ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County District Attorney David Soares took aim at Governor Andrew Cuomo in a New York Post opinion piece after Cuomo’s announcement that gun crimes have become “a disaster emergency” in New York State and that $138 million will go to programs to halt the recent spike in gun related violence.
Soares wrote that announcement was a “welcome surprise,” but he added that law enforcement agencies across the state have been sounding the alarm for some time, warning of a rise in crime, which they believe is due to bail reform.
“We have shooters that are shooting people with weapons who are released back on the street,” said Soares.
The DA points to lack of discretion for judges when it comes to determining if a defendant is a risk to public safety, and cases where defendants in violent crimes have been released after their arrests rather than being held in jail as their case moves forward in the courts.
“So this violence that we are seeing, this incredible surge in violence across the state, is not surprising,” Soares added.
When asked to comment on the op-ed piece, Governor Cuomo’s Communications Director sent this statement to NEWS10 ABC:
“These talking points were debunked when Trump was saying them and they are no more true now that Soares is recycling them. The fact is that shootings are up in nearly every city across the nation –even in states that haven’t reformed their cash bail system and its going to take an innovative and holistic approach to solve this emergency: That’s what the governor is implementing.”Richard Azzopardi/Gov. Cuomo’s Communications Director
“First of all, bail reform is not to blame. Nobody has any statistic that says that is true,” said Alice Green, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Justice in Albany.
NEWS10’s Anya Tucker asked: “What about this sort of catch-and-release that DA Soares is talking about?”
Alice: “You cannot predict criminal behavior. I don’t care who you are. And we know that people of color are more likely to be in contact with the police department.”
“We can walk and chew gum at the same time. People who are carrying guns when they are arrested, they need to be behind bars,” said Soares.
Renne Powell, President of the NAACP Troy Branch, told NEWS10:
“Coming out of the gate, we knew that there would be some adjustments that would need to take place.”
But Powell added that bail reform has become too much of a political back-and-forth, saying those who care about safety, “need to work to close the loopholes to make sure those who are a danger to the community do not have access to the community.”