After successfully pushing to make simple possession of weed a non-criminal offense in New York City, Mayor de Blasio said he wants anyone who receives a summons to be able to mail in fines by mail.
For many small level offenses, like a parking ticket, violators are allowed to simply mail in the fine prior to their court date. De Blasio says that similarly, for small possession of weed, citizens should be given the same choice:
“That’s a choice that the individual citizen would make: If they got a summons, they could mail in and respond to a summons and pay a fine, but they would be accepting that they were guilty of the offense in question.”
But Scott Levy, an attorney with The Bronx Defenders, has been skeptical of the mail-in plan: “There’s a danger to portray these summonses as on par with parking tickets or something more than a minor inconvenience,” he told the Post. “These summonses carry potential negative consequences — and the city needs to take that seriously.”
Meanwhile, the mayor also said he wanted ethnic and racial data to be recorded on summonses in order to monitor profiling and disparities in violations. (For just one example of the disparities that worry the administration, in 2014, only 12% of stop-and-frisk checks were performed on white people).
For now, approval of the mail-option is being discussed with the chief judge and presiding judges of the state’s Appellate Division.
(Photo: Don Goofy)