Public Defender: New State Justice Reforms Are Step In Right Direction But Need Revision
Published: January 14th, 2020
By: Zachary Meseck

Public defender: New state justice reforms are step in right direction but need revision (Submitted Photo)

CHENANGO COUNTY – In light of New York State’s recently enacted justice reforms, Chenango County First Assistant Public Defender Zachary Wentworth discussed some of the changes and the need for reform.

Wentworth said defense attorneys have been pushing lawmakers for criminal justice reforms for years, and have been denied until recently.

“The defense bar has been pushing for change for more than eight years, it’s not like these were thought up overnight,” said Wentworth. “I think the severity of the changes is the product of one side saying we need to make changes, the other side saying no, and then when they’re able to make the changes they pass everything they can.”

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“Now I think we need to go back and find the things we can change that are more appropriate for moving forward like giving judges discretion in some instances and revisiting the discovery timeline.”

He said, generally the criminal justice reforms can be split into two different sections – bail and discovery reforms.

“The purpose of bail is to get people to court; if people are convicted of the crimes they are charged with, they’re likely going to go to jail,” Wentworth added. “Then they’ll serve the time that’s required of them.”

He said another idea behind bail reform is that bail at times can affect poor individuals a lot more than it can affect people that have well-paying jobs.


The Evening Sun

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