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Hochul signs third round of bail reform rollbacks

Governor Hochul announces FY 2024 budget historic investments and initiatives to drive down gun violence, improve the criminal justice system, and create a safer New York State.
Don Pollard
/
Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Hochul announces FY 2024 budget historic investments and initiatives to drive down gun violence, improve the criminal justice system, and create a safer New York state.

At an event with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and local district attorneys, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed spending bills that further rolled back bail reforms.

Hochul said removing the "least restrictive" provision of the 2019 bail reform law was necessary to “hold violent criminals accountable.”

The provision had required judges to impose the “least restrictive means” to ensure that defendants would return to court to face trial. Going forward, judges only need to “consider the kind and degree of control or restriction necessary to reasonably assure” defendants return.

Even though Hochul and others say the change is aimed at violent offenders, the new standard applies to all defendants.

Tony Jordan, president of the New York District Attorneys Association, said the new law has guideposts for judges.

“Guideposts, that will guide them to make the right decision to hold people that need to be held, but provide assistance to those that need assistance,” Jordan said.

Criminal defense advocates criticized the changes made in the budget process as a secretive and political “hostage situation.”

Lawmakers sympathetic to criminal justice reform pointed out that courts will be producing data more frequently about bail.

Charles is senior reporter focusing on special projects. He has won numerous awards including an IRE award, three SPJ Public Service Awards, and a National Murrow. He was also a finalist for the Livingston Award for Young Journalists and Third Coast Director’s Choice Award.