Officials Say NYS’s Criminal Justice Reforms Could Put Citizens In Danger

By: Zachary Meseck

NEW YORK – According to New York State Senators James L. Seward and Fred Akshar, along with Chenango County’s District Attorney Michael Ferrarese, criminal justice reforms that come into effect on January 1, 2020 will hold criminals less accountable and put citizens in danger.

As part of New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo’s budget, prosecutors will only have 15 days after a charge is filed to present all of the evidence to the defense.

According to a statement from Cuomo’s office, this portion of the budget was passed to allowed defendants the opportunity to review evidence that is in the prosecution’s possession prior to pleading guilty to a crime.

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Officials said, prosecutors may take an additional 30 days – for a total of 45 days – to provide this information if the information is exceptionally lengthy or if they are not otherwise yet in the possession of the prosecution.

The bail portion of the reform eliminates cash bail for most misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses. Officials said once enacted, most people charged with misdemeanor and non-violent felonies will be automatically released.

When asked about the upcoming reforms, Chenango County District Attorney Michael Ferrarese, along with Senators Seward and Akshar were opposed to it, saying the reforms put criminals before victims.

“By passing this into law, the governor has put the citizens of New York in danger,” said Ferrarese. “The legislation, as it has been written and passed by the primarily Democratic senate and written by Governor Cuomo will have a detrimental impact on district attorney offices’ ability to effectively prosecute criminal conduct being committed in our communities.”

He said the law only provides for 15 days from the point of filing the accusatory instrument at local criminal court, for prosecutors to turn over discovery evidence.

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