NYC prosecutors flee in droves amid soft-on-crime policies, burdensome state reforms

Manhattan has hemorrhaged about 12% of the staff so far this year

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Hundreds of prosecutors in New York City are quitting the district attorneys' offices amid controversial criminal justice reforms.

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's office this year has hemorrhaged 65 assistant district attorneys, which is about 12% of the staff.

Bragg released a memo on his third day in office, ordering prosecutors not to seek prison sentences for a number of crimes and to downgrade charges – including for robberies and commercial burglaries.

Manhattan's situation mirrors that of Brooklyn, where 67 prosecutors — approximately 13% — have resigned from DA Eric Gonzalez's office as of June 17, with three more leaving last Thursday alone, according to the New York Post. In 2020, 84 resigned, and 94 left office in 2021. Fifty-nine prosecutors have quit in the Bronx beginning this year through May.

FORMER PROSECUTORS CALL MANHATTAN DA'S SOFT-ON-CRIME POLICIES' DEFINITION OF INSANITY'

District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem on November 1, 2021, in New York City.

District Attorney Alvin Bragg speaks during a Get Out the Vote rally at A. Philip Randolph Square in Harlem on November 1, 2021, in New York City. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

The resignations come amid state criminal justice reforms that some have criticized for being too onerous.

In 2019, New York adopted discovery requirements that ordered lawyers to turn over large amounts of material to the defense in a short amount of time.

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Joan Illuzzi-Orbon, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney and trial division chief who prosecuted Harvey Weinstein, told the New York Post that such regulations are "crippling our lawyers."

"You become a file clerk rather than a trial lawyer," she said, providing the example of how every officer's bodycam footage at a protest might have to be produced if there are allegations of wrongdoing.

The Empire State Building towers above other largely empty office buildings on March 4, 2021, in New York City.

The Empire State Building towers above other largely empty office buildings on March 4, 2021, in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

"It's insanity," she added. "Most of it is completely irrelevant and not germane in any way to the issues of the case."

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Illuzzi-Orbon's description of the state reforms echoed former Manhattan assistant district attorney Daniel Bibb, who told Fox News in January that Bragg's memo downgrading crimes such as armed robbery as "the definition of insanity."

Fox News' Rebecca Rosenberg contributed to this report.