NY Governor's war with judges

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

We’ve provided plenty of coverage here regarding the revolving door of criminal justice in New York State, particularly in the Big Apple. Everyone can see what’s been happening and it’s an open secret as to why this is going on. When the state passed a new “bail reform” law under the tenure of Andrew Cuomo, liberal prosecutors and district attorneys declared an open season on freeing suspects in all but the most heinous cases. The results were entirely predictable and in some cases, deadly. But the measure was so popular with Democrats when it was being enacted that none of them want to point the finger of blame in that direction. Instead, Governor Kathy Hochul seemed to try to blame the judges and prosecutors for “not understanding” the law well enough and suggested the state provide funding to send those officials to educational seminars. To put it mildly, the judges were not wild about the plan and a war of words has broken out in the media. (NY Post)

Mayor Eric Adams’ ongoing effort to roll back the state’s bail reform law has sparked a war of words between Gov. Kathy Hochul and New York’s judges over who’s to blame for the state’s revolving-door justice system.

In a highly unusual move Friday, a spokesman for New York’s Office of Court Administration responded to Hochul’s proposal Thursday to have the state pay for judges to get schooled on the controversial statute.

“Judges have received extensive training on the bail reform legislation, including all of its amendments,” spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.

Needless to say, there is certainly plenty of blame to go around here and Mayor Eric Adams is correct about at least one thing. The problem isn’t with the NYPD. They are arresting people in numbers not seen in years and they’re doing so with far less manpower than they were promised. (Mostly due to early retirements and resignations of disgusted cops.) Part of the fault lies with the legislators who passed this bill and refuse to publicly admit what a train wreck it’s been from the first day it went into effect.

Governor Hochul has talked a good game at times, going so far as to hold a private meeting with soft-on-crime Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. She allegedly threatened to remove him from his position if he didn’t start enforcing the law. But she hasn’t followed through on that, nor has she publicly led the charge to repeal the law or at least modify it.

But Bragg still makes many questionable calls and he’s not the only dubious DA leading some equally dubious prosecutors around the city. One common complaint Adams has heard from retiring police officers is that the criminals are “beating the cops back to the neighborhoods” after they are arrested. That doesn’t create a very positive work environment inside the NYPD and they still lack a meaningful path toward disincentivizing crime among the city’s gangs.

Nothing is going to undo a decade or more of bad policies overnight, but Hochul has it in her power to at least make a start of it. Call an emergency session of the legislature and repeal the damned bail reform law. Instead of trying to send judges and prosecutors to school, send them new guidelines freeing them up to demand significant amounts of bail for repeat offenders of any sort and particularly for those committing gun crimes, even if it’s their first offense. Show the gangs that the candy store is now closed and they will be held accountable for their criminal activity. Crime won’t stop overnight (or ever, really) but it will surely begin slowing down noticeably. Of course, I’m probably wasting my breath here because any such actions would require the state Democratic Party to admit they had made a mistake. And when is the last time you saw that happen?

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David Strom 4:01 PM on October 05, 2022