March 30, 2022, By Carl Campanile
New York’s eight House Republicans slammed Gov.Kathy Hochul’splan to tighten up the controversial no-cash bail law as inadequate to curb crime, and instead called for a complete repeal of the policy.
“We write today to express serious concern that your 10-point plan to make changes to the bail laws in New York State falls dangerously short of what is needed to keep New Yorkers safe. Any proposal that does not completely reverse the bail reform policies that took effect in January 2020 would be a serious failure on the part of your administration,” said a letter sent to Hochul by upstate GOP CongresswomanElise Stefanik.
The letter was co-signed by seven other GOP House members, includingNicole Malliotakisof Staten Island andLee Zeldin, the presumptive Republican nominee for governor.
The House members blamed the “disastrous” cashless bail law for New York’s spike in crime.
Bail reform, approved by the Democratic-controlled legislature in 2019, eliminates cash bail for defendants charged with most misdemeanor and non-violent felony crimes pending trial. In sum, the defendants are automatically released pending resolution of their
Hochul is getting hit from the progressive left as well as the law-and-order right.
Democrats who championed the law — including Assembly SpeakerCarl Heastie(D-Bronx) and Senate Majority LeaderAndrea Stewart-Cousins(D-Yonkers) — said poor people shouldn’t be jailed just because they can’t afford to post bail. And they argue the limited data thus far does not prove the bail law is a big driver of crime or justify the need for changes.
Hochulinitially opposedchanges to the bail law. But as The Post recently reported, she then submitted a ten-point public safety plan to legislators that includes making more crimes bail eligible — among them serial repeat offenders and gun-related offenses for possession and trafficking. The proposal mirrors changes sought by MayorEric Adams.
“New York State is facing a historic crime wave as a result of the state’s disastrous bail reform policies. New York City’s crime rate has increased nearly 60% over last year, including historic numbers of murder, rape, robbery, and assault. Specifically, there has been a 54% increase in robberies, a 56% increase in grand larceny incidents, a 22% increase in rapes, a 10% increase in murders, and a 1.3% increase in shooting incidents as compared to 2021,” the House Republicans said.
They also cited the murder of police officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, while responding to a domestic violence dispute.They were shot and killed by an individual “with several prior arrests, including assaulting a police officer,” the congress members said.
“Days after these tragedies, you said, `I will absolutely stand behind the fundamental premise on why we needed bail reform in the first place.’ We sincerely hope this is no longer the case,” Stefanik and her colleagues said.
“Among the most reckless parts of the bail reform law were the elimination of cash bail for most misdemeanor and nonviolent felony charges and expanded options for pretrial release conditions,” the GOP lawmakers said.
The letter cites figures saying more offenders released pending trial were rearrested for felony crimes post bail reform than in 2018.
“The state’s bail reform also refused to address the danger an individual poses to the community before releasing them. Therefore, New York remains the only state not to consider dangerousness in bail decisions.
“Any proposal that fails to repeal the entire bail reform and enact a `dangerousness standard’ that allows judges to thoroughly consider public safety when making bail or pretrial release decisions is unacceptable,” the GOP lawmakers said.
Hochul recently defended her plan, which also calls for tougher enforcement for illegal guns, changes in trial discovery requirements for prosecutors and more mental health funding and treatment as well as amending a law to make it easier to get mentally ill people off the streets.
“Every one of the 10 points I put forward is a balanced, reasonable approach that continues to respect the rights of the accused. As I’ve said and as I’ve written, this is not about undoing bail reform — it’s about finding areas we can strengthen it,” the governor said last Friday.
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