Greene County Legislature Resolution No. 324-19 Urges Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature to “Hit the Pause Button on Bail Reform and Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free Cards” for criminals.
During the final stages of adopting its FY 2020 budget, the State of New York enacted sweeping criminal justice reforms including the elimination of cash bail for many specific enumerated crimes and the imposition of stringent discovery mandates on police and prosecutors.
Under bail reform, beginning Jan. 1, judges will be stripped of their discretion to set bail for many specific enumerated crimes, which means those suspected of committing these crimes can no longer be held in jail after their arrest, regardless of the strength of the case against these defendants, or the length of the potential sentence faced by the defendants, or the extent or harm caused by these defendants and instead these defendants will be released back into the general public.
A memo released by NYS Senator James N. Tedesco of the 49th District titled Cash Bail “Reform” Eliminations states:
As of January 1, 2020, a defendant must be released from custody without bail for the following crimes:
- Manslaughter in the second degree
- Aggravated vehicular homicide
- Criminally negligent homicide
- Assault in the third degree
- Making a terroristic threat
- Criminal possession of a gun on school grounds/criminal possession of a firearm
- Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
- Arson in the third and fourth degree
- Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third and fourth degree
- Promoting or possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
- Aggravated cruelty to animals, overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, animal fighting
- Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
- Coercion in the first degree
- Grand larceny in the first degree
- Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degree
- Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degree, or near/on school grounds
- Specified felony drug offenses involving the use of children
- Patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone
- Failure to register as a sex offender
- Bribery and bribe receiving in the first degree, bribe giving for public office
- Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degree
- Resisting arrest
- Hindering prosecution
- Tampering with a juror and tampering with physical evidence
- Aggravated harassment in the first degree
- Directing a laser at and aircraft in the first degree
- Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree
- Enterprise corruption and money laundering in the first degree
Source: District Attorneys Association of the State of New York
“The extreme burden placed on the criminal justice system by the new reforms does not serve the overwhelming majority of law-abiding citizens,” according to the Greene County Police Officers Association. “These citizens, especially crime victims, were completely disregarded in this one-sided, far-reaching and dramatic change to our criminal justice system.”
Greene County is anticipating additional staff due to the new laws, Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden said at the 2020 budget public hearing Nov. 4.
For example, the county is estimating the new laws will require one additional full-time employee for the probation department, one full-time employee in emergency services to help with the discovery process, two full-time employees in the district attorney’s office, one full-time employee with the Department of Social Services and one full-time employee in the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Additional staff needed for the public defender’s office will be funded through grants from Indigent Legal Services, Groden said, but other than that, the state is not providing funding, and the burden of this un-funded state mandate will fall on the county.