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Jacobs, Ortt calls for immediate repeal of criminal justice reforms

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Tue, Jan 7th 2020 10:20 am

Jacobs: Bail and discovery reform presents ‘imminent risk’ to all law-abiding New Yorkers

Sen. Chris Jacobs is calling on the leadership of the State Senate to immediately repeal the so-called “Criminal Justice Reforms” on the first day of legislative session, this Wednesday, Jan. 8. The new laws, which went into effect Jan. 1, mandate the release of most criminal defendants without bail.

“I voted against these changes to our criminal procedure laws last year, because I thought they posed serious dangers to law-abiding citizens and victims of crimes,” Jacobs said. “These laws have been in effect only for a few days and we are already seeing criminal behavior rewarded and innocent victims being harmed.”

Jacobs highlighted real-life consequences of these reforms in the past few days. His press release noted:

•A man broke into a teenager’s bedroom and demanded money. The girl escaped and called police. The defendant was released without bail only to commit another crime the next day.

•A woman arrested for slapping three people because they were Jewish, and immediately released without bail. The next day she was arrested for assaulting another person of the Jewish faith.

•A man charged with possession of a weapon and burglary was released immediately without bail, even though he has 29 prior convictions.

Jacobs said professionals in the drug enforcement community believe the new law will be a “get out of jail free” card for big drug cartels and gangs. He said he was very concerned the success local drug courts have had in getting addicts into treatment is going to be undermined by these new laws, forcing those in the throes of addiction right back on the street.

“Every day these laws are in effect, the rule of law is undermined. This weakens the vital social compact in our society that our system of laws protects the law-abiding citizen and the vulnerable, not the criminal,” Jacobs said.

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Minority Leader John Flanagan, Jacobs asked the legislative leaders to immediately take action to rescind the bail and discovery reforms before any other legislation is considered.

Jacobs is not the only person calling for swift action to repeal the new laws. New York State Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy called on the governor and legislative leaders not to leave Albany until the bail and discovery reforms are repealed.

New York State Senator Rob Ortt is calling for the Senate majority to take action on Senate Bill 6861, which would repeal the state’s recently enacted criminal justice reforms.

Since the criminal justice reform laws were enacted on Jan. 1, news outlets have documented countless stories of individuals committing crimes within hours of required release due to changes in New York state’s new criminal justice and bail laws. On Sunday, an individual in Hoosick Falls was arrested for smashing in a young woman’s windshield with an ax. After being arrested by police, the individual was immediately released with only an appearance ticket. Because of New York’s new bail reform, the presiding judge was unable to detain this individual. 

In New York City, an individual was arrested three times within the span of one week for assaulting Jewish residents in anti-Semitic, religiously motivated hate crimes.

On Long Island, a 22-year-old allegedly burglarized four businesses before being caught by police. After his arrest, the individual was released due to the new bail reforms. Authorities then said the individual broke into another establishment less than 24 hours after he was originally arraigned at First District Court in Hempstead. Investigators claimed the 22-year-old committed five burglaries in the span of four days.

“New York state’s new criminal justice reforms endangers millions of New York residents,” Ortt said. “Thanks to Democrats and their reforms, our judges and law enforcement have been handcuffed, while criminals and lawbreakers have been given ‘get out of jail free’ cards. The acts of violence and crimes committed due to the newly enacted reforms are in direct response to the implementation of New York state Democrats’ wayward policies.”

Senate Bill 6861, which Ortt cosponsors, would restore judicial discretion in setting a securing order with respect to a defendant’s prior felony convictions, failure to make an appearance in court, or subsequent arrests while awaiting trial.

“Our judges need to have the power of discretion returned to them in order to ensure that dangerous offenders remain behind bars while awaiting trial,” Ortt said. “The new bail reforms have created far too wide of a scope for those eligible to be released without bail, and has put the public at risk. We must allow our judicial system to review each case independently, and allow our judges to make the best ruling they can, based on their experiences and the circumstances of each case.”

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