“New York has long stood as a prominent symbol of justice for this nation and we saw this on display once again yesterday when State Supreme Court Justice Maria Rosa issued a groundbreaking ruling making clear the constitutional infirmities of our State’s current monetary bail system. As the federal government does everything in its power to stand in the way of social progress, Americans are looking to New York for leadership and we cannot allow these types of inequities in our criminal justice system to undermine our progressive legacy any longer.
“Despite once being considered among the most progressive in the nation, New York’s antiquated bails laws have not been updated in decades. Even worse, they have essentially created a two-tiered system that has forced thousands of New Yorkers to face pre-trial detainment, for no reason other than being unable to afford bail. Freedom before trial was supposed to be the rule, not the exception, and it is time to follow this principle once again.
“This year, I have proposed a comprehensive package of reforms to overhaul New York’s criminal justice system, the centerpiece of which is a plan to eliminate monetary bail all together for those facing misdemeanor or nonviolent felony charges. While it is important to ensure that safeguards exist we must stop allowing New Yorkers, who have yet to be convicted of anything, to languish in jail simply for the crime of being poor.
“Along with reforms that ensure access to a speedy trial, improve the pre-trial discovery process, address asset forfeiture procedures and help individuals transition back into their communities from incarceration, this proposal is not only helping us build a stronger New York, but one that lives up to the very principles we were founded upon.”