A local look at Bail Reform

Bail Reform has changed the way non-violent misdemeanors are handled since the beginning of the year, but are more changes necessary?

Posted: Jul 29, 2020 6:06 PM

Since the passing of New York’s Bail Reform laws, there’s been an increase in the number of people re-offending before having their day in court.

"On most cases that we get right now that people are released, they catch a second charge."

Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara is now fielding many calls from victims who are wondering how the offenders are back out on the street. Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol is getting the same calls.

"Bail Reform has not made our community safer. It’s done just the opposite."

The District Attorney says the criminals know they aren’t going to jail, and aren’t afraid to admit it.

"Increased crime which means increased victimization, and making the community less safe, and right now you know it’s the wild, wild west we’re dealing with right now. I mean it’s like people are saying to the police: you can’t arrest me for this."

The Sheriff spoke about a number of cases where there’s been re-offenses. One involving setting 8 cars on fire.

"C felony arson in the 3rd degree and they were released. We arrested them a second time for another car fire, and they were released again."

Scott McNamara says drug dealers are also aware of the Bail Reform laws, and are taking advantage of the system.

"Many of our drug dealers are not from Utica. They come here, and this just encourages people to come from outside the area to a separate area and then flee once they get arrested because now we have to spend all our time and energy to go find them, and then the question becomes how much time and energy do you put into that?"

There has been some changes to the Discovery Laws, but both the DA and the Sheriff would like to see additional changes made to keep the community safer.

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