New York lawmakers look at changing recently implemented bail reform

New York state capitol at sunset.
New York state capitol at sunset.

New York lawmakers look at changing recently implemented bail reform

The law is expected to come under the hot seat during this year's state legislative session.
January 7, 2020

It’s been nearly one week since New York’s bail reform law took effect – and state legislators are already having second thoughts, The Buffalo News reports.

Republicans have long pushed back against the law, which restricts the use of cash bail for nonviolent defendants, claiming that it would let loose dangerous criminals. And they’ve been hammering that messaging since the law went into effect, noting examples of what they see as egregious situations in which bail isn’t imposed. 

What seems to have driven the point home for some Democrats in the recent wave of anti-Semitic hate crimes that have hit the state. The governor, state attorney general and the heads of the state Assembly and Senate have all recently expressed an interest in possible changes to the law. Some critics are also hoping for adjustments to give judges wider latitude to consider cash bail on a case-by-case basis.

Other Democrats are standing by the law and are calling for their peers to wait longer before rushing to change it. Criminal justice advocates have similarly stood by the increasingly scrutinized law, noting that cash bail disproportionately penalizes low-income defendants unable to pay up in advance of getting their case heard. The issue is expected to become a focal point for state lawmakers as the legislature’s 2020 session begins this week.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.