Supporters, critics of bail reform law hold dueling rallies at Nassau courthouse
Supporters and critics of the state’s new bail reform law held dueling rallies Saturday outside the Nassau County Court in Mineola.
Community leaders came together to rally in support of the new bail legislation that took effect on Jan. 1. It allows nonviolent defendants to go free without bail. Leaders at the rally say those who couldn't afford to post bail were criminalized for being less fortunate.
“It causes emotional, psychological wounds that may never be able to be repaired,” said Chaplain Kim Eliano, of the National Action Network.
Many say imposing bail does not keep communities safer. Critics, like Loni Lewis, of Riverhead, disagreed.
She was at the rally holding a picture of Jonathon Maldonado, who was killed when an alleged repeat DWI offender who went free without bail and slammed into the back of Maldonado's car, killing him.
“He's dead, because of this man because this man got out with no bail,” said Lewis.
Since bail reform was enacted, there have been numerous reports of defendants going free and being re-arrested.
State Sen. Monica Martinez (D-Brentwood) told News 12 Friday that she introduced legislation that would give judges more freedom to impose bail where they see fit.
“My bill is more comprehensive,” she said. “It allows our judges to have…their authority back.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reviewing the bill. He recently admitted the bail reform law could have flaws and may need to be adjusted.