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Frank James, the New York subway shooting suspect, wasn't out of jail because of "leftist justice reform."
His prior arrests came decades ago. The arrests that occurred in New York, for example, were in the 1990s, most occurring when Republican Rudy Giuliani was mayor of the city and well before current justice reform efforts by prosecutors.
More details have emerged about Frank R. James, the man accused of opening fire on a crowded subway in New York City, and his criminal history, which include multiple previous arrests.
Some have used that information to claim that James, who is 62, was able to commit the attack because of "leftist" justice reform policies.
"NYPD: Shooting suspect Frank James, now in custody, had nine prior arrests in New York, three prior arrests in New Jersey," reads a tweet re-shared in a Facebook post. Overlaid text along the top said, "How’s that leftist justice reform going?"
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The arrest numbers are accurate, but the majority occurred decades ago, well before current justice reform efforts by prosecutors. His prior arrests in New York were in the 1990s, with most occurring when Republican Rudy Giuliani was mayor of New York City.
James’ arrests included charges of possession of burglary tools, theft of service, trespassing and petit larceny. None resulted in a felony conviction.
James Essig, Chief of Detectives at the New York Police Department, went through James’ arrest record in a news conference following his arrest in Manhattan.
According to Essig, James has nine prior arrests in New York, dating from 1992 to 1998, that included four arrests for possession of burglary tools, one for a criminal sex act, and two arrests for theft of service. He was arrested once on a warrant out of New Jersey and again for criminal tampering.
The NYPD said James also had three arrests in New Jersey in 1991, 1992 and 2007 that include charges of trespassing, larceny and disorderly conduct.
According to reporting by North Jersey Media Group, James had a fourth arrest in New Jersey, in 1995 for making terroristic threats. He was convicted on a lesser charge of harassment in that case and sentenced to probation for one year, the Essex County Prosecutor's Office told the newspaper.
James had no felony convictions that would have prevented him from buying the gun he allegedly used in the subway attack.
The NYPD said James has ties to Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We were unable to find a criminal record for him in these states.
Recent justice reform efforts in Democrat-led states like New York and New Jersey involve actions like ending cash bail for all but the most violent crimes. While there is a lot of debate over these initiatives, they began only a few years ago — long after James’ last recorded arrest in 2007.
A Facebook post claims "leftist justice reform" is the reason that James wasn’t in jail before the subway attack.
There is no evidence that recent criminal justice reform efforts by prosecutors had any impact on whether James was in custody. His previous arrests occurred decades ago, well before these initiatives were introduced.
We rate this False.
PolitiFact researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.
Facebook post, April 13, 2022
NBC New York, Who Is Frank James? 62-Year-Old Named Prime Suspect in Brooklyn Subway Shooting, April 13, 2022
NorthJersey.com, Frank James, accused NYC subway shooter, was charged with making threats in NJ in 1990s, April 13, 2022
YouTube, NYPD Watch as Mayor Adams & NYPD Executives provide an update on yesterday’s shooting incident, April 13, 2022
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Wisconsin man linked to the New York subway shooting has been arrested, April 13, 2022
Politico, New York Democrats pare back nation-leading bail reform amid crime wave, April 11, 2022
PolitiFact, No, the Brooklyn subway shooting was not a false flag attack, April 14, 2022
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