Only Jean Carlos Zarzuela is criminally culpable for allegedly sucker-punching a 9-year-old girl in the face in Grand Central Terminal on Saturday. Yes, he was caught on video camera in the act and the charge is sure to proven, but, to paraphrase a great rabbi, while only Zarzuela is guilty, many are responsible.

Many are responsible because this very month, also in Grand Central, Zarzuela allegedly punched a woman and broke her nose — only to be put in the position to hurt more people within days thanks to a criminal justice and mental health system as porous as a cheap kitchen sponge.

Amid many who failed, give Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Pamela Goldsmith credit for trying to do the right thing.

In arraigning Zarzuela on April 4, the district attorney requested and Goldsmith set bail — $2,500 cash or $10,000 bond. (The charge was misdemeanor assault, which is normally not bail-eligible, but these charges qualified because Zarzuela was wanted on an outstanding warrant for failing to appear in court a year ago, also on an assault charge. That made him not only a danger but a flight risk.)

But just five days later, Zarzuela came before Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Laurie Peterson, who cut him loose to return to Grand Central because the prosecution hadn’t submitted a supporting deposition from the victim or cops within five days, as required by law.

Whose fault was that? Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s office has some tough questions to answer. As a result of the lapse, Zarzuela went free, and right back to the place where he likes to wreak havoc on others, which is exactly what he did. 

That’s not all. Once Peterson decided Zarzuela had to be released, the judge could’ve directed police to take him directly to a hospital to be evaluated for potential involuntary civil commitment. Bragg’s prosecutors could’ve urged her to issue such an order. State law gives them that power. Didn’t happen.

Also partly responsible are members of the city’s mental health community. Sources tell us Zarzuela had been recently evaluated by psychiatric professionals, who could have sought to hold him if they had deemed him a danger to himself or others. They did not.

Most of all, members of the Legislature and ex-Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Hochul are partly responsible for failing despite reform after reform to fix New York’s bail laws to allow judges to plainly consider a suspect’s dangerousness when determining whether or not to release him pretrial. That’s the way it works in the other 49 states.

It’s only New York where judges are barred from considering the very real risks a defendant presents to the public at large; here, the only thing judges are officially allowed to consider is flight risk — which becomes a wink-wink, nod-nod proxy for dangerousness.

Monday, Zarzuela was arraigned on multiple counts for allegedly punching the girl. The judge set $100,000 bail, which means he won’t be able to sucker-punch again, at least in the immediate future, and ordered a mental health evaluation for the purposes of determining whether he’s fit to stand trial. So this very troubled, violent man will await a finding of guilt or innocence behind bars, which is where he should’ve been already.

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