Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, is co-sponsoring legislation that calls for a one-year postponement of criminal justice changes passed April 1 as part of the state budget that are scheduled to be implemented in January.
The bill, S.6853, would impose a one-year moratorium on the Democrat-led package of criminal justice reforms for the purpose of holding public hearings about them statewide.
These changes, which include the elimination of cash bail and the implementation of 15-day expedited delivery of discovery material (evidence to be turned over to criminal defendants), have been lauded by reform advocates and progressives in the state Legislature, but are unpopular within the state law enforcement community.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that these new laws will put public safety at risk,” said O’Mara in a statement. “We have heard direct testimony from the men and women on the front lines of law enforcement in our communities that these laws, as they stand, are unworkable and will jeopardize the safety of crime witnesses and crime victims, especially the victims of domestic violence.”
On Thursday, a group of about two dozen law enforcement officials and lawmakers including Steuben County Sheriff Jim Allard, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, Chemung County Sheriff William Schrom, Chemung County District Attorney Weeden Wetmore and Republican state Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, among others, held a press conference in downtown Elmira to oppose the implementation of the law.
The group said the changes would make communities less safe and place more administrative burden on law enforcement. Similar press conferences were held around the state Thursday.
O’Mara is the ranking Republican member on the New York State Senate Judiciary Committee.