ALBANY - State Senator Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, and Assemblyman Chris Friend, R-Big Flats, Tuesday joined legislative colleagues and law enforcement leaders at a “Repeal Bail Reform” rally at the State Capitol.
Steuben County Sheriff James Allard, Steuben County Undersheriff John McNelis, Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker, Bath Police Chief Chad Mullen and Hornell Mayor John Buckley also attended today’s rally.
Representatives of the state Sheriffs Association, the District Attorney Association of New York, and the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police were also on hand.
“Every day this ‘No Bail’ law stays in place risks another tragedy,” said O’Mara, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Governor Cuomo and the Democrat majorities in the Senate and Assembly should do something besides letting a dangerous and unworkable criminal justice system keep playing out at the expense of innocent victims and safe communities. It is irresponsible to ignore public safety.”
Palmesano said not a single day passes by without yet another tragic story of a dangerous individual being released to the public, including serial, repeat offenders.
“Make no mistake about it, this is the most pressing issue facing our state today because we are talking about the public safety of every citizen in our state - upstate, downstate, everywhere,” Palmesano said. “We can promote fairness in our criminal justice system without totally compromising public safety.”
Friend said New York’s Bail Reform continues to endanger the people of New York, the law enforcement community and victims of crime.
“Since Jan. 1, many criminals have expressed joy at being set free to recommit the very crime they were arrested for,” Friend said. “Domestic violence victims are being revictimized and are fearful to present testimony since it is no longer confidential. In contrast to New York, New Jersey provided funding and training to implement its version of criminal justice reform over three years not overnight.”
Buckley said the primary role of the government is to protect citizens, not put them in harm's way.
“This dangerous and misguided legislation needs to be repealed,” Buckley said.
The new “No Bail” law took effect on January 1, 2020. Among other provisions, the reforms eliminated cash bail and pretrial detention for nearly all misdemeanors and nonviolent felony cases, resulting in the mandatory release of 90 percent of those arrested, regardless of their criminal history.
At Tuesday’s rally, lawmakers and law enforcement officials alike charged that the “No Bail” reforms have created a system that releases violent criminals back into the community without supervision and risks the safety of their victims, the victim’s family members, trial witnesses, and others.
The overriding goal, they said, is to restore public safety as priority No. 1.