WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Calling it "discriminatory", Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino said his office will no longer seek bail in most misdemeanor cases.
Scarpino said the move was done to promote fairness and end unnecessary incarceration for impoverished defendants.
"The District Attorney’s Office has issued guidelines for local court branches to ensure all defendants are treated fairly and equally while providing adequate assurance that he or she will return to court when required,” Scarpino said. “While our current policy has not resulted in a large number of defendants being detained on misdemeanor charges, it is essential that we revisit these policies from time to time.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently called for legislation eliminating bail for misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
Scarpino said his new guidelines have already gone into effect and noted there may be exceptions where bail would be appropriate, including:
Cases involving a victim (e.g., domestic violence, sex crimes, child abuse, elder abuse, assault cases)
Cases where the defendant injures a police officer, firefighter, EMT or other first responders, or violently resists arrest
Cases where the defendant has a prior felony conviction within the past 10 years
Cases where the defendant has a prior sex crime conviction (felony or misdemeanor)
Cases where the defendant has a pending felony case, or multiple pending misdemeanor cases
Cases where the defendant is on parole, probation, or supervised release
Cases where the defendant has prior bail jumping charges or a history of warrants
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