“End Cash Bail” Flops on Broadway

“End Cash Bail” Flops on Broadway

Fifteen Time Offender Out on Zero Bail Violently Breaks Wrist of The Lion King Violinist

The New York Bail Reform law, what we might term “End Cash Bail,” has reached an utterly new low: allowing repeat defendants out on automatic zero bails to then attack artists and musicians.  It’s not the theatres, it’s not the fancy steakhouses, it’s not the New York State of Mind that makes Broadway.  Like America, it’s the merit—the talent, that makes Broadway so great and a national treasure.  To allow our best to be attacked by repeat criminals caused by a systematic legal failure, is even worse.

In the production of real life, a repeat offender nearly ended the career of a career violist who had delighted audiences for years, who at the time was playing in the production of The Lion King.  The violinist was “violently shoved to the ground.”  The assailant was Michael Allen, who has fifteen prior arrests.  Of course, he was currently out on a zero bail for felony assault at the time he assaulted the violinist.  According to the Jewish Voice, he was “released without bail, raising questions about the judicial system’s handling of repeat offenders.”  In fact, that is the key flaw of the New York Bail law—defining a set of charges as “low risk” and barring judges from imposing bail, when in fact high risk violent defendants pass through on “low-risk” charges, thus being relieved of bails they would have had to post or remain in jail under the pre-reformed system.

Read More: Broadway Musicians Face Surge in Violent Attacks, Sparking Safety Concerns

Targeting violinists and musicians, unfortunately, has become the norm, with two other assaults being attempted against violists currently playing on The Lion King.  In addition, other reports included an attack on the drummer for the production Aladdin where the victim was attacked by a “tree branch-like weapon” on the head as he entered the theatre.  Despite that, he played a successful show, only to later experience slurred speech and difficulty walking, ultimately to be diagnosed with a concussion, according to the Jewish Voice.

This “escalating violence” has been described as an “unsettling trend” that has “left the Broadway community on edge.”  Precinct data in fact showed an alarming trend—felony assaults have more than doubled in the district when comparing 2023 with 2019, having increased by 114%.

One veteran Broadway musician “tore into” New York’s Bail Reform law, in essence pointing out the obvious that repeat defendants are slipping through in the name of protecting the indigent: “Bail reform definitely plays into this, no question.  The guy who attacked the violinist, he’s got a rap sheet a mile long, and every time he assaulted somebody, he is back out on the street.  They don’t lock people up.”

Read More: Violent criminals preying on ‘Lion King’ musicians after NYC Broadway shows: ‘Out of Control’

Despite the New York Post tritely calling Broadway the new “Great Fright Way,” we think instead the flop of bail reform on Broadway illustrates quite clearly what is going on and why it can be repealed and yet still protect the indigent.  We are talking about allowing judges to impose bail on repeat defendants, all of the increase of which in the precent in question were probably committed by around 25 defendants who have rich, violent pasts.  Judges can make indigency determinations and relieve the burden of posting bail when the person is truly indigent and a good risk and does not have a lengthy criminal record.  Recidivism is the name of the game.

Flopping on Broadway is the latest for a bail reform law that despite three rollbacks is still fundamentally flawed.  Giving judicial discretion but requiring a better job of protecting the truly indigent can be done as other states have shown—but Albany’s inflexible statutory edict tying the hands of the judges is clearly failing.

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