BX DA race centers on corruption, case backlog

Both candidates for Bronx district attorney have made public corruption and the backlog of criminal cases central to their campaigns.

It wasn't until after the Democrats' primary election that incumbent Robert Johnson announced he would leave his job of 26 years to become a judge.

Local Democratic leaders chose appellate court Judge Darcel Clark to run in Johnson's stead against Republican candidate Robert Siano, who also entered the race after Johnson's announcement.

During her brief campaign, Clark has called for increased accountability in the DA's office and to get through a backlog of cases that plagues the borough.

But critics are attacking her record on the backlog based on reports that Clark presided over several hearings involving a Bronx teen who committed suicide after wallowing in a jail cell for three years before charges against him were dropped.

News 12 has previously reported that Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack. He could not afford bail and remained incarcerated at Rikers Island for years until the backlog caught up with his case.

Browder's parents say that abuse he endured in the prison led him to suicide.

Clark calls the Browder case a tragedy and says it should never have happened.

"As someone who is part of the criminal justice system, there are flaws in it that need to be addressed," Clark says. "As DA, I'm going to make sure...that something like that doesn't happen again."

Siano has also criticized public corruption and the backlog, but he also has focused his campaign on gangs, wrongful convictions, drugs and domestic violence.

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