NEW YORK (PIX11) — More criminal defendants in New York will likely be sent to jail before their trials after lawmakers passed changes to the the state’s bail laws.
Judges may now set bail for more gun crimes, more hate crimes and repeat offenses involving theft of property. State lawmakers also gave more power to judges. When setting bail, judges may now consider a defendant’s history of gun possession, previous violations of an order of protection and whether the charge is alleged to have caused serious harm.
The changes were made as part of the state’s budget negotiations. Gov. Kathy Hochul said the state is responding to public safety concerns.
“We have heard loud and clear that there’s a lot of stress,” she said. “People are anxious.”
But Assemblymember Latrice Walker, a Democrat, pushed back against bail changes, believing they would roll back hard fought criminal justice reforms. Walker called the changes politically motivated.
“There was no empirical data to support any of the changes,” Walker said.
Long Island State Senator Anthony Palumbo, a Republican, believed the recent bail reforms did not go far enough.
“We have not done enough to make New Yorkers safe,” Palumbo said.
Palumbo wants lawmakers to go back to the drawing board and overhaul bail laws.
“I’ve said it, many have said it, why don’t we repeal it and start from scratch? That would have been the best idea,” Palumbo said.