Hochul announces plan to change criminal justice reform laws in New York

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday vowed to further roll back parts of the state’s controversial criminal justice reform bill — including closing the “raising age” loophole and giving judges more discretion in setting bails in cases.

The measures, resulting from negotiations between the governor and state legislatures and unveiled as part of Hochul’s $220 billion budget, will also tighten gun trafficking laws and allow more repeat offenders to be incarcerated.

“We are not here to undo the advances of the past,” said Hochul of the Capitol. “That was never my goal. will never be

“But I also said that we need to recognize that there are areas where improvements can and must be made,” she continued.

“And so we have presented New Yorkers concerned about the rise in crime with a comprehensive package that, in turn, continues the strides we have made in the past to ensure our criminal justice system is fair and we are not.” move backwards. We are going ahead with a thoughtful approach.”

The proposals will close loopholes in the Raise the Age law to hold more criminals under the age of 18 to account and target repeat offenders who would not have been jailed under the 2019 crime-fighting reforms – particularly in gun cases.

“We will now, for the first time, allow judges to set bail on gun charges that previously only required release,” Hochul said. “Also adding factors for a judge to consider.

Gov. Kathy Hochul promised to make changes to New York State's criminal justice reform laws.
Gov. Kathy Hochul promised to make changes to New York State’s criminal justice reform laws.
Hans Penink

“We will also review bail and arrest eligibility for repeat offenders and all crimes, repeat offenders involving personal injury or property damage,” she said. “Repeated property theft offenses, with limited exceptions for crimes of poverty. Fill the current gap in desk appearance.”

The new steps will also streamline the state’s rapid trial reforms, which set strict deadlines for prosecutors to produce “discoveries” — evidence that must be turned over to the defense.

In a March 22 report, the Post revealed that the law’s stringent requirements force prosecutors to drop cases early, prompting dozens of them to quit their jobs.

The measures follow a backlash from local officials and law enforcement — including Mayor Eric Adams, who dispatched top aides to Albany last month to lobby lawmakers on the changes.

The 2019 reforms banned judges from setting bail for misdemeanors and many nonviolent crime cases – prompting an outcry from state police officers who said the law is letting too many violent criminals back onto the streets.

“We need judges to hold people accountable and give them back the power to do so,” former Bronx District Attorney Michael Disciarro told The Post on Thursday. “We saw it differently. It doesn’t work

“What we’re doing now won’t work on the street.”

When asked about the governor’s proposals, Lucian Chalfen, spokesman for the state’s Bureau of Court Administration, said simply that “judges will follow the law.

“And should those changes become law, judges will consider those changes when indicting a defendant,” he said.

But others didn’t buy the changes.

Among Hochul's proposals is the closure of the "Increase age" loophole and give judges more authority in setting bail.
Hochul’s proposals include closing the “raise the age” loophole and giving judges more power to set bails.
Hans Penink

“It’s a little too little, a little too late,” said former NYPD Det. Joseph Giacalone, now a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

“The damage is done,” he said. “There are too many politicians in New York who have berated us for the rise in violence for so long.

“None of this means anything if prosecutors continue not to prosecute or downgrade crimes,” Giacalone added.

A law enforcement source said he was skeptical and didn’t trust the governor’s motives.

“It’s not enough,” said the source. “She’s just trying to placate her critics without upsetting the progressives. She wants her cake and eats it too.”

Another source said: “I think bail reform was needed, but instead of enacting sensible reforms, lawmakers have swung the pendulum too far in the opposite direction.

“Now they have their tails between their legs,” he said.

Rep. Tom Suozzi, Hochul’s rival in the June Democratic primary for governor, said her reform plan “won’t work.”

“Hochul struck a weak political deal to have a talking point rather than go against the legislature and set bail reform,” he said.

“By refusing to give judges the power to test dangerousness and keep criminals off our streets, Hochul has failed another test of leadership during this crime crisis.”

In a statement Thursday, U.S. Representative Elise Stefanik, a upstate Republican, chided Hochul for falling short on criminal justice despite setting up “the most expensive budget” in the state’s history.

“Kathy Hochul has failed to reverse New York State’s dangerous bail reform policies that have fueled skyrocketing crime,” Stefanik said.

“New York’s communities are suffering because of Albany’s failed policies, and Kathy Hochul has only shown her commitment to making them worse,” she said. “She lets all New Yorkers down.”

Additional reporting from Joe Marino, Larry Celona, ​​Bernadette Hogan and Priscilla DeGregory Hochul announces plan to change criminal justice reform laws in New York


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