Bail reform has sputtered in New York for years.
The reason is simple – New York already has a
functioning reformed bail system. New
York’s system is already a reasonable balance of accountability – with judges
exercising their judicial discretion to release without bail first-time
offenders and low-level misdemeanors. Many
of the other issues that underpin the bail reform debate have already been
handled in New York.
Enter S3579A, the “Bail Elimination Act of 2018” and
A9955, “Securing Orders and Release on non-monetary conditions.”
S3579A expands the use of preventative detention in New York-which is caging human beings by denying unconvicted defendants the right to bail because we label them dangerous. New York has rejected this notion for a generation because New Yorkers know that giving the government the power to deny the right to bail would be abused.
This abuse of preventative detention proved true in the federal system since the Supreme Court gave the federal government the power to lock people up without bail in 1984-the feds have increased the rate of detaining people without bail by 303%.
In addition, rather than allowing persons to post bail to escape interference by the State to handle their cases pending trial, S3579A and A9955 create a new dragnet of government and non-profit agencies which are going to supervise the very people presumed innocent of the pending charges - while imposing onerous "conditions" such as the modern-day shackles of a GPS ankle monitor. All of this at State expense, creating massive new statewide and local bureaucracies to supervise innocent defendants prior to being convicted.
The right to bail is fundamental, and New York should not deny the right to bail in favor of blindly trammeling on other liberties.
If that is not bad enough, the legislation directly calls for adoption of Chris Christie's New Jersey bail reform plan. Unfortunately, that plan has proven to be a complete government boondoggle that makes Bridge-Gate look like child's play. The poster child of "catch and release," New Jersey's system is releasing violent and dangerous offenders on nothing more than a "promise" and free bus pass. Law enforcement are angered, citizens are furious, and career criminals are laughing their way out of custody before the arresting officer has finished his shift. New York cannot afford this wholesale destruction of criminal accountability.
The "Bail Elimination of Act of 2018" will not put New York on the forefront of bail reform as the sponsors suggest. In fact, S3579A and A9955, will follow the lead of New Jersey, and turn New York into the next bail reform disaster.
S3579A and A9955 will cost the state and local governments millions upon millions of dollars and create soft criminal accountability by creating a revolving door for criminals - all while blindly trammeling on the rights of New Yorkers rather than allowing New Yorkers to keep their right to bail as they have had it for generations.
New Yorkers need to reject S3579A and A9955-recycled pieces of junk shipped to New York from New Jersey.
ACT NOW and Email Your Legislators by clicking on the following link and urge them to VOTE NO on S3579A and A9955!