EJ Smyth & Co - January 2020

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January 2020

Jailbreak! An Unnecessary Threat to Public Safety

New York State now requires judges to release defendants for all but the most serious offenses. Judges no longer have discretion to hold defendants accused of crimes such as second-degree manslaughter, burglary, robbery, or assault on a child. After Jan. 1, 2020, someone caught making threats on school grounds with a weapon will be arraigned and released. Judges have been stripped of their discretion, regardless of the defendant’s prior offenses. This new law was championed by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio. Governor Cuomo, who is a political hostage of the New York City democrats, obligingly signed the bill into law. The proponents of the new law have told the public it only applies to “nonviolent” crimes or “minor offenses,” but this is a lie. Judges, police officers, and even many defense attorneys are speechless over this unprecedented criminal justice “reform” law. It

is unprecedented because it is monumentally stupid. Of the 1,100 inmates at the Nassau County Jail, 190 of them must be released before midnight on Dec. 31. Suffolk County is more tight-lipped about its numbers. Proponents accuse critics of “fear-mongering.” This might be true if the consequences of this misguided initiative were not so foreseeable. There is no doubt the criminal justice system is in need of reform — deep, fundamental, and substantive reform. However, this new law unnecessarily endangers the public in a misguided attempt to cure decades of heavy-handed justice with a whiplash reaction in the extreme, opposite direction. Reasonable criminal justice reforms can be implemented incrementally, but the New York State legislature and Governor Cuomo have ignored them.

offering Mets tickets! Someone arrested for selling heroin near a school or for making terrorist threats will not be held in jail. Instead they’ll receive tickets to a Mets game and a Dunkin’ Donuts gift card if they appear for their next court date. (That’s not a joke.) Just last month, police arrested Jose Jorge of the Bronx for high-level drug dealing of fentanyl-laced heroin. Despite facing 96 years in prison, he was released on his own recognizance. Upon exiting the courthouse, he yelled to his waiting supporters, “Cuomo for president!”

The direction Bill DeBlasio is leading Albany lawmakers unnecessarily endangers us all.

Instead of requiring cash bail to ensure defendants appear in court, New York City is

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