ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Some are concerned bail reform in New York State will leave New Yorkers unsafe and vulnerable to criminals.
Criminal justice reforms go into effect on January 1.
“We do this all the time in Albany where maybe some reform was necessary and then we go way, way too far,” Assemblyman Will Barclay said.
Senate Republicans have also criticized bail reform, saying under the new laws, about 400 crimes will require mandatory release. Another concern is judicial discretion.
“Now judges have a lot of discretion in setting bail, so if they feel like someone is a danger, the judge has some discretion setting bail, and if they can’t meet bail, they’re going to be incarcerated,” Barclay explained. “Now, the judges have no discretion, and they’re going to have to let them out with the hopes that they’re going to come back for their trial.”
And when it comes to discovery reform, several district attorneys have said they will need more funding and resources to implement it. Barclay said the the new law also doesn’t go far enough to protect witnesses.
“There’s a fear that by releasing it so quickly to the defense attorneys that it’s going to give any criminal the ability to intimidate witnesses,” he said.
Barclay says the changes should be delayed by a year.
“I don’t think anyone in Albany is saying we shouldn’t have maybe some reform to the system, but just like a lot of things we do down here, we go to extremes, and this way we’re ultimately going to be letting some people out on the street.”