FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 23, 2020
CONTACT: Peter Giunta, 347.621.8031
Staten Island, New York – Today, Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R-South Shore) announced his intention to introduce a legislative package designed to address many of the concerns that New Yorkers have had with parts of the criminal justice reforms passed last year by the New York State Legislature. Reilly is a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department and his proposals on the matter are currently some of the most considerate being offered in the state.
Among his proposals include the implementation of judicial discretion, the reinstatement of remandment for some felony and misdemeanor crimes, changes the to the pre-trial and discovery periods, as well as changes to the issuance of Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs) and warrants for failure to appear. These proposals would not completely undo the reforms passed last year, but merely amend them with a heightened focus on public safety, as well as victim and witness safety.
“As a former law enforcement officer I completely understand that there needed to be changes to our criminal justice system, and I do believe that the intentions of all those who advocated for those reforms were good; however, public safety should never take a back seat just to satisfy a political agenda,” said Reilly. “What I am proposing aims to restore public safety but also addresses one of the criminal justice reform movement’s core goals by ensuring a speedy trial for all those who pass through the system.”
Reilly, just several weeks ago, called on Governor Andrew Cuomo to step up and “take bold action” by issuing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend the bail reform provision of the criminal justice reforms. The New York State Constitution grants Governor Cuomo the power to issue an Executive Order to temporarily suspend provisions of law by declaring a “state of disaster emergency.”
“What baffles me is that the Governor has taken this sort of action before,” said Reilly. “In 2018 he issued an Executive Order to suspend the sunset provision of the speed camera law, which the legislature had failed to extend before adjourning for the summer. He believed that without those speed cameras the public’s safety would be at risk. I just have to wonder, does he not believe the public’s safety is at risk because of bail reform and the carelessness of some of my colleagues in the legislature?”
While Reilly plans to move ahead with introducing his legislative package, he still hopes Governor Cuomo will issue an Executive Order to buy some extra time so the legislature can enact the appropriate amendments.
In greater detail, Reilly’s proposals would:
• Implement judicial discretion by permitting judges to weigh an individual’s prior record, past failure to appear in court, offenses involving the use or threatened use of physical force, and the individual’s propensity towards violence in their consideration of pre-trial confinement, with the aforementioned dangerousness determination verbally articulated and written into the court record.
• Reinstate pre-trial detention for certain felonies based upon judicial discretion – for up to 180 days – and certain misdemeanors – for up to 90 days; however, prosecutors would be granted the ability to request an additional period of pre-trial detention if appropriate.
• Amend the pre-trial discovery time to 45 days from the initial arraignment of the offense, as well as the discovery requirement for DATs to 45 days from the initial return date for the appearance.
• Allow prosecutors the ability to file motions with the court for extensions and to limit discovery items that may cause undue threat to public safety by endangering the victim or witness.
• Allow judges to issue warrants immediately for individuals who fail to appear for all felonies and misdemeanors designated as a hate crime.
• Prohibit DATs from being issued to those who already have a pending case for the same offense within the past six months, or a conviction of an offense in the past two years. Additionally, anyone charged with a class-e felony in relation to the possession of an illegal firearm (such as a 3D firearm) would not be eligible for a DAT.