Gov. Hochul announces changes to NY's bail reform law in new state budget

Gov. Hochul had to persuade the Democratic-led Legislature to make some changes to the Criminal Justice Reform Law that prevented judges from setting bail for defendants charged with less serious crimes.

News 12 Staff

Apr 8, 2022, 2:19 AM

Updated 740 days ago

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Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday that an agreement has been reached with legislative leaders on a new state budget, which includes changes to New York's bail reform law.
The $220 billion budget agreement is set to strengthen bail restrictions and tighten rules for repeat offenders.
Hochul had to persuade the Democratic-led Legislature to make some changes to the 2019 Criminal Justice Reform Law that prevented judges from setting bail for defendants charged with less serious crimes.
"We're not here to undo the progress that was made in the past," Hochul says. "...But I also said, we have to realize there are areas where improvements can and need to be made."
The changes include closing loopholes in the "Raise The Age" law to hold defendants under 18 more accountable and target repeat offenders, especially in gun cases.
The revised law will also give judges more discretion in setting bail.
"New York State is the only state which never allowed judges to look at the prior criminal record and to say to the defendant, 'You represent such a threat that I'm going to set a high bail that I don't expect you to meet.'"
The changes are striking an important note to some Long Islanders.
Rebecca Carr's fiancé, 27-year-old Jonathan Flores Maldonado, was killed by a repeat drunk driver with a suspended license who had 12 prior convictions.
Three of those convictions were for DWI.
The driver was arrested just 11 days before the fatal crash for allegedly not having a court ordered ignition interlock device on his car and was released without having to post bail.
Carr says she hopes the stricter measures will save others.
"This bail reform is really important to me because this is a public safety issue," Carr says
Democrats have argued the 2019 bail changes are not responsible for the increase in crime and violence in New York.
However, opponents of it, like New York City Mayor Eric Adams, have put pressure on Hochul to do something.


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