Tag Archives: Pigovian Tax

BID Patrol Prosecution/Arrest Ratio Very Low as Shown by Top Arrestees 2007-2013: From 44 Frequently Arrested People with 1144 Arrests, 407 Brought to City Attorney, Only 185 Actually Prosecuted

Mike Feuer's office evidently exercises more prosecutorial discretion than average, at least when it comes to the BID Patrol, which may not be saying much...
Mike Feuer’s office evidently exercises more prosecutorial discretion than average, at least when it comes to the BID Patrol, which may not be saying much…
I recently obtained a 2013 list of people most arrested by the BID Patrol beginning in 2007. Since Kerry Morrison has told me1 that neither the HPOA nor Andrews International tracks outcomes of arrests made by the BID Patrol, I asked the City Attorney to run a report on all cases involving these people sent to them for prosecution.2 I subsequently tallied up the arrests and the referrals for the time period by hand3 and it turns out that the vast majority of cases involving BID Patrol arrests are not even referred for prosecution, and among those that are, over half are rejected. The data is incomplete and subject to some interpretation, but it appears that less than 20% of these cases are actually prosecuted.4 In particular, there are 1144 arrests of these 44 people between 2007 and 2013. Of these, no more than 407 (35.6%) were referred for prosecution. Of those cases, 222 were rejected for various reasons and the rest seem to have been prosecuted.

This is an astonishingly low rate if one thinks that the purpose of arresting people is to stop them from breaking the law, and it’s harmful both to the people arrested and to society at large. The incomparable Alexandra Napatoff, writing about misdemeanor convictions (although her argument is as strong regarding the arrests themselves, and even more so if the conviction rate is so very low), puts it like this;

Because the misdemeanor world is so large, its cultural disregard for evidence and innocence has pervasive ripple effects, not the least of which is the cynical lesson in civics that it teaches millions of Americans every year. In these ways, the misdemeanor process has become an influential gateway, sweeping up innocent as well as guilty on a massive scale and fundamentally shaping not only the ways we produce criminal convictions but also who is likely to sustain them.
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