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Reform the Current Bail Reform

Recently, NYPD crime stats showed an alarming rise in all major crimes – grand larceny auto up 83.3%, burglary up 41.7%, robbery up 41.6%, grand larceny up 37%, felony assault up 24.8%, shootings up 18.8%, rape up 16.2%, and murder up 7.5%. Needless to say, crime is a real problem in our City. Any elected official who does not want to face the reality and listen to the voices of the people is failing us, failing the District he serves, and failing our City.

I put fighting crime and public safety as priority number one. Public safety is vital to prosperity and recovery. We, however, cannot talk about public safety, without addressing the current bail law. I am for reforming and tightening this state law that eliminated cash bail for many criminal offenders.

Proponents of the current bail reform law like to use statistics to justify that it works. They always cite that only 3,400 criminal defendants out of 98,000 sprung under the cashless bail law for most misdemeanor crimes from July 2020 to June 2021 — or nearly 4 percent — were re-arrested for committing violent crimes. I say that’s 4 percent too many, especially for crime victims and the victims’ family. Furthermore, these 3400 repeat offenders may be committing more than just one offense, in many instances a felonious crime, after release before they are caught again. Some repeat offenders will go on to commit serious offenses such as felony assault and murder.

A prime example is the perpetrator who murdered Yuna Lee by stabbing her 41 times in her apartment. He was released 9 time before he finally committed this heinous murder. Or, the perpetrator who pushed Michelle Go onto the subway tracks. He was also released many times before he finally murdered Michelle Go. Another example, serial shoplifter Isaac Rodriguez has been caught nearly 50 times this year alone and is still released back into the streets. Due to bail reform, petty theft and stolen property charges are ineligible for bail. It wasn't until Rodriguez was arrested in the June 7 gang attack on a 39-year-old man in Jackson Heights that he was eventually locked up.

A more disturbing fact is that the current bail reform law has imbued a widespread perception that there is no consequence when one commits a crime. When there’s no consequence for crime, crime will keep going up. Criminal elements are now emboldened and commit crimes brazenly without fear of arrest. It’s not just repeat offenders who have that mentally anymore. The current bail reform law might have also motivated many first-time offenders to engage in criminal activities and believe they can get away with everything. Even if arrested, they know they will be let go with just a desk appearance ticket.

Under the current bail reform law, when someone commits a misdemeanor, which is a

non-violent offense, is not eligible for remand or bail. However, if you look at their

record and you may discover an extensive history of violent offenses. Therefore,

presiding judges must look at the totality of the circumstances and make sure that a

potentially dangerous person isn’t put back on the streets. I, therefore, support amending the bail reform law to give judges more power to order bail and remand criminal defendants after arrest based on their possible threat to public safety. We need to give judges discretion, in the cases of where someone has a history of violent crime, to consider if somebody’s record has shown that person having a propensity for violence. Violent offenders should not be let out onto the streets again so readily.

Most importantly, due to the bail reform law, not only criminals know there’s little to no consequences, but police officers also know this as well. The morale of law enforcement officers is low because they feel they are being hampered by the current bail reform law. Police officers often risk their lives in many instances to arrest the perpetrators, yet these offenders are released in a few hours or the next day. We need to allow the police to do their job by tightening the current bail reform law. We need to allow the police to do their jobs, in a manner that protects all parties.

I am not beholden to the left or the right. I stand firmly on the principle that good policies are not made in the ivory tower, away from the realities of the people. I strongly believe that good policies must reflect and respond to the voices of the people. And, the people’s voices are now roaring with demands for safety on our streets and adjustment to bail reform laws.

As your Assemblyman, I will act on day one to:

  1. Work with all stake holders to reform and tighten existing bail reform laws to keep violent offenders off the streets.

  2. Establish close working relationship with NYPD and law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety on the street and subway – Expand NYPD foot and subway patrol; Install partial barriers on subway platforms

  3. Increase funding for anti-hate crimes initiatives.

  4. Expand access to mental health care, including support for those experiencing homelessness. Improve budget for State level mental health services and programs

  5. Work with community partners to create safe zones; Add security cameras; Fund and train neighborhood watch and patrols

Additionally, I will enact legislation that would strengthen gun safety in New York and

prevented the flow of firearms from entering the state. We cannot allow people to bring guns across state lines from outside of New York. We cannot downgrade armed robbery to a misdemeanor and not prosecuting resisting arrest. I will, along with my colleagues, enforce legislation to stop the proliferation of illegal guns and gun violence, such as

  • Ban the sale of assault weapons and large-capacity magazines or ammunition feeding devices for semiautomatic weapons,

  • Require gun purchasers to go through a licensing process that includes a thorough background check, safety training, and renewal at regular intervals,

  • Raise the age to purchase firearms including semi-automatic weapons to 21,

  • Enforce the Red Flag Law

  • Support the requirement for State Police to file for an Extreme Risk Protection Order

  • Establish a set of law enforcement standards to ensure that New York State’s criminal laws are being equally enforced across the five boroughs

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