Caribbean Life, March 24-30, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul. Kevin P. Coughlin
Hochul’s purported bail reform
memo draws praise, criticism
By Ethan Stark-Miller
Gov. Kathy Hochul wouldn’t confirm or
deny Thursday two leaked stories – one in the
New York Post and the other in Newsday –
that she issued a 10-point memo that would
modify and roll back several pieces of a bail
reform package the state legislature passed
According to these press accounts, Hochul
is planning on negotiating to have it included
in this year’s state budget, which must be
passed by an April 1 deadline.
However, Hochul’s Press Secretary Hazel
Crampton-Hays refused to put forth the said
memo and wouldn’t indicate to PoliticsNY
which way the governor is leaning.
“As the governor has said consistently since
becoming governor, she does not negotiate in
public,” Crampton-Hays said in a statement.
“We look forward to continuing to work with
the legislature to deliver a budget that serves
If the governor is indeed going to release
this plan, she’ll likely have a fight ahead of
her with state Senate Majority Leader Andrea
Stuart Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl
Heastie, both of whom have stood staunchly
behind the bail reforms passed in 2019.
State Senate Majority Whip Kevin Parker
(D-Brooklyn) directly refuted the Hochul
Administration assertion and said Hochul is
absolutely negotiating in the press and not
with the state legislature.
“They Hochul Administration have decided
that they want to negotiate this through
the press more than they want to negotiate
it through the legislature,” Parker said. “It’s a
general position of the state legislature, particularly
the State Senate, that the problems
that we’re seeing in our communities for
crime and the problems we’re seeing around
mental health is not caused by bail reform.
And so they’re trying to force a square peg
into a round hole with a solution that not only
is ill conceived but wouldn’t work anyhow.”
Mayor Eric Adams, who’s been calling on
the governor to make changes to the bail
reforms and “Raise the Age since taking office
in January, quickly applauded news of her
“The governor’s proposal includes significant
steps, which I have advocated for, that
would make New York safer, while not undoing
important reforms,” the mayor said in a
statement. “It is a big step forward that these
proposals are being discussed at the highest
level in Albany, and I am grateful to the governor
and the legislature for their partnership.”
Adams has repeatedly blamed the city’s
current crime wave – the worst one in decades
– on the bail reforms. That’s why he’s been
proposing the imposition of a “dangerousness
standard” that would make it easier for judges
to hold people pre-trial if they’re deemed too
dangerous to release. And tweaking “Raise
the Age” – a 2017 statute that changed the
age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 –
to allow 16 and 17 year-olds caught with serious
felonies to be tried in adult court.
As reported, the governor’s plan would
make both of these changes. It would increase
the number of bail eligible crimes to include
certain gun, hate crime and subway offenses
that currently only warrant a desk appearance.
It would also allow judges to set bail
based on factors like people’s criminal histories,
their past use or possession of a firearm
or if they’re a repeat offender.
Additionally, the plan would make it easier
to prosecute gun trafficking by lowering the
threshold of the amount of guns one has to
possess to be charged – bringing it down from
10 to three guns for a class B felony and five to
two guns for a class C.
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