Friend Sponsoring Legislation to Repeal Dangerous So-Called Criminal Justice Reforms

November 26, 2019

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) is joining several of his colleagues in introducing legislation to repeal the Senate and Assembly majorities’ disastrous criminal justice reform laws which have essentially stripped judges of their discretion to hold dangerous criminals in pre-trial detention by requiring cash bail.

“These so-called criminal justice reforms don’t remove jail just for those who commit petty offenses but also for those who have committed heinous crimes,” said Friend. “Those caught with child porn, abusing animals, committing aggravated vehicular manslaughter, aggravated harassment and even making terrorist threats will no longer be subject to pre-trial detention or cash bail because of this foolhardy law. The safety of my constituents and our communities throughout New York come first.”

The negative impacts of the new law are coming to light, for instance low-level drug dealers will be free to continue peddling drugs after being issued a ticket, limiting their access to drug addiction treatment. Several years back, the state made an effort to provide drug treatment at no cost to the individuals incarcerated for drug offenses, taking advantage of the time that they would be away from the negative influences of people keeping them in the cycle of drug addiction.

Under the new law, a home robbery victim could be re-victimized should the criminal be caught and the case goes to trial. A defendant may move for a court order to have access to the crime scene and require that the conditions of the scene be unchanged until they had their opportunity to inspect the premises. The crime scene is a victim’s home, which has already been violated once, and the so-called criminal justice reforms allow it and the victim to be violated again. Additionally, witnesses may have their names, addresses and other personal information released to defendants, allowing for witness intimidation or increased domestic violence and abuse.

Friend also raised concerns that enforcement of traffic violations will suffer. Chemung County issues over 17,000 tickets a year. This would require 48 instances to be processed every day to comply with the new law. This entails gathering, processing and certifying all police vehicles and police body camera footage, radar equipment testing and certification, and all paper work generated by the police officer. All the video footage has to be viewed to be sure sensitive, non-relevant information was not caught like passwords or building entrance pins.

Similarly, Tioga County issues over 13,000 traffic tickets a year. Due to the fewer tickets issued, local and state fees will also decrease. The new bill is an unfunded, or at the very least underfunded, mandate.

Staring January 1, 2020, individuals arraigned for the following crimes will not be able to be held in jail before their trial, or be required to give cash bail:

  • Burglary in the second degree (residential burglary)
  • Burglary in the third degree
  • Robbery in the second degree (aided by another person)
  • Robbery in the third degree
  • Manslaughter in the second degree
  • Criminally negligent homicide
  • Aggravated vehicular homicide
  • Vehicular manslaughter in the first and second degrees
  • Assault in the third degree
  • Aggravated vehicular assault
  • Aggravated assault upon a person less than eleven years old
  • Vehicular assault in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal possession of a weapon on school grounds
  • Criminal possession of a firearm
  • Criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree
  • Criminal sale of a firearm to a minor
  • Criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first and second degrees
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds
  • Use of a child to commit a controlled substance offense
  • Criminal sale of a controlled substance to a child
  • Patronizing a person for prostitution in a school zone
  • Promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Possessing an obscene sexual performance by a child
  • Promoting a sexual performance by a child
  • Failure to register as a sex offender
  • Bribery in the first degree
  • Bribe giving for public office
  • Bribe receiving in the first degree
  • Arson in the third and fourth degrees
  • Grand larceny in the first, second, third, and fourth degrees
  • Aggravated cruelty to animals
  • Overdriving, torturing and injuring animals
  • Failure to provide proper sustenance to animals
  • Animal fighting
  • Unlawful imprisonment in the first degree
  • Coercion in the first degree
  • Criminal solicitation in the first degree
  • Criminal facilitation in the first degree
  • Money laundering in support of terrorism in the third and fourth degrees
  • Making a terroristic threat
  • Obstructing governmental administration in the first and second degree
  • Obstructing governmental administration by means of a self-defense spray device
  • Promoting prison contraband in the first and second degrees
  • Resisting arrest
  • Hindering prosecution
  • Tampering with a juror
  • Tampering with physical evidence
  • Aggravated harassment in the first degree
  • Directing a laser at an aircraft in the first degree
  • Enterprise corruption
  • Money laundering in the first degree