US Attorney Slams New York Bail Reform As Endangering All New Yorkers; Leading Commentator Urges States To Proceed With Caution on Bail Reform
New York’s newly enacted bail reform is under attack…and rightly so.
The “end cash bail” moniker is beginning to lose some of its luster as the reforms implemented to purportedly fix the problem have instead had the effect of letting out hardened repeat criminals free regardless of whether they are rich or poor. Turns out, the bail system we’ve had on this continent actually does allow judges the flexibility to create a reasonable balance between release and detention. New York’s cashless bail system took effect on January 1, 2020, and the results have been nothing but negative, including hardened repeat offenders getting out of jail and committing new crimes within hours of release, including but not limited to repeat bank robbers and anti-Semitic attacks.
In fact, a man named Gerod Woodberry robbed 6 banks in 16 days in New York City, and was released by the State of New York every time. One bank robbery occurred a mere four hours after Mr. Woodberry was released for having robbed another bank. Finally, he was ultimately indicted by the federal government and held in jail pending trial. The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Richard P. Donoghue had harsh words for New York’s recently enacted bail reform laws:
“No sound, rational and fair criminal justice system requires the pre-trial release of criminal defendants who demonstrate such determination to continuously commit serious crimes. Prior to the recently-enacted reforms, New York judges weighing pre-trial release could consider the flight risk, but not the dangerousness, posed by a charged defendant. The recent reforms have made a bad situation worse by entirely excluding classes of purportedly “non-violent” felonies – like the bank robberies here – from pre-trial confinement eligibility. Preventing judges from considering the danger a charged defendant poses to the public when making a pre-trial confinement decision defies common sense and endangers all New Yorkers.
The recently-enacted bail reforms have dramatically altered the New York criminal justice system and even more dramatic criminal justice proposals are under consideration in New York and across the country. While we must ensure that all criminal justice systems are open to scrutiny and reform, we must also guard against the outright dismantling of criminal justice systems masquerading as criminal justice reform.”
One leading commentator said the reforms in New York, based in part on the failed New Mexico system, “would be laughable if it weren’t so deadly serious.” In the column, she notes that bail reform is a big issue nationally and encourages states to proceed with greater caution:
“More than 40 states are currently considering bail reform measures. It’s the latest trend in criminal justice circles, and many would agree it is long overdue. Let’s just hope no state follows New York’s lead.”
She noted that New York’s bail reform law is fatally flawed because it foolishly takes away judicial discretion to make a case-by-case determination.
Voters and constituents are now waking up to these bad reform policies. So outraged in New York are citizens that a local sheriff’s “Repeal Bail Reform” Facebook group now has over 150,000 followers in a matter of days…with thousands joining daily. Citizens and lawmakers are now joining together at the capitol in Albany demanding the repeal of New York’s attempt at bail reform. Even those that were in jail under the old system are speaking out about the unintended consequences of these new laws…one after another bravely admitting that being held accountable ultimately helped save their lives.
As states look at the big picture on bail reform they are faced with two choices if they want to move forward with the “ban cash bail” movement: implementing a New Jersey system that is bankrupting the state’s judiciary while increasing failure to appears, doing nothing to reduce racial disparities and increasing pretrial incarceration by the thousands or a New York system that simply turns loose defendants on a “promise” to appear with no accountability.
In New York, the careful balance of criminal accountability and victims’ rights is now clearly broken and should be a cause for concern for any state considering similar reforms moving forward.
New York Assembly Republicans Call for Repeal of Bail Reform Laws 1.15.20