Bill Would Restore New Yorkers' Constitutional Right to a Speedy Trial
NEW YORK – State Senator Daniel Squadron released the following statement on the Assembly's unanimous, bipartisan passage of 'Kalief's Law,' (S1998-Squadron/A3055A-Aubry) to reform New York's broken speedy trial law:
"At a time when civil rights and the very Constitution seem to be under attack, New York must recommit to protecting constitutionally-guaranteed rights, and creating the most just possible state. Today, the constitutional right to a speedy trial in New York is denied to too many. That’s unfair for the accused, victims, and the whole system.
“Yesterday, the Assembly affirmed what Kalief Browder's family and too many New Yorkers already know: New York's broken Rockefeller-era speedy trial law undermines the fairness and presumption of innocence that is core to our legal system.
“Kalief Browder was a young man accused of stealing a backpack, who spent over 1,000 days in pre-trial detention at Riker’s, approximately 700 days in solitary confinement, before his case was dismissed. Kalief maintained his innocence throughout, and ultimately committed suicide.
“With the Assembly's unanimous passage and the Governor's commitment to fixing the state's speedy trial crisis, the Senate Majority now has the opportunity to help build a more just justice system. I strongly urge them to take this opportunity.”
“I thank Assemblymember Aubry, his Assembly colleagues on both sides of the aisle, the Governor, and the advocates continuing to fight to fix this broken system.”
Squadron and Aubry introduced Kalief's Law in 2015 to fix the state’s broken 1972 “ready rule,” which allows trials to be delayed indefinitely by tying mandated speedy trial deadlines to trial “readiness.” Squadron filed a procedural "Motion for Committee Consideration" last year -- which requires a bill be placed on a committee agenda within 45 days of filing. The Senate Majority refused to honor that motion, in violation of its own rules. Squadron has previously written about the measure in the Daily News and New York Times, and to the New York City Council.