The NYPD and any number of concerned citizens of Gotham have been warning us that the newly passed criminal justice and bail reform laws in New York might wind up getting somebody killed. One of their chief concerns along these lines is the requirement that disclosure to the defense, including the identities of victims and witnesses in violent crimes, be turned over within two weeks of the initial indictment. Understandably, defense attorneys would like to have the most time possible to prepare, and getting such information on the eve of the trials is widely seen as being unfair. But allowing that information to reach the accused and their friends could result in witness intimidation or worse.
Now we learn that one such case has ended in tragedy. Wilmer Maldonado-Rodriguez, 36, was one of several people who were assaulted by a group of nine gang members in December of 2018. The case was about to go before a judge and jury, but the night before the trial, Maldonado-Rodriguez was found bludgeoned to death on Long Island. Police suggest it’s because his attackers learned of his identity. Defenders of the new justice reform laws insist that there was no relationship between the new laws and the killing. (CBS New York)
Did the case of a witness brutally murdered on Long Island have anything to do with New York’s new criminal justice laws?
There was strong reaction Thursday from criminal justice reform advocates after police assertions that new trial procedures may have jeopardized the man’s safety.
Supporters of New York’s new laws said the death had nothing to do with changes in trial procedures.
Nine alleged gang members were accused of assault last year, and now one of the assault victims is dead.