Letter: Mitrano sets the record straight on bail reform

Tracy Mitrano

In a recent letter to the editor (Reed takes right stance on bail reform, 8/7/20), City of Hornell GOP Chair Paul Van Caeseele performed a classic Tom Reed trick: He distorted my record and then attacked the straw man he created. This time, it's my position on bail reform.

Our nation’s founders suffered so profoundly under British courts that they used the Fifth and Sixth amendments to give defendants the right to due process and a jury of their peers. Bail was created in cases of non-violent petty crimes. Defendants — who are considered innocent until proven guilty — can post money as the means to keep him or her from fleeing the jurisdiction before trial.

But there is a balance. Some crimes are so egregious that releasing the defendant is too risky — even if they are truly innocent or a court ultimately finds them so. Those defendants must remain in jail until full adjudication. In those cases, our society historically accepts the imperfect, holding that it is acceptable for society to protect itself by denying a defendant’s right to be free.

Here is my actual position: The New York State Bail Reform Act got the principal right, but not the details. I do not agree with allowing defendants to post bail in cases of child abuse or domestic violence. Written too hastily and rushed through state legislature, this bill requires immediate revision, and I have called upon our state legislators, Democrat and Republican, to fix it. Defendants rightfully charged with violent crimes, especially those against children, must stay in jail until they face trial.

In the meantime, let us not lose sight of what is going on with Mr. Van Caeseele’s letter. A desperate Tom Reed is pressing Republican Party members into his service to grossly distort my position and fear-monger for votes. He would sacrifice fundamental constitutional rights in the process. If that’s not the mark of a typical partisan Washington politician, I’m not sure what is.

Tracy Mitrano,

Penn Yan