Dem challenger Tom Suozzi blows up Hochul’s public safety plan

Rep. Tom Suozzi blasted the person he’s challenging in the Democratic primary, Gov. Kathy Hochul, on Tuesday over her new public safety plan, calling it “wrong” because it doesn’t include a measure that empowers judges gives to lock up defendants they deem dangerous before trial.

“It’s wrong and doesn’t help address the crime problem,” Suozzi (D-Long Island) insisted outside the Midtown governor’s office. “It’s not real.

“If there are no consequences for crime, crime will keep rising,” added Suozzi, who is a candidate for the Democratic primary in June, according to recent polls.

Hochul’s 10-point criminal justice blueprint, first reported by The Post last week, is flawed in part because it does not give judges “the discretion to consider dangerousness when deciding whether to put offenders behind bars should,” explained Suozzi.

Suozzi, Mayor Eric Adams and other moderate Democrats, Republicans and judges have spent months urging the Albany legislature to revise the state’s laws to introduce a “dangerousness standard” that would allow judges to pre-trial those charged with a crime accused of what they see as a threat to others.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul's "not correct" criminal justice plan.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi criticized Gov. Kathy Hochul’s “wrong” criminal justice plan.
Matthew McDermott

According to a Siena College poll released in February, about two-thirds of voters agree the controversial bail law needs to be revised by giving judges discretion to hold “dangerous” recidivists pending trial for a lesser offence.

Under the bail bond reform laws signed by the then government in 2019. Andrew Cuomo can no longer order defendants charged with most misdemeanor and nonviolent crimes to post bail before being released. Bail reforms were slightly reversed in the summer of 2020, when state legislatures again deemed “qualifying felonies” a number of charges considered ineligible for bail under that law.

Suozzi said that was Hochul's plan "does nothing to address the problem of crime."
Suozzi said Hochul’s plan “does nothing to address the crime problem.”
Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

After a spike in serious crimes and a string of high-profile offenses committed by recidivists, Hochul proposed a public safety package that includes amendments allowing additional offenses in New York on bail. The comprehensive blueprint includes a measure that would give judges more discretion in ordering bail and detention of defendants for a variety of additional crimes based on their criminal records, including repeat offenders.

“For offenses that are not currently being arrested, police have the ability (but not the requirement) to refuse a Desk Appearance Ticket (DAT) and arrest an individual who has previously received a DAT within eighteen months. Any second offenses within a specified period are eligible for bail,” said a copy of Hochul’s memo, which she will negotiate to include in her $216 billion budget proposal, due April 1.

“The law will establish specific criteria on which judges will base their decisions, including criminal convictions and history of firearm use/possession.”

Crimes against straphangers and transit workers will also be subject to bail, and other gun crimes would also be eligible for bail, according to the memo.

Suozzi said Hochul's plan did not include a measure that would allow judges to lock up defendants before trial if they were deemed dangerous.
Suozzi said Hochul’s plan did not include a measure that would allow judges to lock up defendants before trial if they were deemed dangerous.
Matthew McDermott

But the plan – which Hochul confirmed on Monday, which she submitted to top state lawmakers as her position on a range of criminal justice-related matters – does not allow judges to consider the “dangerousness” of suspects in the preliminary investigation before they decide on the terms of their release.

“Reg. Hochul has treated crime as if it were an afterthought,” he claimed Tuesday afternoon, “when in reality there is a crisis at hand that requires immediate comprehensive action.”

Deborah Koenigsberger, owner of Noir et Blanc in Flat Iron, stood next to Suozzi at the press conference and lamented a spike in thefts, saying she had “never felt more unsafe than now”.

Suozzi speaks at a rally outside Hochul's New York office on March 22, 2022.
Suozzi speaks at a rally outside Hochul’s New York office on March 22, 2022.
Matthew McDermott

“I’ve been robbed four times, they broke into the store at all hours of the morning. The police come, they answer, but at the same time, she replies, “Okay, if we catch these guys, you know they’re really not going to do anything” because the judges’ powers have been curtailed,” she fumed. “The everyday thief and the everyday crime — that’s really just up.”

“Every day small businesses get crushed,” Koenigsberger added. “We can’t afford to hire all the security guards to look after our goods when you have 900 square meters and can hardly afford your two employees.”

Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy Dem challenger Tom Suozzi blows up Hochul’s public safety plan


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