Governor Cuomo Signs Buchwald Bill Saving Money on Unnecessary Pre-Sentencing Reports

August 22, 2017

Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed Assemblyman David Buchwald’s (D-Westchester County) legislation to allow pre-sentence reports to be waived in cases where all parties agree that the defendant should be granted a conditional discharge. Under current criminal procedural law, probation departments must conduct a pre-sentence investigation and prepare a written report on the history of the defendant, even when there is little practical need for the effort.

Assemblyman Buchwald’s bill A.7442 allows the pre-sentence report to be waived by the mutual consent of the parties and the court where a sentence of conditional discharge has been agreed to.

“Requiring probation departments to conduct an investigation and prepare a pre-sentence report for a defendant being granted a conditional discharge needlessly wastes public resources,” said Assemblyman Buchwald. “Not only will ending the practice save taxpayers money, it also allows the criminal justice system to better focus on more dangerous criminals.”

“Where there is no need for probationary oversight, the law should permit the affected parties to waive a pre-sentencing investigation and written report. This is an unnecessary action currently being undertaken and paid for by the taxpayers. NYSAC supported this legislation and we are pleased the Governor signed this bill,” said Stephen J. Acquario, Executive Director, NYS Association of Counties.

The legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Buchwald and signed by Governor Cuomo is one in a series of measures requested by the Chief Administrative Judge of the Courts of New York State, and was recommended by his Advisory Committee on Criminal Practice. The legislation takes effect immediately.