Press Release: ABC Statement on New York Bail Laws

New York State's New Bail Laws Under Attack for Heightened Threat to Public Safety


Lakewood, CO (January 14, 2020) – Days after New York State’s new bail laws took effect, many of its supporters are having second thoughts in the wake of a number of incidents in which defendants have been released and then committed new crimes.

Governor Andrew Cuomo was among the new laws' most vocal supporters before it was implemented.  However, he has since backtracked, recently acknowledging there are "consequences we have to adjust for."  He joined a number of both Republicans and Democrats in admitting that "changes have to be made."

Passed as part of the 2020 state budget, the new laws were created to abolish cash bail, based on the premise that monetary conditions of release are fundamentally unfair to those unable to afford to pay the amount mandated in a set bail schedule.  Unfortunately, since its January 1 start date, there have been a rash of crimes allegedly committed by defendants who have been set free, including a Rockland County driver in a fatal hit-and-run who was in the U.S. illegally, as well as a man arrested for committing a burglary spree in Long Island, subsequently released, then arrested again hours later on additional burglary charges.

A string of anti-Semitic attacks in New York City also has residents on high alert.  Tiffany Harris was arrested three times in one week.  She attacked three Jewish women in once incident, screaming profanities, and punched another for no apparent reason the day following.  She was released twice under the new laws and was arrested a third time when she attacked her social worker.

"New York's new law completely restricts the discretion of judges to require defendants to post bail in all but a few of the most serious of cases," said Jeff Clayton, Executive Director of the American Bail Coalition.  "The law is fundamentally flawed for that reason -- because it eliminates individual consideration and instead sets bail by legislative edict.  Without changes, violent repeat criminals are going to continue to wreak havoc on New York's communities."

In 2018, Clayton, who has worked with both federal and state officials on bail issues throughout the nation, testified before the New York legislature, warning of the pitfalls of well-intentioned but poorly conceived proposed bail reform laws.

The state legislature begins its 2020 session next Wednesday and it is expected that a variety of proposed fixes will be brought to the floor by lawmakers.


About the American Bail Coalition

The American Bail Coalition is dedicated protecting the Constitutional right to bail and the promotion, protection and advancement of the surety bail profession in the United States. Comprised of the nation’s largest surety insurance companies, ABC works with local communities, law enforcement, legislators and other criminal justice stakeholders to utilizes its expertise and knowledge of the surety bail industry to develop more effective and efficient criminal justice solutions.


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MediaVista Public Relations:

Elliott Chang

(323) 938-5879

Cara Downs

(323) 316-5228

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