Get caught with a gun in the Bronx, and more than likely you will spend a year in jail, says the New York Daily News. In the Bronx Supreme Gun Court, established to handle felony gun possession cases, in Judge Peter Benitez’s courtroom, if you get caught with a gun, most of the time, the punishment is the same. The court, which began hearing cases two years ago in an effort to consolidate gun cases and process them more quickly, is “tough justice,” the Daily News says.
Robert Dreher, chief of Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson’s general crimes division, said gun cases are down in the Bronx. The idea of a specialized gun court started in Brooklyn in April 2003, and its success led to expansion to the Bronx and Queens. “There is no volume of backed-up gun cases in the Bronx,” said Dreher. Dreher said the gun court has improved the flow of gun cases in the borough because there is one judge and a core group of prosecutors who handle all the cases. Benitez presides over the gun cases. Benitez, who presides over gun cases every Wednesday, said the program has been effective. “By having one judge hear all the gun cases, there is a more uniform interpretation and application of the law, but everyone is treated based on their case,” he said.