In 2004, Democratic New York State legislators passed a groundbreaking judicial reform that removed bail from most misdemeanors, including nonviolent felonies. The “no bail” law was rescinded for the third time after public outrage over violent felons who were released and committed heinous crimes.
Some people are concerned about punishment. For most, the goal is to get violent criminals off of the streets and separate them from the public. New York’s legislative body has failed to meet the basic needs of the people, which is to protect them.
“It was very clear that changes need to be made,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said when she announced a successful conclusion of negotiations.
New York Times:
It is not known what the exact details will be, as the law is being drafted in the state budget which is expected to be ratified by next week. However, Ms. Hochul stated that she and her colleagues intend to remove a clause that mandates judges to prescribe “the least restrictive” method to ensure that defendants return to the court.
The judges are still unable to grant bail in the vast majority of cases, including misdemeanors and nonviolent crimes. However, this change could have a significant impact by giving them greater discretion when it comes to holding defendants, especially repeat offenders or serious offenders, before their trial.
If the judges are willing to exercise their discretion, there will be no “Get Out of Jail Free” cards for criminals accused of assault with a fatal weapon. It’s not a given that New York State will do this.
The people don’t buy bail reform, no matter what the left calls “criminal justice reform.”
A recent Siena College survey found that a majority of respondents support changes in the state’s bail law, with over 70% saying that judges should be given more flexibility when setting bail for defendants charged with serious crimes. Only 20 percent oppose that idea.
Even in states with a strong Democratic majority, such as California, efforts to change bail laws were thwarted. In 2018, lawmakers overhauled their system but failed to make any further changes in 2018. In recent gubernatorial races, leniency in bail laws has become a major issue. This includes Michigan, Colorado, and Illinois where the Supreme Court is challenging a law that will end cash bail in January.
Hochul’s changes are supported by law enforcement officials and prosecutors across the state. It’s a no-brainer, given what has happened in the past.
Governor’s Office on Friday cited a couple of recent incidents, including the attempted murder and the death by choking of a 15-year-old in which a judge used the “least restrictive standard” to allow pretrial release for defendants. The new bill will likely include new language that asks judges to consider “the kind or degree of restriction or control necessary” in order to bring defendants back to court.
Criminals usually jump bail because they fear a lengthy prison sentence. Reformers, the bleeding hearts, believe bail should be set absurdly low due to racism. The goal is not to keep violent criminals off the streets. The goal is to let violent criminals walk free, by setting a bail they can afford.
Judges need to take into account the likelihood that criminals will commit other crimes while out on bail. If they do that, there will fewer criminals with the ability to re-offend out on the streets.