Gov. Hochul looking to revisit state’s bail reform laws

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ALBANY, N.Y. – Gov. Kathy Hochul says she wants to revise the state’s bail reform laws again.

The governor says the law is confusing the judges. On the one hand, it says to consider certain factors and set bail or send people to jail. On the other hand, it tells them to impose the least restrictive means to make sure the defendant comes back to court. 

So the governor’s proposal doesn’t throw out bail reform. But it doesn’t leave the status quo either. 

She wants a deal that lets judges consider factors for serious offenders and at the same time, leave the law where it is for low-level offenses. 

“What they tell us is, ‘What are we supposed to do? We have standards we’re supposed to look at. Was there a gun involved? Is this, you know, a repeat crime? There’s a list of criteria we’re supposed to look at on this side of the ledger.’ Over here, it says, ‘But you have to use the least restrictive means to ensure they return to court.’ I’m not sure how that’s resolved easily. And I want judges to be held accountable for their decisions because I don’t know what standard they’re applying here. And so this is part of fixing one area that I think is going to be, I think it’s important to get that clarity for the judges,” Hochul said.

The top Republican in the state senate said, “There is no specific plan to fix the state’s disastrous bail laws.”

Last year, the governor held up the budget for two weeks over bail changes. She wouldn’t say if that’s in her playbook this year.