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Bail Reform: NYPD Counterterror Chief Slams New York's Plan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The NYPD's Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counter-terrorism says New York is bound for trouble if the new bail reform plan goes into effect next year.

In 2020, new criminal justice reform will eliminate cash bail in New York. It calls for people arrested on low-level misdemeanors or nonviolent felonies to be released without bail, until trial.

Speaking on the Cats Roundtable Radio Show Sunday morning, John Miller said under the new rules, 99 percent of those arrested will be released after arraignment. He says the plan is misguided.

"Everybody who gets arrested for anything except for maybe murder and attempted murder is going to be released without having to pay any bail, right at arraignment," Miller said.

He criticized the reform for eliminating incentive for criminals to stop breaking the law.

"Before they enacted this law, 89%, 89% of people were being released at arraignment without having to pay bail anyway," Miller said. "Now that's going to go to probably 99%, which is going to be a problem because criminals are going to know at the time they're arrested 'I'm not really risking going to jail, I'm not really risking anything except going through the system and coming out at the other end.'"

NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan back Miller's sentiment.

"You're talking about people who can sell pounds of cocaine and walk out with no bail. Someone burglarizes your house and walks out with no bail," Monahan said. "We're going to be facing some major issues come Jan. 1 if this doesn't get changed."

According to a study by the Data Collaborative for Justice, had the 2020 bail reforms been in place last year, about 20,000 more defendants would have been released without bail compared to the number actually released.

The NYPD and the police union both say the no bail law will make it much more difficult to deter crime.

New Jersey eliminated cash bail in 2017. There, 26.9% of defendants released without bail before trial were charged with a new crime, just slightly more than the 24.2% in 2014.

New Jersey judges can decide to keep someone in jail, based on their risk to the public.

Former prosecutor Lucy Lang says that isn't the case with New York's reforms.

"The only factor that a judge can consider is someone's likelihood of returning to court. And of course, that's only permissible in particular categories of crime," Lang told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez. "I think it's simply too soon to know whether or not that's going to have any discernible effect on public safety."

Experts say the only thing they can be certain of is that bail reform will lower the number of people in jail.

Miller also criticized the reform's change to the trial discovery process. Three weeks after an arrest, prosecutors would be required to hand over all evidence, including victim and witness information, which Miller believes would put them at risk.


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