ALBANY — Gov. Hochul wants to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to amending New York’s bail laws.
The governor publicly split from Mayor Adams on Wednesday when pressed about the state’s recently reformed bail laws and whether she supports granting judges more discretion to consider “dangerousness” when detaining someone awaiting trial.
“I am very data-driven. I will absolutely stand behind the fundamental premise of why we needed bail reform in the first place,” Hochul said prior to meeting with representatives from several states to talk about gun violence. “I’ve also said if reforms are needed, based on data that is still being gathered, I’m willing to have those conversations.”
Video of Adams, who joined the governor remotely during a pre-meeting press conference, faded out as Hochul accused opponents and Republicans of “trying to politicize” the issue.
Still, the governor downplayed any differences between her and Adams’ approach and said she remains committed to curtailing crime by working with the mayor and partners in law enforcement as well as the Legislature.
“I’m looking for the data that shows me that bail reform is the reason that somehow crime is going up,” she said. “I’m focused on what I have control over right now.”
The two Democrats agreed that stopping the flow of firearms into New York from out of state is a priority following a wave of gun violence in the city.
Adams and Hochul both noted the urgency of the matter after a Harlem shooting left two NYPD cops dead and an 11-month old was shot in the face in the Bronx.
As part of his “Blueprint To End Gun Violence,” Adams has called for changes to bail reforms enacted three years ago that limited the use of pretrial detention for most nonviolent crimes in an effort to make the criminal justice system more equitable.
The mayor wants to allow judges more discretion to assess a defendant’s “dangerousness” and also proposed rolling back the state’s Raise the Age law to allow more teens to be prosecuted in a bid to stem violent crime.
During his remarks Wednesday, Adams said New York “needs to understand what we are doing legislatively that allows dangerous people to return to the streets.”
His calls have been met with resistance in Albany as legislative leaders flatly rejected the idea of once again amending the state’s criminal justice overhauls.
“We can’t incarcerate ourselves out of these problems. And so we have to as a society, come together and be rational and look at the data,” Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D-Yonkers) cautioned on Tuesday.
Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie expressed similar sentiments.
But those on the bench, unsurprisingly, believe they should have greater control over whether to release defendants.
“Many judges, if not most of our judges who sit on criminal cases, would like more discretion when making determinations about bail,” Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks told lawmakers during a budget hearing on public safety earlier this week.
The back-and-forth over bail has put Hochul on the hot seat as Republicans and even some fellow Democrats slammed her for not siding with Adams on his proposed overhauls.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) joined several fellow GOP colleagues in calling on the Hochul administration to “take the lead and call on the state legislature to make commonsense reforms to ensure public safety.”
Challenging Hochul in the Democratic primary for governor, Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-L.I.) accused Hochul of being “out of touch with the needs of our state.”
“By refusing to add a dangerousness standard and to give judges more discretion, Hochul is standing against common sense and rejecting what I have been saying and what Mayor Adams, Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence K. Marks, and every day New Yorkers are calling for,” he said.
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