Opinion

Legal lunacy: Judge tosses gun case over grand jury’s lack of diversity


Amid a stunning surge in shootings, a Manhattan federal judge this week tossed a gun case against an alleged gang member — citing a possible lack of diversity on the grand jury that indicted him. Seriously.

Prosecutors, Judge Analisa Torres ruled Monday, failed to rebut the defense’s “clear statistical evidence” that the grand-jury pool didn’t have enough “Black and Latinx individuals” and the selection process “was susceptible to abuse,” so she dismissed the charges against William “Ill Will” Scott, 43 and a reputed Bloods member with 25 arrests dating back to 1999.

The NYPD arrested Scott last year after a camera caught him shooting another man in his Bronx neighborhood twice in the leg. The feds charged him with being a felon in possession of ammunition; a judge found him dangerous enough to order him held without bail.

But the city had no active grand juries at that point in the pandemic, so prosecutors took the case to White Plains to indict because (as they wrote in response to the ruling) Scott “posed a sufficiently serious risk to public safety that it was untenable to delay his prosecution.”

The jury-eligible population in White Plains is 12.5 percent black and 14 percent Latino. Manhattan’s is 21 percent black and 28 percent Latino. Given Scott’s rap sheet, it’s absurd to think the feds sought out a grand jury full of racists just to get him. Indeed, a different grand jury has re-indicted him; he faces a July 12 court hearing and up to 10 years in prison.

Prosecutors also noted that three other Manhattan federal judges recently rejected “identical claims” of grand-jury bias.

The Obama-appointed Torres’ own bias is plain. But federal judges sit for life, so you can bet New York will suffer from more pro-criminal rulings from her for years to come.


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