Case #1 Enhanced Pretrial Decision-Making during Criminal Investigation for Gang-Related Robberies

A 20-year-old defendant was arrested for acting in concert with two others in an attack of a victim with the intent to steal the victim’s iPod. The defendant was charged with a felony, Robbery in the Second Degree. The assigned prosecutor was originally requesting the judge set somewhat low bail, taking into account the defendant’s young age and limited criminal record. However, because of this individual’s gang affiliation, the Crime Strategies Unit (CSU) received an arrest alert for him. CSU reached out to the prosecutor drafting the case to explain that the defendant was a known gang member of a specific violent crew, and shared photos of this individual making gang signs and holding large quantities of cash in the presence of other known gang leaders. CSU also made the prosecutor aware that the defendant had an open case for the exact same crime—attempting to assault a victim and steal his iPod. Armed with this new information, the prosecutor revised his pretrial release/detention recommendation to reflect the investigation. The judge accepted the prosecutor’s recommendation at arraignment, and subsequently the defendant was indicted and pleaded guilty to the felony charge. After the defendant was indicted, the prosecutor offered the defendant a chance to plead guilty to the reduced charge of Attempted Robbery in the Second Degree, a felony charge, with a non- incarceratory sentence of five years of probation. With the court’s approval, the defendant accepted that offer and pleaded guilty.