New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state lawmakers are scaling back the state’s cash bail system that has angered law enforcement officials since the measures took effect at the start of the year.
An agreement was struck that added a number of new misdemeanor and felony crimes to the long list of those subject to a cash bail order. The lawmakers are expected to approve the measure on Thursday, April 2 as part of the state budget.
The previous bail reforms went into effect in January, which no longer permitted judges to demand cash bail for non-violent misdemeanor crimes, no exceptions. Bail could still be ordered for more severe crimes.
The stated goal of the reform was to ensure that minor offenders weren’t held behind bars simply because they couldn’t afford cash bail or bond.
However, the reform didn’t factor in the “dangerousness” of a defendant, with some criminal offenders with lengthy rap sheets getting let back out on the street after being arrested for minor offenses. There were also several incidents of offenders being released and committing a separate crime days later.
The new reform will allow judges the discretion to detain somebody who has been charged with a crime in order to "prevent the principal from committing a crime involving serious injury to another person based on the facts of the instant case."
According to lawmakers, the following crimes would be eligible for bail under the new reform:
- First-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal sale of a controlled substance;
- Sex trafficking and sex trafficking of a child;
- Third- and fourth-degree money laundering in support of a terrorist;
- Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child;
- Crimes alleged to have caused the death of another;
- Criminal obstruction of breathing;
- Unlawful imprisonment;
- Aggravated vehicular assault and vehicular assault;
- Assault and arson as a hate crime;
- Aggravated assault of a person under the age of 11;
- Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds;
- First-degree grand larceny;
- First-degree enterprise corruption;
- Failure to register as a sex offender;
- Endangering the welfare of a child while a Level 3 offender.
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