UNITED STATES NEWS

NY judges will get more power in setting bail, governor says

Apr 27, 2023, 6:59 PM

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Judges in New York will have more discretion to jail people awaiting trial for alleged crimes, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Thursday night, a policy change fiercely resisted by some of her fellow Democrats.

The governor held a state Capitol news conference to announce that a “conceptual agreement” had been reached on a $229 billion budget with the state Legislature, a deal that still needs to be approved by lawmakers. The budget includes policy proposals ranging from a minimum wage hike to allowing more charter schools in New York City.

But negotiations between the governor and legislative leaders ran well past an April 1 deadline, in large part because Hochul insisted on changes to the state’s bail laws.

The issue has been a flashpoint between liberal Democrats, who say requiring people to pay cash to get out of jail rigs the system against poor people, and elected officials who cast it as a public safety issue.

New York approved sweeping changes in 2019 aimed at keeping defendants who can’t afford bail from being disproportionately jailed. But those changes have been tweaked twice before amid criticism that judges were being deprived of a tool they could use to hold people likely to commit new crimes.

The new agreement would remove a requirement that judges choose the “least restrictive” means to ensure defendants return to court. Judges have complained the standard “tied their hands,” Hochul said.

“It gives judges discretion they need to hold violent criminals accountable, while still upholding our commitment to a justice system that is fair and accessible to all and also ensuring that poverty is never treated as a crime,” she said.

State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie confirmed the conceptual agreement in a statement, saying it addresses many priorities advocated by Democrats. He added that some issues were still under discussion.

Hochul’s latest push for bail changes came after her closer-than-expected election victory last November in the Democrat-dominated state. Republicans attacked their opponents as soft on crime, making particularly strong gains in New York City suburbs.

Some lawmakers said Hochul’s proposed changes would undercut bail reforms approved in 2019 and result in more New Yorkers in pretrial detention — especially people with low incomes and people of color.

Assembly member Latrice Walker, a Brooklyn Democrat, accused Hochul of the “wholesale dismantling of bail reform.”

Bail has become a point of contention between GOP and Democratic lawmakers in other states as well. Republican lawmakers in at least 14 states, including Georgia and Wisconsin, have pushed bills that would in part make it harder for defendants to get out of jail before trial.

Hochul announced the agreement after lawmakers went back to their districts for the rest of the week but said she and legislative leaders are on a path to conclude the budget process.

“A few hours ago we agreed that we’re at a point where the major decisions have been made,” she said.

United States News

Associated Press

Private US spacecraft enters orbit around the moon ahead of landing attempt

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A private U.S. lunar lander reached the moon and eased into a low orbit Wednesday, a day before it will attempt an even greater feat — landing on the gray, dusty surface. A smooth touchdown would put the U.S. back in business on the moon for the first time since […]

21 minutes ago

James Biden, brother of President Joe Biden, accompanied by Attorney Paul Fishman, left, arrives fo...

Associated Press

James Biden appears for GOP interview as FBI informant’s arrest casts new doubt on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — James Biden arrived for a private interview Wednesday on Capitol Hill as part of House Republicans’ impeachment inquiry into his brother, President Joe Biden. The interview with the younger Biden is the latest in a series that GOP lawmakers have conducted recently as they seek to rebuild momentum for an impeachment process […]

25 minutes ago

Nia Thomas stands in front of her Atlanta home on Feb. 14, 2024. Thomas was bailed out of jail by t...

Associated Press

Churches and nonprofits ensnared in Georgia push to restrict bail funds

ATLANTA (AP) — When she was behind bars in Georgia, Nia Thomas would use toothpaste to stick handwritten flyers to the wall and spread the word about community bail funds that could pay inmates’ bonds, no strings attached. “I was posting the phone numbers in everybody’s rooms, everybody’s dorms, every jail I went to,” Thomas […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Alice Paul Tapper to publish picture book inspired by medical misdiagnosis

NEW YORK (AP) — The new book from bestselling author Alice Paul Tapper, daughter of CNN anchor Jake Tapper, was inspired by a near-fatal health emergency. “Use Your Voice,” with illustrations by Fanny Liem, is a fictionalized take on Alice’s hospitalization in 2021 after she experienced intense stomach pain, chills and vomiting — what turned […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Stock market today: Wall Street dips lower as markets wait for Nvidia earrnings, Fed meeting minutes

Wall Street inched lower early Wednesday while markets waited for Nvidia’s quarterly earnings release, which could serve as a litmus test for the AI chip revolution. Futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.3% before the bell and futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.2%. Nvidia’s report, which will come out later in the […]

9 hours ago

FILE - An orca swims past a recreational boat sailing just offshore in the Salish Sea in the San Ju...

Associated Press

To keep whales safe, Coast Guard launches boat alert system in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Photographer Matt McDonald had lived on Puget Sound for years, but had never seen a whale, so he was elated when he spotted a giant marine mammal just off Seattle’s waterfront one evening. The excitement was short-lived. As McDonald tracked the whale in his camera’s viewfinder, a state ferry that dwarfed the […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

NY judges will get more power in setting bail, governor says