Albany, NY — Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan, Senate Republicans, and Assembly Republicans today rallied to repeal bail reform with a statewide coalition of law enforcement and district attorneys. Under One Party Rule, New York enacted bail “reform,” discovery “reform,” and other criminal justice “reforms” without a single Republican vote.
“Marie Osai. Nicole Jennings. Jonathan Flores-Maldonado. These names are among the dozens upon dozens of New Yorkers victimized by Democrats’ senseless bail reform. We warned Democrats when they said they would do this. We warned Democrats when we were debating it and Democrats passed it anyway. We even warned Democrats before the laws had a chance to take effect. Yet despite a widespread bipartisan backlash, Democrats refuse to listen to Republicans, law enforcement, prosecutors, victims or the public and repeal bail reform now. Now, there are countless victims stripped of their right to justice while criminals continue to reap the benefits of this disastrous policy,” said Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan.
“These laws were misrepresented by their supporters and the enormous shortcomings of the so-called ‘reforms’ are impossible to ignore. These laws are allowing dangerous individuals to be arrested, get released and go right back to committing crimes, sometimes within hours. We rallied here today to make sure our resolve and commitment to fixing this egregious public safety crisis are clearly understood,” said Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay.
“The voices of those who keep our communities safe have been shut-out of this process since day one. While we can all agree that no one should be jailed simply because of an inability to pay bail, in the rush to reform, Albany ignored the voices of those who serve and protect and jeopardized public safety in the process. Enough is enough, it’s time for Albany to hear the voices of those here today, repeal these dangerous measures and go back to the drawing board,” said Senator Sue Serino.
“One month into 2020 we are seeing the reality of this criminal justice reform legislation. The news is reporting daily with stories of repeat offenders and crimes of opportunity. Now is the time for us to come to the table and figure out how to get this right. If done correctly, criminal justice reform can protect the rights of the accused and maintain public safety for all New Yorkers. That is our goal,” said Rensselaer County District Attorney Mary Pat Donnelly.
“Our law-enforcement brothers and sisters are at the heart of the criminal justice and no discussion about the laws of the state can take place without their input. Victims and their families are the most vulnerable members of our communities and are also at the heart of the criminal justice system. It is high time that we really listen to law enforcement and victims if we want to make sure these reforms work for all New Yorkers,” said David M. Hoovler, president of the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York and Orange County District Attorney.
“I was concerned about bail reform and what it would bring. We feared that it would bring danger to the communities, and that’s exactly what has happened. There are literally too many cases to keep track of, though we’re certainly trying. We simply want safe communities and that’s the cornerstone of our careers. I appreciate everyone asking us to come here today. We simply ask that we can sit down with the majority leaders and we can come up with a solution that’s fair—fair to the defendants and fair to the public,” said Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey J. Murphy.
“All of us that are here today understand that there’s some long standing inequities throughout our criminal justice system. There are a disproportionate number of poor individuals and minorities in jail and prison in New York and throughout the nation. But, I am here to say that bail reform, in its current form, will not solve our problem. I believe it is hurting the poor minorities and crime victims and negatively impacting the quality of life of New Yorkers. Bail reform must be amended immediately to give judges the discretion to determine whether bail is appropriate or not. Bail must be amended to ensure that dangerous repeat offenders are not released from court back into the homes and communities where there’s a potential for re-harming victims and witnesses in the community,” said Suffolk County Sheriff Dr. Errol D. Toulon Jr.
“Standing behind me, my brothers and sisters in blue are Democrats, Republicans and Independents. We all get up every day with one mission, to keep our communities safe. That is why we are here with a plea for public safety. New Yorkers all have one thing in common, we just want to be safe. They deserve that and we are willing to provide that safety for them. We are asking that the New York State Legislature give us a fighting chance,” said Chief Patrick D. Phelan, president of the NYS Association of Chiefs of Police.
Since bail reform took effect, there have been numerous incidents recorded in the New Year that highlight its failures, something also reflected in a recent Siena Poll that shows New Yorkers’ support for the new law has plummeted.
In addition to hosting multiple rallies and other events to further the fight to repeal bail reform, the Senate Republican Conference recently announced a statewide ‘Repeal Bail Reform Taskforce.’ The Taskforce will collect testimony from law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victims, local leaders, and the public who were shut out from publicly commenting before Democrats forced dangerous criminal justice reform changes upon the state. The first roundtable will convene this Thursday, February 6, in Buffalo with upcoming roundtables on Long Island, and in the Hudson Valley and Syracuse.