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NY GOP leader demands changes to bail reforms

Emily De Vito
Updated: January 06, 2020 04:52 PM
Created: January 06, 2020 04:47 PM

State lawmakers are back in Albany -- and they're being greeted with a wave of anger over criminal justice reforms.

The state Republican chairman is calling on legislators to stay at the Capitol until changes are made to the laws.

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New York Republican Chairman Nick Langworthy had some strong words Monday for Democrats in the state legislature. He said they have blood on their hands from these new criminal justice reform laws.

Langworthy said they were rushed recklessly when they were passed in the budget.

“It's an assault on civilized society, public safety, and law enforcement, and on criminal victims and the people and the taxpayers of the state of New York,” Langworthy said. “And it's Andrew Cuomo and Democrats who thrust this down our throats in the dead of night, crammed into a budget bill without the proper public input nor the proper research done by law enforcement and stake holders.”

He’s calling on the legislature as they head back for session on Wednesday to remain in Albany until they repeal and replace what is in place.

He rattled out of examples of cases throughout the state where defendants have been released because of the new laws.

Here in the Capital Region, he mentioned Christopher Seamans, who Colonie police say robbed a bank and is facing a felony robbery charge. He was released even though they say he has two prior convictions of bank robberies.

Under these laws, judges are not able to set bail for a lot of misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies in most cases. Langworthy wants to see judges get back that discretion to be able to set bail.

However, these laws were meant to even the playing field in the criminal justice world. It allows those who aren’t able to afford bail the same privilege to those who can. People can continue to work and pay bills while they await trial.

While Langworthy says a change is needed, a local criminal defense attorney says we need to give this longer than six days.

“Right now people just want to hold press conferences, people want to scare the public, and they don't understand in the long term this is actually going to work out for everyone,” criminal defense attorney Lee Kindlon said. “We just need to have some patience as a society. We need to understand these things are better for us and our brothers and our fathers and our cousins and those people we know who get jammed up in the criminal justice system.”

Statement from Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

“These justice reforms will help guarantee that all New Yorkers are treated equally under the law, regardless of personal wealth. The Senate Majority has been clear that we will continue to monitor the implementation of these reforms and work with all stakeholders to ensure they achieve their intended goals. These justice reforms will have no impact on gun buyback programs.”


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