Attorneys for Darrell Johnson Say He Was Bail-Eligible, but Judge Chose Supervised Release

Site of first attack, NW corner of 79th and Broadway

By Joy Bergmann

New York County Defender Services, a public defender agency, issued a statement Tuesday lambasting “inflammatory” media coverage of its client Darrell Johnson’s alleged assault of two women on the UWS and subsequent release from custody. [After WSR broke the story, articles appeared in the Daily News, Post, Daily Mail and other outlets.] The statement claims Johnson’s arraignment judge had the option of imposing bail, but chose to issue Supervised Release:

“In fact, contrary to inflammatory headlines that have covered this case, the charges Mr. Johnson faces in fact do qualify for money bail, and leave the decision regarding the terms of pre-trial release to the discretion of the judge. In this case, the judge, likely aware that jail is proven to actually increase a person’s likelihood of recidivism, and also likely aware that NYC jails are both currently unconscionably inhumane and exorbitantly expensive, ordered that Mr. Johnson be released to Supervised Release, a city-run program that has, by all accounts, been hailed as a wildly successful alternative to pre-trial detention.”

WSR asked a NYCDS spokesperson to specify the legal provision that would’ve allowed the judge to set bail. The Manhattan District Attorney’s office previously said Johnson, 28, did not qualify for bail. His third-degree assault charges in the UWS case and a prior, pending Harlem assault case from August 2020 are Class A misdemeanors, which are generally not bail-eligible offenses.  

However, a section of the current bail law, 510.10.4(t) does appear to allow a judge some bail discretion on serious misdemeanors involving harm to identifiable people or property when the acts were committed while a defendant is out on release for a pending case of a similar nature. The NYCDS has not yet responded to WSR inquiries. 

The statement continued: 

“The media’s depiction of Mr. Johnson is both shameful and confounding. The stories describe him as ‘homeless’ and derisively depict a man in the midst of a mental health emergency…

Where is the outrage that our city has failed to adequately provide housing or mental health services for those who so desperately need them?.. 

After two years of the same headline, we demand that the media stop scapegoating ‘bail reform’ for all of society’s problems, and finally begin to report on the true issues concerning our city.”

WSR asked the spokesperson if Johnson disputed the charges against him and to correct the record if Johnson was not homeless on 12/2/21, as stated by the NYPD. We have not yet heard back.

Meanwhile, the husband of the first victim in the 79th and Broadway attack told the Daily News that his 50-year-old wife had several teeth broken and suffered a deep cut on her right cheek that runs from her lip to the side of her face; she will require plastic surgery, he said. The second victim, a woman attacked at 80th and Broadway, had injuries of “redness and swelling … and substantial pain,” according to court documents. Both required evaluation and treatment at Mount Sinai Morningside [St. Luke’s] Hospital. 

NEWS | 38 comments | permalink
    1. Peter says:

      Confounding, huh? So he’s not homeless or mentally unstable? Just your average street thug? That should help his defense.

      Inflammatory? Where did they get that fancy word? Is it from the inflammation occurring when the boots and fists of a 28-yr-old meet the face of a 50- or 80-yr-old woman?

      Inhumane conditions? I yearn to hear how they describe what the victims experienced while having their faces slamming the pavement. Nirvana?

      Increased likelihood of recidivism? You mean, another act of violence after the ~15 he already has in his rapsheet? That’s a single-digit % increase – I’d take that likelihood.

      Are these guys lobotomized or something?

      • Rita says:

        New York County Defender Services: Wake Up!!!
        You are not helping anybody with your out of touch

    2. Adam says:

      Thank you WSR for including,

      “Meanwhile, the husband of the first victim in the 79th and Broadway attack told the Daily News that his 50-year-old wife had several teeth broken and suffered a deep cut on her right cheek that runs from her lip to the side of her face; she will require plastic surgery, he said.”

      Seems to me that’s just as important as the NYCDS feigned “outrage”

    3. UWS-er says:

      Thanks for continuing to follow this story as it develops.

    4. ben says:

      The logic that ‘jails are full so let’s just release criminals back in the streets’ is ridiculous.

    5. nemo paradise says:

      Odious as it may seem from time to time, we must never abandon the principle that anyone accused of a crime is entitled to a vigorous and thorough defense.

      I n the meantime, maybe we shouldn’t let accused assassins run around the streets with weapons in the name of some insane notion of “fairness.”

    6. Kate says:

      And my liberal friends wonder why I never vote Democrat in NYC elections despite doing so in national ones.

      • Jerry says:

        @ Kate

        I’m baffled by how often people post nonsense like this on this site. Can they really be that badly misinformed (or ignorant) about our system of government? To become law, most judicial system legislation is enacted by the New York State Assembly and New York State Senate and signed by the Governor of New York State.

    7. Good Grief says:

      It was judge Robert Rosenthal who ordered his release (easily accessible on ecourts), seen posing here with your new local city councilwoman, Gale Brewer:

      I wonder what she has to say about it?

      • UWS_lifer says:

        Thank you for mentioning this.

        I was thinking this is all public information and readily accessible on the NY courts website. Why isn’t anyone publishing the judge’s name. It’s not a secret or anything.

        This is the first, and very small, step toward accountability for all involved.

        You can’t just keep sending these ticking timebombs back into the community and hope for the best. How about after your number of arrests hit DOUBLE DIGITS you have to stay in jail. Can we all agree on that? maybe not, apparently.

    8. William Pearlman says:

      The fact is that this lays squarely at the feet of the elected officials. And in this town. That’s the Democrats

    9. Tipping Point says:

      I’d also like to add my thanks to the Rag for following up on this story. Someone–the NYCDS or the DA’s office–is playing fast and loose with the facts of this case. We deserve better and thanks for the Rag in trying to get to the bottom of this.

    10. LW says:

      If he’s not going to go to prison, it’s time to start suing him.

      • SadforUWS says:

        funniest comment I’ve seen in months.

        • You mean suing a homeless man?

          Hey, sue the judge too while you’re at it, next time a thug he’s released stabs yet another defenseless citizen… but of course another judge would hear it & immediately dismiss it as an unpleasant reminder of how unjust the judicial system currently is; I could point at SCOTUS, but that’s too depressing to even think about at this moment (beside not being germane) as SCOTUS indicates that the Constitution of the United States is teetering on the edge, in my estimation.

          One more autocratic president, or the return of a past one, will tip us into the abyss)

    11. biffmeister says:

      Let’s see what a difference Eric Adams will make when it comes to restoring law and order (aka common sense) to NYC. The fact that he said he wants the PC to be a woman is concerning because that smells of wokism. He should hire the most qualified person for the job, regardless of sex, race, etc. Junkies, alcoholics, mentally ill and thugs MUST be removed from the streets or nothing else will matter. Even some liberals are starting to understand that.

      • Jerry says:

        @ biffmeister

        Do you have any sense of how our judicial system works and things such as the U.S. Constitution and New York State Constitution?

      • Jo Baldwin says:

        With Eric Adams and his cohort, what you see is probably what you are going to get. I will explain that after he and his minions are in their new jobs a while.

    12. UWSider says:

      From that statement I do not see an ounce of compassion toward the two UWS victims (plus the Harlem one). Why is it that the appeal for compassion only applies to criminals but not to their innocent victims in the NYCDS’s minds? Do we deserve to be randomly assaulted and lose our teeth in the name of “compassion”?

    13. Fed Up says:

      Is the compassion for the perps really white guilt that some people carry with them? Are they really interested in helping people change their life or pacifying their own guilt for wha they may have achieved. Laws matter. Its not OK to break laws. Or hurt other people. Whatever your race, national origin, or economic status. Look at the facts and stop using people, exploiting people, in the name of justice.

      • SadforUWS says:

        It’s not white guilt. It’s an obsession, perhaps even a cult, that will excuse anyone doing any crime, except if the race is white.

      • Dee says:

        But do the seriously mentally ill understand laws? Do they know right from wrong?

        What is your solution to the homeless mentally ill that plagues cities? Many have tried and failed around this issue. It is very sad.

    14. Jim Demetrios says:

      Ok. Can’t carry a weapon so, I got myself a European Doberman. As stupid as this sounds, us law abiding New Yorkers need to protect ourselves as our idiot mayor and the idiots on the city council, are…idiots. This is nauseating. And we keep electing these AOCs. What did you expect ?

    15. Otto Marshall says:

      This is why we need to vote in local elections! Get these progressive judges with their heads up their as*es out! Their poor idealistic decisions impact all of us. This brutal attack could have happened to any of us. Who cares if he is homeless or not – it doesn’t justify or excuse his violence. If you don’t get out and vote, this is what you end up with in a “democratic” city.

    16. Leon says:

      The inmates are clearly running the asylum here. The man has recidivist tendencies. The fact that he has been arrested so many times and committed this physical violence proves that he does not belong among us.

      I don’t care if he goes to jail or a mental health facility – I just care that he is not in a position to do this yet again.

      That bail law cited in the article is truly ridiculous. How do we best go about getting it changed?

      Thank you very much to WSR for your excellent continued coverage.

      • Jerry says:

        @ Leon

        And yet the bail law cited in the article says the judge had the discretion to set bail in this case, so what law is it that you are asking to have changed?

        • Rita says:

          Reintroduce the Rockefeller Rules. No more judicial discretion. Except instead of 3 Strikes, make it 5 Strikes. Problem solved, Jerry

    17. Irate Partisan says:

      Joy Bergmann is formidable is all I have to say

    18. BJ says:

      Get this thug off the streets once and for all!!! Public defense service is certainly not protecting the public and is totally out of touch with reality. He already has 15 violent offenses. Obviously he has to kill someone first to get him behind bars where he belongs. The guy who recently killed the Columbia grad student had 11 previous offenses. Maybe if the public defenders were really doing their job this tragedy would have been avoided. No, my sympathies are with the victims not with this monster.

    19. Linda says:

      Ah-ha! You see, the media is . . . Racist! Gee, I wasn’t expecting that.

    20. UWSDad says:

      Thank You West side Rag for pursuing this. Enough is enough. Write the Governor, and other elected officials everyone.

    21. Neil says:

      Public safety is paramount. It is despicable that this man who aggressively assaulted 2 woman without provocation has been released, especially with an arrest record of previous such assaults. To state that his release is justified because of conditions in the lockup are deplorable is downright irresponsible. The perpetrator’s “rights’ are placed ahead of society’s rights to be protected from this menace. Shame on you!

    22. Church Operations says:

      The church in the picture looks like best place for mentally ill persons to receive therapy. Homeless people are always sitting in the front door steps of the church every single day. City government should fund the church for the operational and maintenance bill.
      Our upper west side community would like to see the church sparkling like St.Patricks in Midtown.

    23. LivableCity says:

      Thanks WSR for following up this story. My great sympathies to the people harmed in these assaults and to their loved ones. And could we focus on what we all know – what many police officers will tell you is too frequent: people in unstable living situations who do not get the help they need. Jail isn’t appropriate but hospitals don’t have beds and social services are overwhelmed. Where is the staff for that supervised psych housing that has been built?? I agree that cash bail should stop for any offenses if a person will show up in court. But with a similar prior, I do hope the Supervised Release program provides the support needed to keep this alleged attacker from causing more harm. Please continue to follow up. The goals of safe neighborhoods and effective programs for those who need them are BOTH worth support. They both make the city better for everyone who lives here.

    24. RK says:

      Ummm I know it is tone deaf to a community that is threatened by this violence, but did anyone actually click on the links in the statement and read?
      Data is superior to anecdote and emotion.
      If this had happened in the Bronx you would be much more receptive to the data.
      My family is scared too, but you can hold two thoughts in your head at the same time.
      Just sayin’.

    25. Mar says:

      Inhumane…for the perp? What about the inhumanness of releasing this repeat thug back in the street to terrorize others? Why does his rights matter more than the citizens. Who’s going to pay to fix this women’s face. The city needs to

    26. Cathy Bernstein says:

      Why is violence against women now acceptable in 2021?

      Absolutely shameful that anyone, including the Public Defender, could vouch for this despicable human being who assaults older woman!

      Notice how this guy didn’t try to beat the living daylights out of a 25 year old man? Because he’s a coward and a bully and I wish the judge had put him behind bars.

      Thank you to the WSR for following this story.

      And I’m really tired of these victim stories, he’s homeless, he’s mentally ill, his family wasn’t nice to him, etc.

      My sympathy lies only with these 2 women who were assaulted for no reason at 9 am.