Albany, NY – Republicans in the New York state senate are calling on their fellow lawmakers to help repeal flawed, newly-enacted bail reform laws.
A new law that eliminated cash bail for many violent crimes went into effect on January 1 in New York.
Even Democrats like 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.
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.
On Thursday, the senator announced he was proposing a bill that would repeal the new law, WHAM reported.
"I think people are getting scared, people are feeling unsafe and more unsafe as each day goes by," Flanagan said. "It's public safety and the well-being of the people we represent. We're going to hammer this every single day. We're going to make the point this is what the public cares about."
He made the announcement surrounded by other Republican lawmakers, but a number of Democrats have been vocal about the problems too.
Even New York Governor Andrew Cuomo who made bail reform his goal in 2019 has had to concede that some of the new laws don’t work as written, WHAM reported.
On Thursday, Flanagan proposed an amendment before the state senate that would have “repealed these ill-conceived changes and put a stop to the get-out-of-jail-free card giveaway,” the senator said in a post on his official Facebook page.
“This could have been done the right way last year,” he said.
Flanagan said that that law enforcement and district attorneys warned lawmakers last year that the proposed law doing away with cash bail be an “unmitigated disaster.”
The senator urged state senate Democrats to stop talking about voting reform and worry about repealing the bail reform laws.
“The public is less safe today as a result of the laws that were enacted last year. This is germane. This is important to the people we represent. And this should be the number one priority of the New York state senate today,” Flanagan argued emotionally.
All of the state senate Democrats voted against Flanagan’s measure to repeal the new bail reform law, according to the senator’s website.