A.G. Schneiderman Releases Report On Arrests Resulting From Stop And Frisk Practices And Their Impact On The Criminal Justice System
Data Reveal That Just Three Percent Of Stops Led To Convictions, And Just 0.1 Percent Led To Convictions For A Violent Crime
Report Is First Analysis Of What Happens To Suspects And Law Enforcement Institutions Following Stop And Frisk Arrests
NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman released a report today analyzing the New York Police Department’s stop and frisk program by studying and tracking the arrests that result from stops — the first such analysis of what happens to individuals and institutions following these arrests. While the constitutionality of the stop and frisk program has been the subject of litigation and significant debate, its efficacy has been less closely scrutinized; the Attorney General’s new report helps to fill that gap.
In analyzing close to 150,000 arrests that resulted from approximately 2.4 million stops between 2009 and 2012, the report concludes that roughly half of those arrests, or just three percent of stops, led to guilty pleas or convictions at trial. In addition, just 0.3 percent of stops led to jail sentences of more than 30 days, and 0.1 percent led to convictions for a violent crime. The report also finds widespread consequences for arrestees and criminal justice institutions, including litigation costs incurred by the city, and various harms even to individuals arrested for misdemeanors.
Today’s report is the second to be released by the Office of the Attorney General — the first, released in 1999, found that blacks and Hispanics were stopped and frisked at a disproportionate rate, even when controlling for demographics and crime rates.
“My office's analysis of the city's stop and frisk practices has broad implications for law enforcement, both in New York City and across the state. It’s our hope that this report – the first of its kind – will advance the discussion about how to fight crime without overburdening our institutions or violating equal justice under the law,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The vast amount of data we analyzed over four years should serve as a helpful guide to municipalities and law enforcement officials around the state, where stop and frisk practices are used to varying degrees. I want to thank the NYPD and the Office of Court Administration for providing the data for our report.”
The report, which relies on data obtained from the New York Police Department (NYPD) and the Office of Court Administration, looks at: (1) the patterns observed between arrest and disposition; (2) the nature of the offenses charged by the NYPD at the time of arrest and how those charges were reduced by the time of conviction, and (3) racial disparities observed from time of arrest to time of disposition. Among core findings set forth in the report are the following:
- Close to half of all stop and frisk arrests resulted in no convictions because the arrestees were never prosecuted, their cases were dismissed, or they received an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal (a dismissal of a charge if the defendant does not commit another crime within six months or a year);
- Just one in 16 stop and frisk arrests—or 0.3 percent of all stops—led to a jail or prison sentence of more than 30 days;
- Just one in 50 stop and frisk arrests—or 0.1 percent of all stops—led to a conviction for a violent crime;
- Just one in 50 stop and frisk arrests—or 0.1 percent of all stops—led to a conviction for possession of a weapon; and
- Almost one quarter of stop-and-frisk arrests (24.7 percent) were dismissed before arraignment or resulted in a non-criminal charge.
The report also highlights the collateral consequences that arrests have for all individuals subject to stop and frisk, regardless of the ultimate outcome of the case, and the burdens that various aspects of the stop and frisk program place on institutional actors within the criminal justice system. For example:
- Threats of a possible loss of employment, housing, student loans, and immigration status, even for those charged with misdemeanors, and added incentive to plead guilty; and
- A sharp uptick in litigation costs for New York City for lawsuits alleging constitutional violations by the NYPD. In 2009, for the first time in 30 years, the NYPD had the largest legal settlements of any city agency.
The Civil Rights Bureau of the Attorney General's Office is committed to ensuring equal justice under law and protecting the rights of all New Yorkers. To report complaints, contact the Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8250, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ag.ny.gov.
A copy of today's report can be viewed here.