Friend Unveils Legislation to Repeal Bail Reform Failure

January 15, 2020

Assemblyman Chris Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) and his colleagues today at a press conference unveiled legislation, A.8855, to repeal the bail and pre-trial reform laws which were passed in a partisan manner by Assembly and Senate Majority last year. Joining them were family members of crime victims and law enforcement as they asked for sanity to be brought back in the pre-trail process that would protect victims and the public. Since the law has been in effect, individuals arrested for serious crimes such as vehicular manslaughter due to DWI, assault fueled by bigotry, and domestic violence have been released according to the law, only to be arrested again for new crimes soon after.

“Families and communities are understandably concerned by this new reckless law which sets free dangerous individuals who now know there are no immediate consequences for their actions,” said Friend. “We cannot wait one moment longer to correct this glaring error made by Democrats when they passed their twisted sense of reform. People’s lives are actually at risk. We must repeal this dangerous law now.”

Some have pointed to the New Jersey bail reform as a success story and that New York will follow suit; however, the neighboring state has a far different policy in place. New Jersey took a full three years to roll out their plan; was supported by additional funding for law enforcement, district attorneys’ offices and other agencies; and New Jersey residents voted to ensure judges had discretion over pre-trial detention. This is in stark contrast to New York, which passed a law that was forced to be implemented in eight months, with no additional funding to support those who have to administer it, all while ensuring judges were stripped of the critical discretion that kept dangerous individuals off the street until their trial. Further aggravating the matter is that the New York State Justice Taskforce recommended that judges retain discretion over whether to consider a defendant’s threat to the public or an individual. This recommendation was ignored.

In attendance were two family members of victims who bravely shared the tragic stories their families have been forced to endure because of the law:

  • Jennifer Payne is the mother of Sarah Tombs, who was shot and killed in April 2019 by her live-in boyfriend. The boyfriend who killed Tombs was released last week; and
  • Sheila Harris is the aunt of Rosie Osai, who was struck and killed on December 24 by an unlicensed, hit-and-run driver. The individual was released without bail.

Editor’s Note: Footage of the press conference and the assemblyman’s comments can be downloaded at the following link: