Alvin Bragg drops a rotten murder charge – New York Daily News

There’s something in civil law called “pattern and practice” investigations. We see one in the criminal prosecutions of Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg.

In early February, a month after Bragg issued his “Day One” memo — which promised, among other things, to downgrade armed robbery charges to misdemeanor petty larceny when the perpetrator, despite having a weapon, “does not create a genuine risk of physical harm” — Bragg abandoned that most dangerous plank amid a hailstorm of criticism.

Tuesday, nearly three weeks after charging bodega clerk Jose Alba with second-degree murder for stabbing and killing an assailant with a knife, triggering condemnations from every conceivable quarter, Bragg dismissed the charge.

It was a major mistake from the get-go to go after Alba for murder rather than, say, manslaughter; the overreach effectively forced Alba to be locked up on Rikers Island. Once that die was cast, Bragg gets some credit for a fairly swift deep dive that ended in dropping the charge.

What’s next on Bragg’s reconsideration list? Might he rethink his hesitation to file fraud charges against Donald Trump, which bucked the advice of veteran prosecutors sure the ex-president is guilty of a felony? Might he set aside his insanely overbroad pledge to reopen every last one of thousands of sex-crime convictions and pleas touched over decades by former prosecutor Linda Fairstein? Fingers crossed.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Lee Zeldin, who’s promising to fire Bragg if he becomes New York State’s chief executive next year, offends democracy by substituting his policy judgment for the judgment of Manhattanites who went to the polls and chose Bragg. What makes Zeldin’s pledge worse is that it’s based on a bogus premise that Bragg is systematically failing to prosecute serious violent crimes. Shootings in Manhattan are down 14.8% (which is more than the citywide decline), homicides are down 12% (also more than the citywide decline), and Manhattan gun prosecutions are up 30% compared to this time last year.

But serious disagreements with Alvin Bragg are warranted. Alvin Bragg has lots of them himself.

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