The New York Mets’ appeal tested

Al Pacino once starred with Ellen Barkin in an underrated movie called “Sea of Love.” Pacino played a New York City cop.

Early in the film, Pacino organizes a sting to capture dozens of New York City’s most wanted criminals. He has them invited to a special meet and greet with the New York Yankees. Suspecting nothing, the crooks and thugs arrive. They are duly taken into custody.

Bill de Blasio must have seen “Sea of Love.” New York City is preparing to release almost 900 prisoners who are due to stand trial. As an incentive for them to show up for trial, de Blasio reportedly will offer them New York Mets tickets.

Even if New York’s criminal class were as clueless as depicted in “Sea of Love,” I don’t think New York Mets tickets would do the trick. It’s no accident that the Pacino character used the Yankees, not the Mets.

It’s also fair to wonder why New York City taxpayers should be paying for criminals to attend major league baseball games of any kind.

Here, via Daniel Horowitz, is the story. Earlier this year, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, signed a bill under which, on January 1 of next year, criminals arrested for roughly 400 categories of misdemeanors and felonies will be released immediately without the need to post any cash bail pretrial. Other criminals will get off with limited cash bail or other forms of unsecured bond.

As a result, says Horowitz, people arrested for criminally negligent homicide, any drug trafficking and gang activity, or aggravated assault (even against children) will be released indefinitely while awaiting trial. The law applies retroactively to those already in jail awaiting trial for these crimes.

Apparently, though, January 1 isn’t soon enough for this particular jail break. The New York Post reports that the state Office of Court Administration is working on a plan to begin 880 releases of New York City inmates beginning in December. The Legal Aid Society, a taxpayer-funded group dedicated to freeing violent criminals, is already filing motions to have these criminals released as soon as possible.

The problem, if it’s still considered one, is that there is little to prevent the released criminals from skipping trial. That’s where the Mets tickets come in. De Blasio reportedly is working on a plan whereby the tickets will be offered as an inducement for criminals to show up for trial.

This may sound like a joke, but it’s not. However, the scheme has generated its share of dark humor from police officers. One asked: “What do the victims get — to watch it on TV?” Another wondered: “Are Yankees tickets reserved for murderers? I am sure it will only be a matter of time before they get out on no bail.”

It’s all pretty depressing. But at least we can enjoy Phil Phillips singing “Sea of Love.”

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