The criminal justice system in New York State is in dire need of a complete overhaul. When the system is advocating for the rights of criminals and barely mentioning a word about the victims, there is a serious problem.
Many of the laws coddling criminals came from disgraced ex-Governor Andrew Cuomo. For starters, he pounded his chest bragging about his bail reform laws. He granted amnesty to cop killers and many other dangerous criminals. His administration was responsible for paroling a record number of convicts out of prison. Mostly everyone knew he was soft on crime, so long as it did not involve his neighborhood or family.
Residents are leaving New York in droves. Cuomo blamed it on the weather. If anything, the winters have produced less snow during the last two decades than compared to the 1990s and 1980s. This was a frivolous statement to deflect the blame away from himself. Residents are fleeing New York because of the high taxes and high crime. After Cuomo became so badly disgraced that he finally resigned, Kathy Hochul filled his spot. She was left with a big mess to clean up.
Both sides of the political aisle agree that Cuomo’s bail reform laws are dysfunctional. The problem is so dire that some Republicans are proposing repairs as their main campaign platforms. Even the Democrats want it changed. NYS Senator James Skoufis, a Democrat, recently championed some fixes to the bail reform laws. We applaud him for taking this step. However, much more work still needs to be done.
Let’s look at a few local examples of the failed bail reform laws:
- Back in March, we reported on a wrong-way driver in the Town of Newburgh. State Police arrested her because she was allegedly driving drunk, possessed heroin, had no vehicle insurance, and had switched license plates. When placed in the back of the police car, she attempted to kick out the door and window. Then she threatened to go to the Trooper Barracks and kill the police. While being processed in the police station, she threatened to “blow the troopers’ brains out.” She allegedly said she could kill the police because of the bail reform laws. Troopers were not allowed to send her to jail. She was given a ticket and sent home.
- On Memorial Day weekend, we reported that police arrested a City of Newburgh man who was driving drunk and then lied about his identity. The suspect even produced a falsified vehicle registration and a falsified OSHA card. Prior to the bail reform era, police would bring the perp to local jail, book him, and a judge would set his bail amount. However, the Troopers issued the man tickets and let him go.
The Eighth Amendment states that excessive bail should not be required. The primary purpose of bail is to keep suspects detained if they are a flight risk. We agree that suspects should not be held on bail for minor crimes if they are not flight risks. In the two examples above, we believe both defendants should have been remanded on bail. In the first example, the woman could skip court because of the seriousness of the charges. In the second example, since the man already allegedly changed his identity once, he could easily disappear and assume yet another name.
The flawed criminal justice system is not just limited to bail reform. The courts are handing down very lenient sentences, most likely due to guidelines judges are required to follow. On Wednesday, we reported that a woman locked a 7 year-old boy in a room while he slowly starved. He clearly suffered quite a prolonged, miserable death. The woman’s boyfriend, who is the boy’s father, allegedly admitted to knowing about it and not doing anything. The woman is heading to prison for up to 15 years. However, she will likely be released in 10 years or less. The father is facing up to four years in prison. He’ll likely serve one or two years. Not only is this a disgrace, it is also an injustice to the little boy. There are many, many other cases like this in the news where ruthless criminals are getting slaps on the wrist.
Criminals take note of the leniency and it encourages them. Come to New York where bail is free and the prison sentences are 50% off (in comparison to some other states).
When will all the crime victims start being treated this nicely?
With the primary and general elections just around the corner, let’s elect candidates who won’t encourage crime.