Jorge Fitz-Gibbon, New York Post, December 28, 2021
The year 2021 brought a hefty serving of junk justice to the Big Apple.
Between lenient judges and liberal state bail reform laws, a slew of violent criminals landed back on the streets — only to reoffend.
The soft-on-crime statute, passed by state lawmakers in 2019 and tweaked in 2020, stripped judges of discretion by barring them from setting bail on nearly all misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.
Other jurists simply went rogue by springing defendants in serious cases.
Steven Mendez, 18, already had at least three busts on his record and was out on probation when he allegedly gunned down 21-year-old college student Saiko Koma in October.
Bronx Judge Denis Boyle freed Mendez on five years’ probation in May after he pleaded guilty to a violent armed robbery in 2020, The Post previously reported. The troubled teen, whose rap sheet includes a bust for allegedly pulling a gun on his own mother, could’ve been kept behind bars for up to four years in the robbery case.
Instead, the reputed gang member, then 17, was free to allegedly fatally shoot Koma in Fordham Heights — after police said he mistook the victim for a rival gang member.
Serial shoplifter Isaac Rodriguez was nabbed nearly 50 times this year alone — yet kept getting dumped back on the streets.
Rodriguez, 22, currently has 23 open cases in Queens, part of a mind-boggling rap sheet that lists 74 arrests dating to 2015, records show.
Accused serial burglar Juan DelValle was so adept at dodging jail that cops came to call the 32-year-old career criminal “Teflon.”
DelValle already had more than 30 busts on his rap sheet — and five open cases in Manhattan and Brooklyn — when a Manhattan judge ordered him released without bail on Aug. 15 on the most recent burglary case.
Within 10 days, cops said, DelValle was being sought on more than a dozen other burglaries after investigators found 20 laptops, a stolen 9mm handgun and drugs at his apartment at a Brooklyn public housing complex.
A 31-year-old homeless man was free on a pending burglary case when police said he broke into a 10-year-old girl’s bedroom on June 12 and rubbed his genitals on her.
Raymond Wilson had been arrested on burglary charges at least a dozen times.
Reputed teen gangbanger Alberto Ramirez caught a break when Bronx Judge Denis Boyle lowered his bail on a gun case — then used it to allegedly kill a father of two.
Ramirez, 17, was freed on March 2 after Boyle — the same jurist in the Mendez case — reduced his bail from $75,000 to $10,000 over the objections of Bronx prosecutors.
Police said on May 16, Ramirez fired randomly into a crowd on a rival gang’s turf, when one bullet struck and killed 34-year-old Eric Velasquez, a bystander.
Ricardo Hernandez was cut loose after he was charged with three hate crimes for allegedly shoving an Asian NYPD officer onto Queens subway tracks on April 17.
“My hands are tied because under the new bail rules, I have absolutely no authority or power to set bail on this defendant for this alleged offense,” Queens Supreme Court Justice Louis Nock said at Hernandez’s arraignment.
The 32-year-old suspect had at least a dozen prior arrests under his belt, but the cop-shove charges were nonetheless not eligible for bail under the state’s new laws.