WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - You’d think defense attorneys would be thrilled by Governor Cuomo’s criminal justice reforms, but some aren’t so sure yet.
Lewis County attorney Michael Young says the changes, which include eliminating cash bail and limiting evidence turnover to a 15 day window, weren’t thought out.
“I think the law was passed too quickly and they didn’t take into account everything,” said Young.
He says having defendants out of jail by eliminating bail is a good thing because it means they can work on their case. Young also says it is nice to have evidence handed over by prosecutors so quickly. However:
“It has made it more time consuming for everyone. Local justices now have to worry about arraignments more than once a month. Defense attorneys are required to be at all arraignments so it means we’re out more often now,” said Young.
Young says he understands how the reforms have made life difficult for law enforcement, too. Particularly, the 15 day provision on turning in all evidence.
At the Lewis County Jail, administrators and investigators say that’s an unrealistic expectation.
“I don’t see how that’s going to be possible. The results are taking months right now,” said Lt. Timothy Thayer, Lewis County Jail Administrator.
“A quick response from the lab might be three months. I’ve seen it take as long as nine months,” said Edward Amelio, Lewis County Criminal Investigator.
All three agree the laws need to be reworked and professionals need to be consulted this time.