DA says her office has 15 murder cases where the accused are 14, 15, 16, and 17 years old

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — District Attorney Sandra Doorley says her office has 15 murder cases where the accused are 14, 15, 16, and 17 years old

"We’re seeing a younger and younger array of adolescent offenders or young offenders brought through the court system," Doorley said.

But under criminal justice reform, Doorley says more of those cases are staying in family court and out of the reach of her office.

"Those should be addressed in ‘youth part’ and treated as adolescent offenders because often they are the most violent people on our streets today," she said.

Just this week, Rochester police arrested a handful of teenagers—14 to 17 years old—accused of being in a carjacked car.

One of the criminal justice changes proposed by the governor involves how the system deals with teenagers under 18.

In her op-ed piece in The Daily News, the governor also wants to give judges more authority in setting bail for repeat offenders accused of violent gun crimes.

Brean: "What is it that you want our viewers to think about when they think about this topic?"

Ravi Mangla, criminal justice reform advocate: "We need to be thinking about and talking about the real consequences and human consequences of rolling back what are civil rights protections."

Mangla is a criminal justice reform advocate. He said if anything should change, it’s the services people get after they get arrested.

"To make sure that when people are out on bail, they have the services they need to both show up to court and to be able to support themselves and their families," he said.

In a recent poll, two-thirds of New Yorkers said they’re concerned about their safety and the safety of their families.

Here are the basic proposed changes to bail reform from the governor:

  • Let police jail someone if they’re re-arrested while on pre-trial release.
  • Allow judges to set bail on all cases involving an illegal gun.
  • Allow judges to consider other factors beyond a defendant’s likelihood that he or she will return to court.

Doorley said the most pressing problem in her office is cases where people are charged with weapons possession.

"A lot of them used to be held on bail and now they’re released on their own recognizance, they’re given appearance tickets," she said. "Some of them aren’t coming back to court. And some of them are re-offending."

In the past 15 months in Rochester, there have been 401 shooting incidents and 481 people shot.

"Bail has created a two-tier justice system where some people can pay and walk free and other people cannot," Mangla said.

Mangla says less than 1% of people in New York State released under bail reform have been re-arrested on gun-related charges.

"So instead of focusing on things like child care, on education investments on violence prevention efforts, on things that can actually make a material and demonstrable difference in our community, we’re instead fixated on something that’s become a political football," he said.

The governor says part of her changes include more money for mental health care, stopping people from getting thrown back in jail because of a technical parole violation and more work to stop illegal guns from getting into New York.

The proposed changes are in the state budget and the vote on that is scheduled for next Friday.