Likely New Bronx DA Would Address Case Delays, Rikers Island Issues


Darcel Clark, the likely new District Attorney in New York City’s Bronx borough, is profiled by the Wall Street Journal. Clark, 53, a longtime judge whose husband is a New York City police detective, is expected to win next Tuesday’s election, succeeding Robert Johnson. Johnson announced his departure after the September primaries, allowing the Bronx Democratic Party to handpick Clark. She said the challenges include an institutional record of delay and error, underfunded courts and a prosecutor's office that can seem demoralized and inefficient.

While Clark expresses respect for Johnson, who has led the office since 1989, she says she would make the office “more accessible and accountable.” Clark was an assistant district attorney in the Bronx for 13 years, 10 during Johnson's tenure. Delays in resolving cases are a concern citywide, but they are worse in the Bronx. In 2014, the average age of a Bronx case by the time a jury reached its verdict was 827 days. The citywide average was 571 days. To address delays in the courts, Clark called for more judges in the Bronx. The borough has 31 judges handling 3,900 pending felony cases. The Bronx courts have jurisdiction over cases coming out of the Rikers Island jail complex. Clark will consider placing prosecutors permanently at the troubled jail to speed processing of cases of contraband and violence among inmates and correctional officers.

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