Mike Siderakis for NYS Senate SD-2 Stony Brook University Army CORP

February 28th 2020

The Governor wants to add changes to last years criminal justice reforms within the State budget.  That is a bad idea.   Last year’s criminal justice reforms voted on as part of the budget got us to this situation.  Bills of such importance to the public should never be put in the budget, rather proposed as standalone bills and voted on their merit.  Doing it this way ensures that the public has an opportunity for input and the legislature can come up with a compromise based on the publics input.  Changes are absolutely necessary to last year’s criminal justice reforms.  Cash bail should be eliminated and Judges should be allowed to judge on the rare occasions whether an alleged criminal is a threat to themselves or the public, and should be incarcerated pre-trial.  In addition, the new discovery timelines enacted should have been discussed with the criminal justice system to have ensured the staffing and infrastructure was adequate to comply with the new law which took effect on January 1st 2020, or should have been phased in to handle the new timelines.  The sixth amendment of our constitution to a speedy trial is the foundation of our bill of rights, thus legislation this important must be introduced, debated and voted on as a standalone bill by the legislature, not tossed into the budget vote.

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