New York, NY – As Democrat New York State lawmakers are poised to propose a whole slew of additional crime reform bills in the new session, some New York Democrats are pushing back after seeing the initial disastrous results of eliminating cash bail.
Even New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was an outspoken supporter of doing away with cash bail in an effort to keep more non-violent offenders out of jail, had to concede that the initiative hadn’t gotten off to the best start, Spectrum News reported.
"There is a chance now for the legislature to get it right," de Blasio told Jewish leaders in Brooklyn on Thursday. “They did some very good reforms, but there are also things that need to be done, particularly empowering judges to determine if someone poses a threat to the surrounding community."
New York’s Jewish community called on de Blasio to declare a state of emergency after multiple anti-Semitic attacks occurred in New York and in New Jersey in December, but so far, the mayor has refused, Spectrum News reported.
However, he promised more New York Police Department presence in Jewish neighborhoods in the city.
Opponents of bail reform that eliminates cash bail have pointed to 30-year-old Tiffany Harris as the most egregious example of the new system’s failure, The New York Times reported.
Harris was arrested three times in a span of five days before a judge kept her in custody on Jan. 1 to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the New York Post reported.
Police said Harris slapped three Orthodox Jewish women on a street corner in Crown Heights on Dec. 27 while yelling “F--k you, Jews!”
She was released without bail the next day, as judges began implementing the new criminal-friendly bail reform laws ahead of their actual Jan. 1 launch, the New York Post reported.
Harris was arrested less than 24 hours later after she slugged a woman in the face on Eastern Parkway in Prospect Heights.
The victim was badly injured but her attacker was released the next day, yet again, the New York Post reported.
When Harris was set free without bail for the second time in four days, she was ordered to meet with a social worker.
But she was arrested on New Year’s Eve after the court-mandated meeting went badly.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that Harris pinched the social worker during their sit-down meeting, the New York Post reported.
“This is not what justice looks like,” New York State Senate Minority Leader John J. Flanagan told The New York Times.
Flanagan said he was already campaigning on a rollback of the new law.
In another example of a recent hate crime, a machete-wielding man attacked a rabbi in his home in upstate New York during Hanukkah, Spectrum News reported.
Not all of bail reform’s critics are Republicans.
In fact, many are incumbent Democrats who have been hammered by law enforcement groups for being soft on crime, The New York Times reported.
Democratic State Senator Todd Kaminsky has proposed a bill to amend the law and make it possible to set cash bail for more offenses.
Kaminsky told The New York Times that he understood “the unfairness of a cash bail system that favors wealthier offenders.”
However, he pointed out that some of the crimes eligible for release without bail now “are as serious, if not more serious, as felonies under cash bail reform that remain part of the criminal justice system.”
Prosecutors and police have expressed concern that some of allegedly non-violent offenders who are being released without bail will re-offend and try to intimidate witnesses, The New York Times reported.
“Someone who deals in drugs is not someone who, once arrested, will just decide to give it up and find legal employment,” Chautauqua County District Attorney Patrick Swanson said. “They will continue to sell drugs.”