Whilst David Clegg doesn’t imagine Ulster County has a significant gang drawback, gangs and gun violence nonetheless constitute a major factor. The Ulster County district legal professional estimates that about 60 p.c of great crime in Ulster County has some form of gang involvement.
Clegg fielded a variety of questions from the general public webinar held Thursday via the League of Girls Electorate of the Mid-Hudson Valley and the American Affiliation of College Girls on Zoom. Addressing about 40 contributors, Clegg mentioned a up to date assembly with New York State legal professional basic Letitia James. The point of interest used to be on the collection of gang-involved folks arising from the Bronx or Brooklyn.
He mentioned the circumstances incessantly contain drug offers. “Weapons and medicine move in combination,” Clegg mentioned. All of them too incessantly lead to gun violence.
“There are too many weapons in the market,” There are twelve-to-14-year-old younger adults with weapons. “I don’t have the solution, but it surely’s horrifying.”
Prosecutors are taking the placement very severely. “There were some individuals who ended up with a ten-year jail sentence after being stuck on 3 other events with a loaded gun,” Clegg mentioned. “We need to let folks know that’s no longer applicable habits, and ends up in harm.”
Clegg mentioned his place of work needs to do the entirety it could actually do to achieve out to at-risk early life. He hopes his place of work can unfold the phrase out into top colleges and let folks know the way severe the difficulty they get into may also be.
Tasks in Ulster County come with a “SNUG” group violence prevention program in partnership with the Midtown-based substance-use remedy middle Samadhi. This system reaches out to at-risk early life, some with imaginable gang involvement.
“We need to let youngsters know flashing a gun is an excessively severe crime,” Clegg mentioned.
Gang associates are from New York Town and traffickers from Patterson, New Jersey. He mentioned the DA’s place of work put away a person from Patterson who offered fentanyl to a sufferer who then overdosed. His place of work has additionally handled gang individuals from Springfield, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.
“I will be able to’t give sufficient credit score to the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Crew,” he mentioned. “URGENT is having quite a lot of good fortune.”
Adjustments in bail reform
Whilst some have laid the blame for an uptick in crime on bail-reform law that went into impact in early 2020, Clegg mentioned he believes bail reform has labored total. It’s in reality labored protecting folks out of prison who would move to prison for 20, 30 or 60 days just because they may no longer manage to pay for bail. He had observed this all too incessantly in his former function as a public defender.
However he admitted the unique regulation went somewhat too a ways. He has spoken to State Senate majority chief Andrea Stewart Cousins and State Meeting speaker Carl Heastie about some adjustments. “We had been seeing dangerous folks profit from it,” Clegg mentioned. “We had been seeing folks devote housebreaking after housebreaking.”
That used to be corrected. “When any individual has a rate pending, they usually devote every other prison, they are able to be installed prison.”
Clegg mentioned his place of work used to be cautious about inquiring for bail. “My place of work doesn’t request bail except we expect there’s a public-safety threat,” he mentioned. “We’re no longer having a look to prison any individual looking ahead to [trial on] a non-violent crime.”
Clegg used to be requested whether or not law-enforcement officers knew of any presence of violent far-right extremist teams akin to Proud Boys or Oath Keepers. He mentioned he didn’t have a doubt they had been right here, however thus far officers haven’t heard of threats or observed any violence from them.
Regardless that the collection of murders within the county declined in 2021 from a large spike in 2020, two fresh murders have solid a shadow over the decline. The hardest case he’s labored as DA in touch gun violence, Clegg mentioned. That case used to be the December 2020 taking pictures demise of twelve-year-old D’Janeira Mason of Kingston.
“I went to the scene of the homicide, and noticed the lady used to be shot within the head,” he mentioned. “I made up our minds to take care of that case from the grand jury to conviction. The ones are issues that stick with you.”