More than 100 professors from law schools throughout New York state have released an open letter addressed to Gov. Kathy Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie condemning the governor’s proposed changes to New York’s bail statute.
The professors say the changes will lead to more “pretrial caging of Black and Latinx New Yorkers, undermining public safety.”
In the letter, the professors write that Hochul’s proposal would “undo the well-considered and long-standing purpose of bail.”
“Hochul’s proposal discards the 2019 codification of long-standing legislative principles, and is contrary to decades of New York’s refusal to cave to racist and classist ‘tough on crime’ policies in the context of bail and pre-trial detention,” they wrote.
The professors also wrote that Hochul’s proposal would exacerbate racial disparities and wealth-based detention.
“Hochul’s proposal to eviscerate the long-codified purpose of bail would further increase these racial disparities. A decision-making vacuum would be left in its wake, primed to be filled with calculations of ‘future dangerousness,’ ” the profs wrote.
They also claim the governor’s proposal “would further sow confusion among judges and criminal legal system stakeholders.”
“Contrary to the Governor’s false claims that the reforms stripped judges of discretion in their bail decisions, the current law in fact requires judges to consider a comprehensive list of factors, including a person’s past history and the current allegations against them, to determine whether that person presents “a risk of flight to avoid prosecution,” the professors wrote.