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The Governor’s memo doesn’t calm tensions regarding bail reform law



ALBANY, NY (WSKG) The tensions between governors. Kathy Hochul and the Legislature are escalating over a plan to amend the state’s criminal justice laws as the deadline for the state’s budget to be finalized in less than a week away.

A 10-point note written by Hochul and her top aides to change the bail reform laws of the state and was leaked to the media has not helped ease tensions over the controversial question of the rising rate of crime.

The Governor’s proposal reverses portions of the law that eliminated most cash bail types. They give judges the authority to determine that a defendant is a danger to the public and order them to be held until their trial date. Like juveniles who commit them, numerous gun-related crimes could be re-eligible for bail.

When asked about the memo during an event on pandemics Monday, Hochul stood by her decision not publicly to reveal a plan for changing legislation governing bail reform.

“I am not discussing the budget with you in the public domain,” Hochul said.

The changes proposed haven’t disarmed the Governor’s political adversaries as well as Republicans as well as Democrats, who claim that she’s doing too little to stop the rising crime rate.

 Assemblymember Latrice Walker speaks at a rally opposing Gov Kathy Hochul's bail refrom law changes, on March 21, 2022

Karen DeWitt NYS Public Radio. Assemblymember Latrice Walker speaks at a rally opposing Gov Kathy Hochul’s bail reform law changes, on March 21, 2022

State Senate GOP Minority Leader Robert Ortt wrote a letter to Hochul requesting more transparency.

Long Island Congressman Tom Suozzi, who is expected to challenge Hochul in a Democratic primary, hosted an event outside Governor Hochul’s New York City offices. He criticized the memo leak, said it was “half-baked,” and urged the Governor to release her ideas.

“How does that show management?” Suozzi asked. “You’re governor of New York state, you’re not going to be discussing what you’re going to do to deal with the most pressing issue we’re facing in the present moment?”

Progressive lawmakers who have backed bail reform and other reforms to the criminal justice system are planning to reject the budget if it contains any rollbacks to the law that was a landmark in 2019. Assemblymember Latrice Walker recently said that she’s contemplating organizing a hunger strike.

“I would like to urge my colleagues to denounce the 10-point plan,” Walker said to cheers. “We don’t want to see this in the budget, or another budget. We’re done.”

Before that rally, Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin met privately with liberal lawmakers at calming them. Benjamin left the room through an unmarked side door, avoiding journalists. He also refused to answer questions following a public appearance on Tuesday, slipping inside an elevator, avoiding cameras from media and cameras, including those of New York Public Television’s “New York Now.”

“We’re not answering questions now,” an aide repeatedly

said while Benjamin was silently walking, making two turns before jumping into the elevator.

Benjamin answered questions from journalists later in the day on Tuesday.

Legislative officials have refused to make changes to the laws, arguing that they need more time for work and gather more information before any decision can be taken.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie has said he’s willing to discuss possible changes. Still, he believes it’s too easy to use the law as an excuse for crime when it’s increasing across the country and many states that haven’t recently modified their bail law.

“There’s more to the story and that’s an epidemic,” Heastie said. “If you examine the entire country, you’ll notice an increase in the number of crimes.”

In addition, the New York University’s Brennan Center released a report Tuesday, which found no link is possible to establish between the reforms and the increasing rates of crime in New York City, saying that the “data doesn’t currently allow for further revisions to the law.”

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They have a lot of expertise.

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Most criminal defense lawyers don’t consult with persons who are planning to commit a crime in the future. Your criminal defense attorney, on the other hand, can counsel you on the possible implications of previous criminal behavior. Your lawyer can also communicate with law enforcement to find out the status of the criminal investigation and help you reduce or avoid criminal charges.

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