Kathy Hochul vows data will prove her right in ongoing bail reform feud with New York judges

Gov. Kathy Hochul doubled down on her blame game with New York judges on Monday, claiming her government is busy collecting data to prove her claim that bail reform laws don’t need to be changed any further — the state’s judges do just do better work.

“What I want to see is the implementation of these laws at all levels. And we’re going to release data on whether they really understand the power and wide discretion that judges used to have, but even more so now,” Hochul broadly said of judges at a news conference in Yonkers.

Some members of the judiciary have not taken kindly to Hochul, blaming her for rising crime or her recent offer to fund more training for her on bail changes approved by Albany Democrats in the state budget passed last April.

“To say we’re behind the curve is completely wrong — it’s quite the opposite,” Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for New York’s Office of Court Administration, countered in a statement to The Post v. Hochul.

Governor Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul claimed Monday that state judges need to do a better job of fighting rising crime.
Angus Mordant/NY Post

Judges have emerged as the governor’s go-to place over the past week, as Republicans and Democrats including Mayor Eric Adams have increasingly called for Hochul to lure state legislatures back to Albany to roll back criminal justice reforms approved in recent years.

“I believe in accountability at all levels. And you know, people can’t just say they don’t have something when they have it. They do it as an excuse,” Hochul said on Wednesday.

Hochul has even suggested that judges should read the law books while blaming them for allegedly letting 10 of the “worst of the worst” repeat offenders continue their reported crimes, despite nearly 500 arrests since new bail laws came into force in 2019.

A data point touted by Adams showed that 80% of gun suspects in the five counties were released after being arrested.

Eric Adams
Democrats like Mayor Eric Adams and Republicans have called on Hochul to reverse criminal justice reforms passed in recent years.

Existing laws handcuff judges in many cases, requiring them to apply the “least restrictive” conditions to a criminal suspect, Chalfen said, which often means releasing someone or posting a lower bail than a judge might want.

“That’s what the law requires, and that’s what the judges follow,” added Chalfen.

Such legal nuance was absent on Monday, while Hochul defended bail reform, noting how the state budget approved months ago increased the number of crimes eligible for bail and eased restrictions on the incarceration of repeat offenders.

Lee Zeldin
Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk), who has made state bail laws a prominent issue in his campaign, is Hochul’s competitor in the November 8 election.
Tamara Beckwith

“We have taken some important steps to give prosecutors and judges the tools they have been asking for. We have provided them with hate crimes, gun violence cases and repeat offenders, all of which are now covered by the law,” Hochul said Monday.

Data justification isn’t coming for Hochul any time soon, given that new figures on the impact of bail reform will not be released until later this year by the state’s Department of Criminal Justice Services and the Bureau of Judiciary Administration.

“I will continue to encourage everyone to do their jobs,” Hochul said Monday.

The friction with the judiciary comes alongside a major political storm over state bail laws, which Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin (R-Suffolk) made a top issue in his campaign to defeat Hochul in the Nov. 8 election.

Her recent attempt to deflect blame from rising crime is the only evidence that Zeldin tweeted Monday when the New Yorkers should throw her out of office.

“There is no evidence that Kathy Hochul has the ability or willingness to be the strong governor we need to secure our streets. There’s a lot of evidence that criminal laws, soft prosecutors and lax far-left judges make life in New York much more unsafe,” the GOP banner-bearer said in the Post.

https://nypost.com/2022/08/08/kathy-hochul-vows-data-will-prove-her-right-in-ongoing-bail-reform-feud-with-ny-judges/ Kathy Hochul vows data will prove her right in ongoing bail reform feud with New York judges


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