The Appeal: The NYPD ‘Cancelled’ Police Court Appearances, Leaving People To Sit In Jail

“Over the next four weeks, the city’s criminal courts began addressing the backlog. But then the NYPD issued its directives canceling court appearances.

“You have individuals who have been in a kind of indefinite pre-inquiry-of-any-kind detention” because of the COVID-19 court shutdowns, said Ann Mathews, managing director of the criminal defense practice at the Bronx Defenders. “And so [the NYPD skipping court] is not just a delay—it’s delay on top of delay on top of delay.”

Without police as witnesses, prosecutors can’t present most of their cases at preliminary hearings. And instead of forcing officers to attend court—or dropping the felony charges for cases where police witnesses wouldn’t attend—criminal courts in the city allowed prosecutors to further delay the hearings, according to public defenders and a spokesperson for the state court system.”

Read the full article here