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Friday, December 13, 2019

Letters

For God's Sake Repeal & replace NY's New Reckless Bail Reform Law

Nov 11, 2019

To the editor:
The New York State Legislature should immediately repeal and replace the new bail law taking effect January 1, 2020. Under this reckless new law dangerous criminal suspects will be released without bail from prison following arraignment. This includes suspects charged with Burglary, Criminal Negligent homicide, criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds, assault, vehicular manslaughter, promoting sexual performance by a child and arson, to name a few.
Proponents of the new law hail it as a historic milestone ending discriminatory practices that unfairly lock up in jail criminal suspects for minor offenses. However, as a defense attorney in our region, let me say nothing could be further from the truth. Turning your back on public safety and handing criminal suspects a free ticket to freedom is not the answer. Undermining our local criminal judges exercise of discretion and consideration of risk of flight in setting bail does not make the criminal justice system fairer or just. It weakens it instead and places us all in danger.
If the objective is preventing excessive bail or an unfair pre-trial incarceration there are other more effective reforms. For example, statutory bail and pre-trial incarceration guidelines that take into account recent criminal record, risk of flight and public safety into account or a 24- hour excessive bail appeal determination. Also, invest more resources into drug diversion courts, community-based partnership with local churches that have proven effective in helping first time-low income defendants avoid incarceration and turn their lives around. But for God's sake stop a law that may allow criminal suspects escape from justice. Repeal and replace before it's too late.


Kevin Gomez, Esq.
Middletown




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