Officials believe cost of bail reform will fall in taxpayers' hands

The new Bail reform law goes into effect on January 1st, and will likely cost the taxpayer and the consumer.

Posted: Nov 6, 2019 5:47 PM
Updated: Nov 6, 2019 6:24 PM

New York’s Bail Reform Law will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, but at what cost?

Defendants will be issued an appearance ticket to return to court to face the charges against them. The prosecution will have 15 days to gather up all the evidence, known as discovery,  and present it to the defense. The short timeline will require more staff, and additional resources to process the information. That all requires money the taxpayer will have to come up with. Village of Herkimer Police Chief Mike Jory is frustrated about what it's going to mean to the department. 

"We have a book of rules that we have to deal with. We have a book of rules that we have to follow to a T, yet there are no book of rules out there for that career criminal," Jory said.

The career criminal, like someone who deliberately passes checks with insufficient funds, will be issued an appearance ticket and may skip town. Then it’s up to the police to eventually bring them back to court on a warrant. The cost of that will again fall on the backs of the taxpayer, but the business owner will take a hit on the bounced check and likely have to pass the loss along to the consumer. Town of Webb Police Chief Ronald Johnston talked about how this will effect more than his department. 

"This reform is going to increase warrants. There’s no doubt about it, and now our Town doesn’t have a budget to go extradite people from out-of-state. Our District Attorney’s office certainly isn’t going to have funds to extradite people from out-of-state. So that leaves my business owners in a tough spot," Johnston said.

The District Attorney’s are already in a tough spot because there is little they can do to keep a defendant from fleeing the state. New York’s lawmakers passed the bail reform unfunded, so the bigger the crime, the more it’s going to cost the locals. Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter warns against the costs. 

"Who are you going to recoup it from, the individual who generally is not in a position to pay that kind of money, so no, extradition costs is another issue that we’re looking at right now. The costs are going to go through the roof," Carpenter said.

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