North Country reps weigh in on bail reform law

North Country reps weigh in on bail reform law

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - On January 1st, a new bail reform law took effect in New York to eliminate cash bail for those charged with misdemeanors and non-violent crimes.

The law allows some suspects to go free until their time in court is due.

It also requires prosecutors and attorneys to turn over evidence to the defendant 15 days after an arraignment.

“This is a terrible, terrible bill,” said Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush, who serves the 117th District.

Blankenbush is among a number of state leaders who are against the law.

Last Thursday, the Senate Minority proposed an amendment to repeal it. But, that proposition was shut down.

State senator Joseph Griffo voted in favor of the repeal.

'It's not working,” said Griffo. “We believe it's important because these issues as they stand right now could jeopardize public safety of the people we represent.”

Griffo adds those in favor of getting rid of or changing the law are listening to those who work in public service. Griffo says that includes law enforcement, judges and district attorneys who oppose the law.

“We brought it up in debate last year. The changes to discovery law essentially are giving more rights to the criminals than they are to a victim of a crime. That's not the purpose of our criminal justice system,” said Assemblyman Mark Walczyk, who serves the 116th District.

Similarly to Blankenbush and Griffo, Walczyk says there should still be a repeal to the bill.

He created an online petition to gain support.

“I don't think it's just possible. I think it's critical. I think we need to send a strong message to Albany to let them know that we are fed up and we're not going to take it. We need to repeal the bail reform that they've put in place,” said Walczyk.

Although there is a call to action from state leaders, it’s yet to be determined what, if any, changes will be made in the coming days.

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