NY Dems Offer Compromise on Landmark Bail Reform Law

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Photo by Joe Gratz via Flickr

In an effort to save New York’s landmark bail reform law and respond to fierce conservative opposition,  State Senate Democrats are proposing a compromise that would increase the types of crimes for which a suspect can be held and increase judges’ authority to do so, Newsday reports.

The proposal will still ensure that the centerpiece of the law—abolishing money bail for most offenses—will continue.

The proposed changes would still leave New York with the “most progressive” law in the nation regarding bail and remand, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said.

The current bail law, which went into effect Jan. 1, has taken heat from judges, prosecutors and law enforcement from across the state, who argue that it takes away  their discretion to detain dangerous suspects.

The proposed changes would be similar to the federal system, in which a suspect is either jailed or monitored by the court system, or is released on his/her own recognizance until a later court date. Detention or monitoring would hinge on the nature of the alleged crime, criminal history and potential flight risk. Judges would follow guidelines to make such determinations.

“We believe that this gets to the heart of the issues and that it is still progressive,” Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) said. “Getting rid of cash bail is really important.”

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