At Q&A, supporters make case for bail reform as statewide debate continues

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Supporters of New York’s new bail reform shared their side of one of the state’s most talked-about issues this year.

“Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens were being held in custody on minor charges, simply because they were too poor to post bail, and that was leading to real inequities in our system of justice,” argued Tim Donaher, Monroe County’s public defender.

The state’s reform, which took effect this January 1, eliminated bail and detention for a wide range of charges.

Members of the New York Civil Liberties Union hosted the discussion.

“This, tonight, really helped to get me to understand that, yes, some of the scary things that are being said out there are not true,” said Amanda Santacroce, who attended the event.

Critics of bail reform believe their side of the story is true, and cite cases where someone released from jail was arrested again. In Rochester tonight, supporters argued that a suspect with enough money could simply pay bail and end up back in handcuffs. Bail reform advocates argued to level the playing field for economically-disadvantaged defendants.

GOP lawmakers in Albany have put forth a bill which aims to roll back the reform.

Governor Cuomo has said the “still a work in progress, and there are other changes that have to be made.”

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