The New York Supreme Court has issued a critical response regarding the aggressive prosecution pursued by New York District Attorney Alvin Bragg against individuals who purchased and utilized fake COVID vaccine cards during the pandemic.
Bragg took stringent action against New Yorkers accused of violating the city’s vaccine mandate and presenting forged proof of COVID vaccination cards to retain their jobs. Approximately a dozen individuals faced charges, with most pleading guilty to misdemeanor charges. However, two employees contested the allegations, prompting the involvement of the New York State Supreme Court to evaluate Bragg’s actions.
In a recent ruling, Justice Brendan T. Lantry dismissed the felony charges brought by Bragg against the two employees, identified as J.O. and R.V. According to court documents released on Jan. 30, J.O., a nursing student, and R.V., an employee with the city Department of Environmental Protection, were part of a group accused of purchasing fake vaccination cards from a New Jersey individual named Jasmine Clifford.
Justice Lantry expressed curiosity over Bragg’s vigorous pursuit of charges against these individuals while adopting a lenient approach towards suspects accused of more serious crimes such as murder, theft, and drug charges.
The court found that the two defendants were “cherry-picked” by Bragg’s office among the 16 people charged with felony criminal possession of a forged instrument. Justice Lantry emphasized that the charges were not among the most serious crimes and that the factual allegations against J.O. and R.V. did not match the severity of other cases handled by the Supreme Court.
Lantry criticized Bragg’s routine dismissal of serious counts or entire indictments, particularly to avoid consequences imposed by New York’s sentencing statutes or immigration-related issues. The Supreme Court’s ruling was welcomed by Republican City Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli of Staten Island, who denounced Bragg’s prosecution approach and highlighted the release of illegal immigrants by his office despite their involvement in attacking police officers.