First days of bail reform sees backlash from officials


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Bail reform is now a reality in New York. It’s one of the more controversial laws passed last year, and from the top down, many lawmakers to law enforcers say they’re not happy.

“The idea that I now have to say to a victim of a crime that, ‘Hey there’s a good chance that you might see this person at Stewart’s because they’re going to be released,’ to me that’s offensive,” said Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

Soares said bail is meant to make sure people go to court. Now, he said his office can only hope alleged criminals will face the judge.

Soares said his office has already received a dozen bail appeals. He said he’s expecting to receive dozens more in the coming days.

Paul Barbaritano’s is an appeal a judge has already granted. Barbaritano’s charged with manslaughter in the July death of Nicole Jennings.

Barbaritano’s attorney sent this statement to NEWS10:

“The new pre-trial laws were designed to promote fair and equal justice and improve safety of our communities. Because of the court’s decision today, we are connecting our client with the services and treatment that he needs.”

Soares said he is now working to push lawmakers at the state capital for change, but he said it’s also up to voters as well.

“One of the fundamental issues that prosecutors and police officers sought in the legislation is for the ability to allow dangerousness and this legislation was passed stripping the judges from their ability to make those decisions,” Soares said.

Soares said bail reform is the state’s “poorly drafted” way “to legislate racism out of the criminal justice system” and there will be unintended consequences.

For more of the interview, watch below.

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