ALBANY – Just six weeks since bail reforms have been implemented in New York, State Senator James Sanders, Jr. (D, Queens) introduced legislation to find district attorneys and police guilty of “criminal circumvention of bail reform” if they inflate charges against an individual in order to evade bail reform provisions.
Many prosecutors and police officers oppose the reforms which allow suspects released without bail on certain serious crimes.
The proposed legislation lasted one day before it was pulled by Senate Democrats.
Hudson Valley Assemblyman Colin Schmitt (R, New Windsor) blasted the legislation calling it “outrageous and offensive,” saying it should not have been proposed in the first place, and he continued his criticism of the Democrat majority in the legislature and administration. “They gave us dangerous criminal justice reforms and they want to go to the next step and start arresting cops, prosecutors and other public safety officers for doing their job,” he said. “We have bank robbers, murderers, domestic abusers being released on the streets, being released without bail, and instead of focusing on repealing those laws and reforming laws to protect New Yorkers, they decide to introduce legislation to lock up cops and lock up prosecutors. It’s nuts.”
Senate Republican Minority Leader John Flanagan condemned the ‘circumvention of bail reform’ proposal. While that bill was yanked, he said it came “on the heels of the attempted assassinations of NYPD officers, and a public plea from NYPD Police Commissioner Shea to stop the anti-police rhetoric. This is simply a continuation.”
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins (D, Yonkers) has proposed a plan that would involve no bail at all. All misdemeanors, with the exception of certain hate crimes and sex crimes, would no longer be subject to bail requirements. With all other crimes, a judge would have the authority to either send a suspect to jail or impose electronic monitoring or some other form of monitoring.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie said the Democrats “care deeply about victims and we want to work with law enforcement and district attorneys to ensure the safety of our communities.” He said, “As will all new laws, we need to monitor its implementation. We need to differentiate fact from fiction and not rely on sensationalism and cherry-picked stories. We must use facts and data to determine how the law is working.”
Heastie also said Albany must “be careful not to rush to make changes that could cause more people to be incarcerated before their trial and before they have been convicted of a crime.”