Bail reform that would set more inmates free until proven guilty draws criticism

Bail reform that would set more inmates free until proven guilty draws criticism

(excerpt from News 12 - Oct 11 2019)


Orange County prosecutors voiced their concerns Friday with new state bail reforms that release people accused of serious crimes.

Vehicular homicide, second-degree manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide are just some of the serious crimes that in New York, starting next year, will no longer carry bail, setting free a person accused until proven guilty.

Orange County District Attorney Chief Assistant Chris Borek says the state's new bail reforms put public safety at risk and interfere with the ability to prosecute cases.

"Major narcotics offenders ... they face long state prison sentences. They're a flight risk and we're not allowed to ask for any amount of bail," says Borek.

The new law is part of next year's state budget and is part of a longtime push for bail reform from groups like Orange County's Legal Aid Society. The group's chief attorney, Gary Abramson, said by phone Friday, "The new law is long overdue ... People who can't afford to post even so much as $100 should and now will be released before trial, so long as what they're accused of doing is not violent."

Officials say the bail reform will also affect some cases still awaiting trial come Jan. 1, resulting in the release of inmates statewide, and roughly one-third of the population at Orange County Jail.

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