Hochul proposes further overhaul to New York’s controversial bail reform laws

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul introduced a proposal to yet again revise the state’s controversial bail reform law as budget negotiations are expected to be underway for the next several weeks. The plan marks the third time changes would be made to the state’s bail reform laws, which eliminated cash bail and mandated release for most misdemeanor and nonviolent offenses since its introduction in 2019 under Hochuls’ predecessor, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.  As part of her $227 billion total budget proposal for the 2024 fiscal year, Hochul aims to restore “judicial discretion in securing order determinations by removing the least restrictive means standard.”  Last week, the governor said judges have given feedback expressing a lack of clarity on the law.  Her latest proposal would allow judges to consider a defendant’s “activities and history,” past criminal convictions, past use or possession of a firearm and financial circumstances, as well as whether the charges include allegations of causing serious harm, when setting bail, the New York Daily News reported. KATHY HOCHUL CLAIMS CASHLESS BAIL DOES NOT IMPACT CRIME, CNN HOST AGREES: ‘NO EVIDENCE’ Language on bail reform already negotiated into the state budget last year gave judges more discretion to set bail for repeat offenders and in cases involving guns and protection order violations.  Hochul received staunch criticism for her support for cashless bail measures, which Republicans like former congressman Lee Zeldin and even Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams tied to rising recidivism rates and violent crime.  Hochul narrowly defeated Zeldin in the November gubernatorial race, and Zeldin is expected to host a press conference in Albany Monday on the governor’s budget proposal.  The Democratic governor is now receiving pushback from the left for becoming more open than before to bail reform tweaks. Assemblywoman Latrice Walker, a Democrat from Brooklyn, argued that nixing the least restrictive standard will “send more Black and brown people to jail pretrial without enhancing public safety.” State Sen. Jessica Ramos, a Democrat who represents Queens, gave a frosty response to the bail proposal. “I am not keen on budging on any of the bail reform work that we have done,” Ramos said. “It is incomplete work and I am hoping that the response is to actually build the mental healthcare facilities that we need so New Yorkers who are engaging in harm-doing can actually receive the services and given the treatment that they deserve.” Yet, Republicans and Adams maintain bail reform is contributing to offenders being repeatedly arrested and released while awaiting trial until their offenses often become more dangerous. NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey spoke to the matter at a join legislative session last week evaluating crime statistics and data collection.  He argued the previous changes made last year to the state bail reform law fell short in addressing repeat offenders, pointing to data showing some 2,000 individuals have gone on to commit a violent felony after being released in recent years.  “An even larger number of people with a recent persistent pattern go on to commit other crimes,” Maddrey added, according to Daily News. “This small portion of the population causes a disproportionate amount of New York City’s crime and reflects a serious recidivism problem.” The proposal kicks off weeks of intense negotiations with state legislative leaders as they try to agree on a finalized budget by the April 1 deadline. Fox News Digital reached out to Hochul’s office Monday seeking comment on the proposed bail reform changes.  The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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