Stop S3579A and A9955 – Extreme Bail Reform in New York

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.”

“In our society, liberty is the norm and detention the carefully limited exception,” according to the U.S. Supreme Court.  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.

New Jersey’s massive new bureaucracy created – like that proposed in S3579A and A9955 – an actual deficit in three months, and is running a structural deficit of millions and millions of taxpayer dollars.  New Jersey literally cannot afford the Bail Reform Act it passed.

Further, the results have been terrible—the jails have become a revolving door allowing career criminals to victimize the community, such has Jules Black, a felon in possession of an illegal handgun who was released the next day for free only to violently kill his neighbor days later.

New Jersey touts the savings from jail population reductions under bail reform but reductions were actually less than the year bail reform was implemented – a trend New Jersey had seen over several years.

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 here or click on the link to open the Action Center in new window –  urge them to VOTE NO on S3579A and A9955!

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