ORISKANY, N.Y. -- Several sheriffs, district attorneys, police chiefs and probation officers were at the Oneida County Sheriff's Department on Thursday, calling on the governor and state legislature to fix bail reform laws they fear will put public safety at risk, revictimize victims and cause a spike in crime.
"We're gonna allow the defendant to go back to the scene of a burglary or the scene of a rape or the scene of any other violent crime that takes place in someone's home so they can view the crime scene they created. It defies logic. Victims need to have rights here, too," said Oneida County District Attorney Scott McNamara. "People sell their houses after they get burglarized because they're afraid to stay in the house."
New bail laws will require Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol to release as many as 157 inmates in December. After a story about this aired on NewsChannel 2 Wednesday, the jail took phone calls from eight concerned victims.
"There's eight victims whose offenders are in this facility and they're gonna be released into the community and they wanna know, how are they gonna stay safe. I don't have an answer for them," said Maciol, at the press conference.
"They didn't choose to become the victim. They didn't choose to enter the system. The defendant chose them and now the defendant is gonna be driving the criminal justice system," said Herkimer County District Attorney, Jeffrey Carpenter.
The law enforcement officials at Thursday's press conference say they don't have the money to hire the extra staff that would be required to comply with the new laws.
"I'm gonna be operating the D.A's office basically a 757 on fumes," said McNamara.
The group of law enforcement officers at the press conference want the governor or state legislature to change the laws, as proposed. Senator Joseph Griffo says that is unlikely.
"Speaker Heastie and Majority Leader Stewart Cousins all have indicated that there's not really a need to come back, even though they're acknowledng the concerns that have been raised, but they're not addressing them," said Senator Griffo. "It's unlikely right now that they will take on any special action to prevent this from happening."