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Albany County DA concerned about repeat offenders with bail reform coming

August 17, 2019 09:20 AM

ALBANY – Albany Police said they arrested a teenager from Albany on Wednesday who was arrested back in April for two burglaries.

Police said Kenneth Stephens is being charged with Burglary in the 2nd Degree and Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree.  He has been remanded to the Albany County Jail. When he was arrested the first time, police said he was released on his own recognizance. The chance of Stephens being remanded for his second rest, would be unlikely come next year.

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Albany County District Attorney David Soares said he can’t speak to Stephens’s case specifically, but come Jan. 1, 2020 his office will likely be seeing a lot of repeat offenders due to bail reform.

"There is no guarantee that a person who is a perpetual a frequent flier will be held and that's part of the frustration,” said Soares.

Soares said Judges, who set bail, will not be able to anymore for certain crimes.

“We call it presumptive release,” explained Soares. “So for vast majority of misdemeanors and E felonies those cases are going to be presumptive release"

Soares said his office is concerned about how they will create a unified system for everyone to follow by January, since many towns have different police agencies. But his main concern is for the community.

“It's the safety of the individual who has been victimized,” said Soares. “The idea that you live in a neighborhood where a house has just been broken into, that sends shock waves to the rest of the neighborhood. The idea that the individual that did that who is now in police custody will then he re-released moments after is just unsettling.” 

Soares also added while some could think bail reform will speed up cases, he said it may cause less cases to be settled because prosecutors will need to share evidence with the defense within 15 days of arraignment.  

“It's taken a vast majority of cases that we quit honestly resolve in less than 6 months and it's places a tremendous burden on labs, and all of the health records and things that we have to retrieve and turn over before we can even begin negotiating,” said Soares.

Erin George, Civil Right Campaigns Director for Citizen Action of New York released the follow statement in regards to bail reform:

"As a result of the new bail law, New York can finally end the injustice of jailing people who haven't been convicted of anything and are often too poor to afford bail. Pretrial incarceration promotes harm and instability, not safety. District Attorney Soares ran on the platform of addressing the crisis of mass incarceration, yet he seems perfectly content maintaining the status quo--a status quo that has done irreparably harm to families and communities across the Capital District."

Credits

Emily De Vito

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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