Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick (R,C,I,Ref-Smithtown) today announced new legislation, A.8855, which would repeal the bail reforms passed in the legislature. He was joined by his Assembly colleagues, family members of crime victims and professionals from the criminal justice system. The bail reforms have created significant concerns when individuals who were arrested for serious crimes such as assault and domestic violence incidents, even confessed to the crime, were then released on their own recognizance only to be arrested again shortly afterward for committing an additional crime.
The changes to bail and pre-trial detention that we have in New York have done little to protect the public and victims and must be repealed immediately, said Fitzpatrick. Weve removed one of the most important tools a judge has in keeping the public safe discretion in holding a high-risk individual in detention. New York is the only state in the country that has removed this, and now our residents are in a much greater danger.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), New York is the only state in the union to have removed a judges discretion to hold an individual if they believe they are a threat to public safety or a flight risk. In fact, in crafting the short-sighted law, no law enforcement or judges were consulted or brought to the table.
In attendance were two family members of victims who shared how the bail reforms have impacted their families and communities:
- Jennifer Payne is the mother of Sarah Tombs, who was shot and killed in April 2019 by her live-in boyfriend. The boyfriend who killed Tombs was released last week; and
- Sheila Harris is the aunt of Rosie Osai, who was struck and killed on December 24 by an unlicensed, hit-and-run driver. The individual was released without bail.