CNY legislators: Bail reform equalizes treatment of rich and poor (Commentary)

February 11, 2020

Originally published in Syracuse.com on February 11, 2020.

Senator May, Assemblymember Magnarelli, Assemblymember Hunter

Every American knows the two basic principles of our legal system: An accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, and everyone is equal under the law. However, before this year in New York state, we had moved far away from those principles.

Our criminal justice reforms aimed to change these imbalances. Most people who face accusations of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies have been allowed to await trial out of jail. This does not mean that “dangerous criminals have flooded New York communities.” What it means is that poor New Yorkers are being treated in court the way rich New Yorkers have always been treated.