Criminal Justice reform changes in State Budget


The New York State Legislature passed a budget early this morning after coming to an agreement with Governor Cuomo.

One major Democratic priority that was included was criminal justice reform.

NewsChannel 34’s Ayla Ferrone shows us what’s changing.

The state budget aiming to create a fairer justice system with the recently passed reforms.

Something advocate Alice Green is in favor of.

“People who are directly impacted have been working on these and they’re the people who know what it feels like and knows the impact of it on their life.”

However, Albany County District Attorney David Soares.

“None of what’s just transpired makes any sense.”

Has a much different opinion.

“I think we’ll have victims of crime that will feel a little bit more that the rest of us.”

The first major point in the reform; elimination of cash bail.

“From now on if someone burglarizes your home. That person gets apprehended and arraigned and then is released right back into the community.”

But Green says the new law doesn’t go far enough for her and wants even violent offenders to be released without paying.

“You can be charged with a violent offense and if you have the money you still can get out.”

Another big change, the discovery process now gives just two weeks to hand over all evidence.

Soares says this will actually make speedy trial Times slower but Green says its more informative.

“It’s going to have some impact on who pleads guilty.”

The reform also eliminates asset forfeiture and will now prevent the release of of mugshots, calling it an invasion of personal privacy.

Green saying this is the most comprehensive reform she’s seen in years.

“Of any budget recently that would have this depth to it.”

But for Soares:

“We needed responsible reform. And not the reckless result we got yesterday.”

Soares is also concerned about the grand jury process, saying that the discovery reform could expose confidential witnesses unnecessarily.

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