Sen. Jim Tedisco proposed a new bill Monday that he says strikes a balance between bail reform and judicial discretion that would ensure public safety.
The bill allows the courts to assess risk of release based on a defendant’s prior felony convictions, a failure to make a court appearance or a subsequent arrest while awaiting a preliminary hearing or trial.
Bail reform, which is schedule to take effect in January, provides for little to no judicial discretion regarding a defendant’s history.
Tedisco says bail and discovery reform law was hastily passed earlier this year in the state budget
“They say discretion is the better part of valor. Let’s give some discretion back to New York’s judges to keep New Yorkers safe,” said Senator Tedisco. “We support criminal justice reform to help reduce recidivism and turn people’s lives around, but that can’t be done at the expense of public safety. The so-called reforms that ultimately passed were done in haste in the flurry of passing a state budget without getting input from the criminal justice experts who will have to implement the law."
Bail reform has been criticized by law enforcement, prosecutors, and crime victims, who fear it could endanger public safety.
Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat representing the Albany area, helped Tedisco create the legislation.
According to Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol, 30% to 50% of the inmate population could be released under the new bail reform. Nearly 35% of inmates in Herkimer County and up to 60% in Otsego County could also be released come January.