Governor Hochul Vows to Make Important Bail Reform Fix
Changes to New York's controversial bail reform laws are now being championed by Governor Hochul.
During her State of the State address on Tuesday, the governor floated some changes to the state's bail laws that would make it easier to keep dangerous criminals off of the streets. She said that the current wording of the law "must be improved" and supplied some specific changes she's pushing forward.
Over the past year, the number of shootings and murders in the state actually fell to a lower level than where they were last year. Hochul did admit, however, that other crimes are up. Burglary, rape, and larceny incidents have been on the increase. Law enforcement officials have been complaining that the current bail laws have made it difficult to thwart smaller crimes, such as shoplifting.
Currently, those who are accused of committing lower-level crimes are not being remanded to jail in lieu of cash bail. Both Republicans and Democrats welcomed this change after criticizing the old bail system for disproportionately leaving poor people sitting in jail for extended periods of time without ever being found guilty of a crime.
While reform of those rules was enthusiastically supported on both sides of the aisle, the implementation of bail reform has now brought bipartisan criticism. Hochul admits that the current laws do need to be made clearer to avoid some unintended consequences of reform.
The governor says she wants to remove wording that requires judges to encourage defendants to return to court by using the “least restrictive” solutions. According to Hochul, the removal of this language will make it easier for judges to hold suspected criminals until trial instead of automatically releasing them without bail.
Because of the controversial nature of bail reform, the change will most likely be opposed by progressive Democrats who believe this will lead to inequality of justice and ultra-conservative Republicans who want to see all bail reform laws abolished.