Palumbo, Colleagues Urge Passage of Criminal Justice Amendments Protecting Communities from Cartel Operatives, Violent Criminals

Needed Chapter Amendments Would Address Bipartisan Public Safety Concerns
June 12, 2019

Assemblyman Anthony Palumbo (R,C,I,Ref-New Suffolk), Assemblyman Ed Ra (R,C,I-Franklin Square), Sen. Andrew Lanza (R-Staten Island) and Washington County District Attorney Tony Jordan are urging lawmakers on both sides of the aisle and in both houses of the Legislature to pass common-sense amendments to rectify serious public safety deficiencies in the bail reform measures enacted in this year’s state budget.

The officials held a press conference today in the Capitol. They’re responding to widespread, bipartisan concerns that judges can’t hold dangerous criminals, including top cartel lieutenants and extreme, violent offenders, on bail.

“As a former assistant district attorney with Suffolk County, I’ve looked into the eyes of crime victims who have had their lives torn apart by the most unspeakable crimes,” said Palumbo. “Our amendments would apply to Class A-Level felonies because we feel an obligation to protect innocent New Yorkers. Our proposed reforms will make our communities safer by restoring discretion to our judges. Under the bail reform law, as of January 1, judges must release individuals charged with virtually all non-violent felonies and other serious crimes, including but not limited to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance near school grounds, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the 1st degree, Manslaughter in the Second Degree and many other victim-sensitive crimes. We must amend this dangerous legislation and make our reasonable common-sense changes on behalf of our communities and law enforcement.”

“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 the legislation. If the Assembly Majority and the Assembly Minority 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,” said Ra.

“The problem with our criminal justice system isn’t that we’re too easy on the most hardened violent offenders and lethal cartel traffickers. Unleashing them back onto our streets after they’ve been arrested is senseless. If the Senate Majority went too far for Mayor de Blasio, they went too far. The good news is that there’s still time to fix this. Let’s get it done,” said Sen. Lanza.

“This is exactly why we prize judges who have sound judgement- we know that judicial discretion is absolutely critical to keeping our communities safe. The idea of letting a high-level narcotics trafficker with unlimited resources walk out of their arraignment is an insult to the meticulous, exhausting work prosecutors and law enforcement officials do to bring them into custody in the first place,” said Jordan.

Ra consulted with experts, including New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, when drafting his amendments.

“This is not about upending the original intent of the legislation. We’re focusing it. We’re improving it. Defendants credibly accused of Class A-Level felonies present a serious risk to our communities,” said Ra.