Felony case jurors in New York City’s Bronx borough found defendants guilty only 43 percent of the time last year, the lowest conviction rate in the city since the state began tracking such data 22 years ago, reports the Wall Street Journal. The Bronx stands in stark contrast to the other boroughs, all of which had felony conviction rates of 70 percent or higher last year, says the New York State Unified Court System.
High arrest rates may have contributed to the low conviction rate. In closing arguments of a drug trial that resulted in an acquittal last week, defense attorney Seann Riley hammered home a message he’d been suggesting to the jury all along: You can’t trust the police. Anthony Schepis, an executive assistant district attorney for Bronx County, defended the conviction rate numbers, saying that felony jury trials account for only a small proportion of the office’s cases. He added that the conviction rate is near 90 percent when plea deals are factored in.