Governor Kathy Hochul

NEWS: Gov. Hochul says New York bail law changes off table till after election

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ALBANY — A day after she blamed judges for rising crime in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday ruled out any serious discussion of changes to state bail laws until January at the earliest.

The decree comes despite ongoing calls for action from Mayor Eric Adams, a fellow Democrat, as well as from small business owners and her Republican challenger amid rampant crime, often committed by repeat offenders.

“I’m willing to revisit everything, but let’s see whether or not the system can start functioning the way we intended,” Hochul told reporters at an Albany press conference.

“The legislature meets again next January and by that time we’ll be able to assess the real impact of our changes,” she added.

That timeline leaves current laws in place ahead of the Nov. 8 election pitting Hochul against Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, who has made toughening up the state’s criminal justice system a key plank of his candidacy.

Gov. Kathy Hochul has said that a change to New York’s current bail law is off the table until after she’s re-elected in 2023.
Ron Adar / SOPA Images/Sipa USA via AP

Hochul also urged critics to remain patient following the enactment of slight bail law tweaks that she has previously said hit the “sweet spot,” and which were included in the state budget passed last April.

The situation has had even Democrats like Mayor Adams calling for an extraordinary session of the state Legislature, whose regularly scheduled 2022 session ended in June. But she has rebuffed those calls for action.

Lorenzo Mclucas is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court after he was arrested for shoplifting for the 230th time.
Lorenzo Mclucas is arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court after he was arrested for shoplifting for the 230th time.
Gabriella Bass

“There should be a special session called today to give judges discretion on far more offenses to weigh dangerousness, flight risk, seriousness of the offense and past criminal record,” Zeldin said in a statement to The Post Thursday, echoing the plea made by Adams.

Major crimes like murders and shootings have increased by 40% over the past year, according to the NYPD, with some high-profile cases involving alleged repeat offenders like 10 “worst of the worst” recidivists accounting for nearly 500 arrests since new limits on pre-trial detention took effect in 2020.

“When asked about overhauling the far-left, pro-criminal cashless bail law, Hochul says there is no data to support that action, and when confronted with the data she still punts and refuses to act. She couldn’t be more wrong,” Zeldin said in the statement.

The GOP standard-bearer is hardly the only notable pol calling on Hochul to back legislative action on bail laws months after Albany Democrats made additional offenses bail eligible while loosening some rules on how judges could jail repeat offenders.

Adams, who has endorsed Hochul for a full term in office, on Wednesday highlighted stats showing more than 80% of people charged with carrying guns in New York City over the past year were released after their arrests.

Harold Gooding has been busted a total of 101 times, with 88 coming since bail reform was enacted.
Harold Gooding has been busted a total of 101 times, with 88 coming since bail reform was enacted.
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“The judges have tools that they are not using, but they do need more tools,” he told reporters at a press conference, when asked about Hochul’s deflection to judges.

“This conversation is about that small number of dangerous people who are repeated recidivists who have made up their mind that ‘we can do whatever we want in this city and nothing is gonna happen to us,’” Adams added.

Such arguments have not convinced Hochul – whose strongest support lies with liberal-leaning voters in New York City, according to recent polling — to back calls to convene lawmakers to deal with bail laws.

“How much longer will the Governor and Legislature wait? We need a special session to repeal their disastrous bail laws and restore public safety to our state NOW,” state Senate Republican Minority Leader Robert Ortt tweeted Thursday after Hochul said an extraordinary session was a no-go.

Members of the state Senate and Assembly are not slated to return to Albany until next year, but they could reconvene if Hochul and legislative leaders called them back.

That happened earlier this summer when Albany Democrats, who have supermajorities in both chambers, struck a deal with Hochul on tightening state laws on carrying concealed weapons following a controversial decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Kathy Hochul
Mayor Adams and Hochul’s Republican opponent in the upcoming election have both expressed desires to change the law.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hochul claimed Thursday that current bail laws could prove their worth with more time, especially alongside other initiatives aimed at reducing crime like an ongoing anti-gun effort overseen by state police that has seized 795 illegal weapons this year.

“It’s not a simple this over that. That’ll never be my strategy,” Hochul said while noting crime increases in other areas of the country.

She also insisted that even if she wanted to change bail laws in the short-term her hands are tied by state Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie — who both support the current laws.

“You bring back the special session when the legislature is willing and an agreement going into on certain changes. Otherwise, they gavel in, they gavel out. OK?. That’s the reality. I have to deal with realities here,” she told The Post Thursday.





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