Garbarino Calling For Criminal Justice Amendments To Help Communities Combat Drug Traffickers

June 12, 2019

Assemblyman Andrew Garbarino (R,C,I-Sayville) joined Assemblyman Ed Ra (R,C,I-Franklin Square) and other legislative colleagues to call for amendments to recent criminal justice reforms to give justices discretion to hold dangerous drug traffickers from pre-trial release. The recent bail reforms have now required mandatory release of those who committed drug trafficking Class A felonies.

“We must allow our judges to make wise and careful decisions during the arraignments of dangerous drug traffickers,” said Garbarino, who sits on the Assembly Committee on Codes. “These drug traffickers are bringing deadly drugs into our communities, creating significant problems with heroin and opioid addiction, and it is taking lives. Our judges should be able to hold these individuals who are profiting on others’ suffering.”

“With only a few days left in the legislative session, we need to act quickly and decisively,” said Ra. “This is about narrowing the scope of legislation. If Majority and Minority will work together, criminal justice reform and public safety don’t have to be mutually exclusive. It’s one thing to jam a bill through the Legislature in the middle of the night. It’s another thing to get it right. New Yorkers who want to feel safe in their homes and safe in their communities need us to fix this.”

Their proposed legislation would expand on which types of offenses a judge may have discretion over a pre-trial release instead of a mandatory release on the following offenses:

  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree (A-II felony);
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree (A-I felony);
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree (A-II felony); and
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree (A-I felony).

The recent bail reforms currently give judges discretion over pretrial release for those being arraigned for the crime of “operating as a major drug trafficker;” however, this only applies to roughly 35 cases a year, according to the Division of Criminal Justice Services. In New York city, 1,000 defendants have been charged with A-I felonies in relation to drug sales. This new legislation would allow judges to make decisions on whether to allow these drug traffickers back on the street.