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Klein’s Court Watchers Program Makes Precense Known

Members of Senator Jeff Klein’s Court Monitoring Program are not afraid to show that they will not tolerate crime in their neighborhoods.

The Court Monitoring Program began in April 2010 after Bronx residents approached the senator about how concerned they were with the amount of crime occurring in their communities, seeking harsher punishment for those convicted, especially repeat offenders.

The program consists of volunteers from Bronx communities that sit-in on court proceedings for repeat, adult offenders while wearing t-shirts and buttons that show how strongly they feel about crime and their desire for the courts to impose jail sentences on them.

On Monday, February 7, seven volunteers appeared at the Bronx Courthouse on 265 E. 161 Street, proudly displaying their t-shirts, to sit-in on the hearing of Nicholas Brisotti, who is being charged with criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, auto stripping in the third degree and criminal mischief in the fourth degree, was arrested in August 2010 for puncturing holes in the tires of a 1998 Toyota Celica, 2003 Honda Pilot, 2004 Dodge Durango and a 2001 Hyundai on Barker Avenue within the 49th Precinct.

Among this group ofvolunteers was Joe Thompson, president of the 49th Precinct Community Council, who hopes that the judges will see the volunteers coming to these meetings with concern over the rising crime rate in the Bronx communities.

“It really is important for us to appear at these court hearings,” Thompson said. “Of course we are concerned about this particular case, but we want the courts to see that it’s not just about this one. We want offenders to receive harsher punishment.”

The judges and district attorney’s office need to look at an individual’s criminal record and take into consideration if the crime they committed was a repeat of a past crime, said Thompson. He believes that this should automatically put the repeat offender beind bars.

The case regarding Brisotti was adjourned until April 11 and the volunteers who came out that day said that they will be present at the next meeting, hoping that other people from the local communities will come and show their concern as well.

Mary Jane Musano of the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association has had enough with the lack of punishment being handed out to these repeat offenders.

“We came out here to let the judge know that we are tired of the crime in our neighborhoods,” Musano said. “We want repeat offenders off the streets. If they have been caught for committing the same crime that they were arrested for in the past, then they really should receive a jail sentence.”

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