Village Officials Join Nassau in Calls to Repeal State Bail Reform Laws
Dozens of village and county officials stood behind Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman in opposition to New York State bail reform laws passed in 2019 at a news conference Tuesday.
In front of Nassau County Police Department’s David S. Mack Center for Training and Intelligence, officials expressed frustrations with the laws, mainly cashless bail, which they claim has led to an uptick in crime.
“We are united by one thing: public safety, protecting our communities, protecting our neighborhoods, and protecting our constituents’ homes,” Blakeman said. “In every part of the state, there is a criminal pandemic that has made us all less safe.”
The gathering was born out of a Nassau County Village Officials Association (NCVOA) meeting that Blakeman attended, where many were concerned about public safety, he said.
Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly, as well as several village mayors, including mayors of Freeport and Upper Brookville, spoke against the laws and shared anecdotes of repeat offenders in their areas.
NCVOA President Nora Haagenson, Mayor of the Baxter Estates, said that robberies, car thefts, mailbox thefts, and home invasions “have become commonplace.”
“The law has tilted in favor of the criminal over the victim,” she said. “The legislature must act to correct this untenable situation. The bail reform law is severely flawed.
“The law was intended to aid the poorest of the state, for incarceration because of low level crimes such as shoplifting, but it has instead enabled high level more serious crimes to occur and flourish because there is no fear of consequence,” she added.
Edward Novick, NCVOA 2nd Vice President and Mayor of Old Westbury, said the group of mayors would write a letter to Nassau’s state senators and Gov. Kathy Hochul detailing their issues with the bail reform laws. He also called on the governor to invest in social services to prevent crimes.
When pressed about bail reform laws in the past, Hochul has maintained that she amended the laws earlier this year to close certain loopholes that were letting repeat offenses occur.
Hochul has also been asked to instate a dangerousness standard for judges to decide on bail status, which she argued in an August radio interview would be too subjective and often based on racial biases.
Bail reform laws were initially introduced and passed to level the playing field for those who commit misdemeanor crimes so that their financial situation would not determine whether they could be free while they await trial.