After he called on district attorneys across the five boroughs and New York state’s chief judge to fully reopen the court system during his daily press briefing on Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio received a strong response from the Office of Court Administration.
“While New York City still does not allow indoor dining, the mayor blithely asked us to call in thousands of people a week citywide for jury duty. Clearly, he has absolutely no understanding of how the criminal justice process works,” wrote spokesman Lucian Chalfen.
Speaking on his weekly “Mondays with the Mayor” interview on Inside City Hall on Monday night, the mayor fired back, saying the courts could not explain their way out of reopening.
“I’m amazed that the Office of Court Administration is not trying to innovate at this moment. They’re not indoor dining. They’re not restaurants. They’re the criminal justice system, for God’s sake,” he said. “We need them to function. They can’t explain their way out of this. We require them to be functioning fully to ensure that people who have done violence in our communities actually suffer the consequences and are off of our streets.”
“The comparison to indoor dining is actually rather distressing when you think about what we’re talking about is stopping shootings, stopping killings,” the mayor continued.
The push comes after another violent weekend in the city left a 16-year-old and 18-year-old dead and a 17-year-old injured.
During his press briefing Monday morning, the mayor said there was a backlog of cases involving violent crimes. De Blasio also said only 50 percent of gun charges have gotten to the point of criminal indictment.
The mayor tells NY1 the city is willing to help the courts figure out how to reopen safely.
“If it comes down to the question of, can you safely bring a jury into a space to have a trial, tell us what you need. That’s what I said to Office of Court Administration this morning. Do you need big spaces? We’ve got big spaces. We will make them available to you,” he said.
“Whatever you need, we will help you get it, but simply not having a functioning criminal justice system is going to endanger the people of the city we can’t go on like this,” de Blasio added.
Watch the full “Mondays with the Mayor” interview above.
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