Updated: September 30, 2019 08:46 PM
Created: September 30, 2019 06:15 PM
Skyler Crouse spit at a NewsChannel 13 photographer as he was being led into arraignment on a manslaughter charge Thursday evening.
Police say Crouse drove 100-miles per hour on the Northway when he crashed his truck into Joseph Turcotte's truck and killed the pillar of the Brant Lake community.
Crouse, who lives on an Indian reservation in Canada, left court in handcuffs after a judge ordered him held without bail.
But if this had happened Jan. 1, 2020 or later, Crouse, who has a history of failing to show up for court, would have been set free and told to come back for future court proceedings.
Police and prosecutors in Warren and Washington counties aren't happy with the new bail laws.
"Potentially the victim of a crime could report the crime, we could make the arrest, and they could see the same person walk out of our building a couple hours later," said Washington County Sheriff Jeff Murphy.
The laws were attached to a state budget bill. The long list of crimes that will no longer qualify for bail includes manslaughter, Class A drug felonies and burglary.
"They took away the ability and discretion of judges to factor public safety in to any bail decision they're making," said Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan.
Jordan points to the Jeremy Joseph burglary case. The Vermont man kicked in the front door of dozens of homes in Washington, Rensselaer and Bennington counties last year. Jordan says if Joseph, who'd had a felony criminal record, had been arrested after January 1, he would have been released with an appearance ticket.
Law enforcement mockingly refers to the state's bail reform as "catch and release."
"When you start to lose that ability of our judges who really speak to the community concerns in weighing those decisions, now you've put the public at risk," said Jordan.
State Assemblyman Dan Stec, R - Queensbury called for repeal of the bail reform laws Monday, "This is absolutely unacceptable and a public safety concern for all of us."
Source: the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York
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