Linda M. Ricci


The New York City Criminal Court (the Criminal Court) is the busiest criminal court in the world. It operates in all five city boroughs and serves as the administrative starting point for nearly all criminal cases, including felonies, misdemeanors, and violations. In theory, the New York Supreme Court handles felony cases, and the Criminal Court hears misdemeanors. In fact, however, crime levels in New York City have reached such levels that over fifty percent of all felony arrests are reduced by the prosecutor to misdemeanors so that they may be addressed in the Criminal Court, Thus, as the processing of these felony-type crimes has been accommodated in the Criminal Court, many low-level quality-of-life crimes have been bumped out of the system for lack of time, space, and resources. In Manhattan, the quality-of-life crimes comprise five general categories: prostitution, subway fare-beating, minor drug offenses, unlicensed street peddling, and petit larceny/criminal possession of stolen property.

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