weeks,                                                        ty councils in the Bronx that meet on
10th grade students from the                      The Bronx District Attorney’s          a monthly basis. Twelve assistant dis-
Bronx H.S. for Law, Government             Office Youth Trial Advocacy Program           trict attorneys have volunteered to
and Justice travel to the Bronx            (YTAP) provides motivated students            attend these meetings. These repre -
District Attorney’s Office to par -        with an opportunity to explore a career       sentatives assure that the District
ticipate in intern modules                 in law. Students meet with assistant          Attorney is kept informed about issues
designed to give an overview of            district attorneys to discuss legal           of significance to the community.
the Office’s various bureaus and           careers and the criminal justice system.
units. The students record their           Students are then divided into teams,            THE ADULT WORKSHOP SERIES
observations in a journal which is         with an assistant district attorney serv -
reviewed by a coordinator. The             ing as a coach or mentor. Each team                   The series provides the
students are also encouraged to            will learn how to develop advocacy            District Attorney’s Office with an
share their experiences.                   skills and debating techniques.               avenue to educate Bronx residents
                                           Students will then be able to test their      about various issues related to the
       T HE NYS M OCK T RIAL               newly acquired skills in a moot court         criminal justice system. Workshops
            C OMPETITION                   competition. At the end of the pro -          such as “After the Arrest,” “You Be
                                           gram, every student will be awarded a         the Judge” and “Gang Awareness”
     The NYS Mock Trial                    certificate marking successful partici -      have been developed in order to
Competition, a statewide competi-          pation in the program.                        inform citizens about prevalent
tion sponsored by the NYS Bar                                                            issues such as criminal court
Association, is administered by                      PEOPLE ’ S C OURT                   arraignment, trial procedures and
the Justice Resource Center.                       PROGRAM (P.S. 156 )                   the presence of gangs in our schools
Assistant district attorneys are                                                         and neighborhoods.
assigned as “team trainers” to var -              Elementary school students from
ious Bronx high schools, both              P.S. 156 travel to the Bronx District                   S PECIAL P ROJECTS
parochial and public.                      Attorney’s Office to participate in
                                           mock trials. Incidents violating school             The Community Affairs Unit also
      THE M ENTOR PROGRAM                  rules are brought before the mock court       implements several special events and
                                           and the children act as defense counsel,      programs throughout the year to
      This program is also adminis -       prosecutor and court officers. With the       address various community needs.
tered by the Justice Resource              assistance of assistant district attorneys,   Events such as the Legislative Breakfast,
Center and designed to make stu -          the students learn how trials are pre -       the adult workshop series, and special
dents more aware of the impact of          pared and conducted. The program              programs with various community
law on their daily lives, increase stu -   also assists the students by helping them     organizations are developed to afford
dents appreciation of the legal sys -      to develop effective communication            various segments of the Bronx commu-
tem and provide information on             skills while learning more about the          nity an opportunity to interact with the
possible careers in law. This office       complexities of the judicial system.          Bronx District Attorney and his staff.

Annual Report 2001                                                                                                         23

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