Gov. Hochul reveals new public safety plan on bail reform
Gov. Kathy Hochul revealed a new 10-point plan to fix what many call a broken bail system.
Under pressure from rising crime, Hochul just rolled out the new package to revamp New York's bail laws.
The governor's plan would expand the list of crimes eligible for bail in New York and give judges power to consider the danger a defendant poses in settling bail for certain crimes.
The bail reform law has become personal for many like Victor Maldonado, whose son was killed by an accused drunk driver.
"If it wasn't because of this law, my son would be alive today," Maldonado says.
According to court records, the suspected drunk driver was arrested and released in Suffolk County 11 days prior to the incident. Investigators say the individual was arrested for driving without a court-ordered ignition interlock device.
"You have six felony convictions, three DWIs and a few misdemeanors and served hard time in jail, and the judge can't hold you," Maldonado says. "You're a career criminal."
Hochul's plan includes reinstating bail for repeat offenders and crimes involving weapons. It would also apply to crimes occurring on a subway or bus against a passenger or employee.
Supporters of bail reform say the laws need to stay because they level the playing field between defendants who have the financial means to make bail and the accused - often minority defendants - who do not.
"Bail reform has always been about equality," says Serena Liguori, of New Hour LI. "It's always been about making sure you are able to afford to leave the facility, do the right thing, return for your court dates."
Hochul's plan would also increase funding for pretrial, diversion and employment programs- as well as mental health treatment.