We wanted to make sure you saw this New York Times Editorial Board piece calling lawmakers in Albany to pass a budget without rolling back the historic bail reform legislation they passed last session. The editorial urges state legislators and Governor Andrew Cuomo to conduct policymaking “through the normal lawmaking process, where public hearings can be held and bills can be examined before they become law” – and that the budget should focus on the government providing relief to New Yorkers amid the COVID-19 crisis. The editorial board also challenges the wisdom of allowing judges to consider a person’s “dangerousness” when making pretrial detention decisions.
The editorial board writes:
“Thorny issues like bail reform are best left for another day, not shoved into the budget under the cover of night. Landmark criminal justice reforms, which went into effect on Jan. 1, banned bail for defendants charged with most misdemeanors and nonviolent offenses. Critics, including the state’s powerful law enforcement lobby, have pushed to scale back the reforms.
Of particular concern is a proposal, supported by Mr. Cuomo, that would allow judges to consider the dangerousness of a defendant when setting bail. New York law didn’t allow such discretion before the reforms; it’s difficult to see the wisdom in giving such powers to judges, who for decades set bail that poor New Yorkers couldn’t afford. If changes are made to the bail reforms, the budget is not the place to make them.”
Coverage highlighting New York’s bail reform and the fight for state lawmakers to pass a budget with no rollbacks to reduce prison populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic are also published in: The Rolling Stone, The Intercept, New York Law Journal, Daily News, Brooklyn Daily Eagle, City and State, Black Star News, and Spectrum News.