Griffo pushing for bill to make changes to bail reform

Senator Joe Griffo is pushing for the Senate to consider a bill that would make changes to bail reform.

Posted: Jan 6, 2020 6:33 PM

Senator Joe Griffo is pushing for the Senate to consider a bill that would make changes to bail reform.

Law enforcement officials and Republicans have spent months raising red flags on the changes, but their criticism caught more fervor in the last week as courts across the state have released people who would have remain behind bars under the old rules.

In Otsego County, Sheriff Richard Devlin says about 30 percent of inmates have been released as of Dec. 31.

One of those inmates is James Sitts, a Laurens man who was arrested Friday for allegedly stealing a pickup truck just 24 hours after being released.

"Around 24 hours after being released on a felony, this person went out and committed another felony that had been incarcerated in this facility 16 different times over the last 12 years, those are the type of people being released," Devlin said. "It did't surprise me at all when this occurred, I was discouraged when it occurred because I knew it was going to happen."

Otsego County District Attorney, John Muehl, says he expected to see situations like this. 

"That's a situation we expected, for people to get out and continue to commit crimes again," Muehl said.

Devlin and Muehl both believe one of the biggest flaws with the new bail legislation is that those who created the new policy, never consulted the people involved.

"They don't talk to the people that are in the trenches doing the job everyday and our input is important and eeds to be considered when making these decisions," Devlin said.

"Nobody ever calls us and asks us, you know 'How is this going to effect you?' 'Is this a good idea here?' they don't even call us and get any input from us, they just do it," Muehl said.

Senator Griffo says he is calling for immediate action to address the flaws in the legislation.

"Let's do this the right way by including people that need to be included, secondly when they did this we warned about what was going to happen, third we then said there should be a moratorium until we can at least understand and appreciate the ramifications and consequences," Griffo said.

Griffo says he's hoping this happens sooner rather than later.

"I'm hopeful that it'll be quickly because we're experiencing the problems now," Griffo said.

"The hope is that they will revisit this and come up with some alterations and modifications to accomplish criminal justice reform without jeopardizing public safety," Devlin said.

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