By: Ryan Saavedra
Law enforcement officials say that a violent felon who had been released from Rikers Island due to the coronavirus outbreak in the prison has been arrested again for allegedly robbing a bank.
James Little “was cut loose from the jail because of the coronavirus outbreak on March 28 after being locked up for strangulation earlier in the month,” The New York Post reported, according to police sources. “About a week later on the morning of April 7, Little allegedly tried to rob an Apple Bank on Irving Place in Gramarcy Park.”
The New York Daily News noted that Little was “on parole for a 1995 murder” and that the alleged strangulation stemmed from “charges of assaulting his girlfriend.”
The Daily News said that Little was arrested on March 3 over the alleged incident inside his girlfriend’s home in Brooklyn.
The Post said that Little wore gloves and a face mask when he allegedly tried to rob the bank by passing a note to the teller that told her to give him money.
Authorities arrested Little the following day after his alleged failed robbery attempt.
“Investigators believe he knocked over two Midtown banks on Jan. 23 and Dec. 26, leaving with $1,000 in each robbery,” The Post added. “Little served more than 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a murder committed in Coney Island when he was 15 years old.”
House Democrats on the Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr at the end of March demanding that he try to “release as many prisoners as possible” over the coronavirus.
Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and subcommittee chairwoman Karen Bass (D-CA) urged Barr to consider releasing prisoners regardless of the severity of offense they had committted.
“We call on you, in the most urgent of terms, to do the right thing and exercise [authority to modify sentences of prisoners who present ‘extraordinary and compelling reasons’] and immediately move to release medically-compromised, elderly, and pregnant prisoners in the custody of the [Bureau of Prisons],” the two Democrats wrote. “In addition, we urge that you use every tool at your disposal to release as many prisoners as possible, to protect them from COVID-19.”
The two Democrats indicated that they had a problem with a memo that Barr wrote that stated that inmates at low and minimum security facilities should be be given priority for consideration to be released from prison [emphasis added]:
Your memorandum specifies that priority should be given to inmates in low- and minimum-security facilities and that “serious” offenses should weigh more heavily against consideration for home detention. These limitations, unfortunately, beg the question of what you do with individuals who are at a high risk for contracting COVID-19 who are not in low- or minimum-security facilities, who have been convicted of serious offenses, or who have high PATTERN risk scores. We urge you to consider that even individuals in these categories should be assessed for release because they may be elderly or particularly vulnerable. Pregnant prisoners, in all circumstances, should be released to home confinement forthwith. We further urge you to assess the risk of contracting COVID-19 of every individual in BOP custody, regardless of the type of institution in which they are housed, the seriousness of their offense, or the potential recidivism risk they may present. If BOP decides to keep these individuals detained, what specific provisions are being made for those among them who are at high risk for contracting COVID-19? What plans are being made to communicate information to these individuals, their attorneys, and their loved ones, about the plan for their care behind bars during the COVID-19 pandemic?
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By: Ryan Saavedra