Gov. Hochul says bail reform critics are pushing a ‘political slogan’

Gov. Hochul says bail reform critics are pushing a ‘political slogan’

At his information convention on Wednesday, Adams urged lawmakers and the various arms of the felony justice system to work collectively and to concentrate on the small group of people that commit a giant variety of crimes.

“Our criminal justice system is insane,” Adams mentioned. “It’s harmful, it’s dangerous, and it is destroying the material of our metropolis.”

On Thursday, Hochul pleaded for patience.

The governor has repeatedly suggested that prosecutors and judges aren’t using all the levers the current law allows them to hold defendants on bail, including if, for example, they are accused of committing repeat crimes involving theft or harm to a person or property. She called for more time to analyze a series of newly implemented tweaks to the bail laws, which, among other things, have made it easier for judges to hold someone on bail for repeated offenses.

Those tweaks, which Hochul shepherded through the Legislature in April with support from Adams, only took effect in May. And Hochul said the state needs time to assess whether they are working and, if not, where the breakdown is occurring.

“It takes time to develop,” Hochul said. “It also takes time to change a culture that has been the status quo for a long time, where judges have not been exercising the broad discretion that they have always had, but even more so now with the changes we pushed hard for and achieved.”

The mayor, meanwhile, wants legislators to allow judges to consider whether they think someone poses a danger to the community when deciding if they should set bail. He said he’s also shared other recommendations with the governor, though he didn’t go into further specifics.

Hochul said she spoke to Adams Wednesday night after his news conference.

“I said, ‘let’s keep focusing on what we can do together,’” Hochul said. “Do you need more resources from the state? Do you need me to help deploy more state police officers in our subways, walking around Times Square? You tell me what you need and I’ll be there.”

The mayor said multiple times Wednesday that he’s not trying to attack what he called “righteous” reforms. But he said a message must be sent to the small number of people who are taking advantage of those reforms to repeatedly commit crimes. He also wants more attention paid to the “everyday New Yorkers” who are directly affected when someone with an open charge is rearrested.

“All we hear is, how do we ensure those who commit crimes get justice?” he said. “How do we ensure those who are the victims of crime get justice? Can we have that conversation?”

Adams’ push for legislative change hasn’t been received well by his fellow Democrats in Albany.

The mayor indicated that he had shared his team’s statistics on recidivism with Carl Heastie, the Bronx Democrat who is speaker of the State Assembly. But Heastie disputed that account on Twitter.

“I’m scratching my head regarding the mayor’s recollections of conversations we’ve had. To date, we’ve received no data from the mayor or his team,” Heastie wrote. “My most recent exchange with him was about my dismay that he claims to have data that vastly differs from what [the state agencies] report.”

New York Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, a Yonkers Democrat, released a statement with a similarly cold reply to the mayor, indicating she wasn’t interested in making further changes to the 2019 bail reform law that has been altered twice.

“All the pieces the mayor cited is one thing that now we have addressed, particularly his considerations concerning repeat offenders and gun offenses,” she mentioned.

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