NY Gov. Hochul pushes for bail reform, faces opposition from progressive Democrats

Saturday, March 19, 2022
Hochul pushes for NY bail reform, faces opposition from progressives
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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul is looking to make changes to recent reforms that would make it easier for judges to set bail for certain violent crimes. NJ Burkett has the details.

ALBANY, New York (WABC) -- After a series of high profile cases committed by repeat offenders, New York Governor Kathy Hochul is looking to make changes to recent reforms that would make it easier for judges to set bail for certain violent crimes.

But progressives in the Democratic party are blasting the move.

The controversy cane as Mayor Eric Adams met with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on how big cities can fight back against the surge in crime.

Rolling back bail reform would keep more defendants off the streets and in custody for much longer, awaiting trial.

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After a surge in violent crime, both on the streets and in the subways, Hochul is now urging state lawmakers to make changes.

The governor's proposals would make more crimes eligible for bail and give judges discretion to consider a defendant's criminal history and take into account his "dangerousness" as an additional factor in imposing bail.

The proposed rollback would also allow police to make arrests rather than issue tickets for even lower level crimes against riders or transit workers.

And juveniles charged with gun possession would be prosecuted in criminal court rather than family court.

It's a dramatic reversal for the governor, who is running to be elected to a full term, and comes after failed attempts by Mayor Adams to convince the Democratic leadership in Albany to make similar changes.

But critics say that would be a mistake, including New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who is running against Hochul.

"New Yorkers are right to be angry, and they have a right to be afraid about what's going on," he said. "The high profile cases that people bring about, generally, we find out had nothing to do to with bail reform. And even some were bail eligible, and judges didn't set the bail."

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Changes to bail reform appear unlikely.

Crime was at the top of the agenda in Chicago Friday afternoon, as Adams met with Lightfoot. He insisted it's not enough to push for public safety and criminal justice.

"This is not touchy feely and saying, 'Let's ignore the crime that we are facing,'" he said. "No. We are saying the way you deal with crime is to prevent crime while you are dealing with what is taking place right now. It's an entirely new way of thinking about public safety."

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