New York Bail Reform And The Potential Of Future Changes

Quinn: It’s Quinn and Cantara, PYX 106. 1-800-LAW-1010,  Paul Harding on the phone.

Cantara: Hey, Paul, I saw… How are you, by the way?

Paul: Good morning, doing great.

Cantara: I saw Dan, I think, is he McCoy? The guy who heads up, you know, that he’s like…

Quinn: The account executive?

Cantara: Yes. I saw him credit you guys along with Uber and Lyft, there are only 3 DWI arrests on New Year’s Eve this year versus 19 the year before.

Quinn: That’s awesome. Huge, huge.

Cantara: So thanks for doing that, Paul.

Paul: You’re welcome. I got a text from Sheriff Apple that next morning. You know, of course, he was just pumped up with so few arrests and, you know, it’s I think the bigger… You know, we continue to do our cab ride Safe Ride Home program, I think the biggest difference has been… There’s just been a change in the way that people perceive drinking and driving. It really has changed. It’s, you know, again, other weekends don’t change but on these holiday weekends, and Uber and Lyft is just giving people this sort of instant access. And there’s almost like, especially the younger people, I think that they view the drinking and driving as something they’re just never gonna do. And so generationally, the rest of us, you know, our age group is kind of staying home, and so I think that’s part of it, too.

Cantara: And while the awareness is huge, and Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, a big part of that, so that’s very cool.

Paul: Oh, thank you. Thank you.

Cantara: Story now, though from CBS New York in a stunning development, the head of the State Senate says she’s ready to consider the controversial new criminal justice reform laws because, in three days, the first three days, like people who’ve committed hate crimes have been walking. This is the new bail law that went into effect, right?

Paul: Yes, so what happened, it was pretty amazing when it happened very quickly. And what it did, it basically said, if you’re charged with a misdemeanor or a non-violent felony, that you’d be arraigned and immediately released. It didn’t give the judge any option to hold people in jail via bail. And so they didn’t intend this stuff, like the hate crime stuff or second-degree robbery and second-degree burglary. You can’t set bail. You come in, you get arraigned, you go home.

Cantara: And these are people who potentially could flee entirely, right?

Paul: Yeah, you don’t see them again. You know, the bail, the theme is that you put up money, you put some pressure on yourself or maybe a family member that ensures that you’re going to come back to court.

Quinn: Accountability.

Paul: Yeah, accountability. And so yeah, no, right. And so, you know, it’s one of these things that, you know, the genesis of this is a good genesis. It was, okay, you get arrested for a misdemeanor and if somebody’s got a few bucks, they’re home in a few hours. If someone doesn’t, they might be in jail for several weeks until their case comes before the judge or there’s a trial. So I get it, they just went too far.

Quinn: Yeah.

Cantara: So… I’m sorry, Quinn.

Quinn: Is this the kind of thing that we were expecting to see when you institute a new thing like this, like, is it just like a loose end that can then be fixed? That’s what it sounds like.

Paul: Yeah, it can be fixed, but all the law enforcement folks and a few district attorneys that I talked to, and the bail bondsmen, you know, that I know, you know, when this thing went down, they just went off, they just said, “Listen, you know, they just blew it, the legislature rushed through this. They had good intentions, they didn’t think it through.” And sure enough, by day one, when this law was in effect, you know, all we kept seeing is story after story of people that we don’t want back on the streets immediately. Give them a chance to cool down, give them a chance to be psychologically evaluated. And we saw that happening. And immediately here, here we are, you know, first week of the year, and they’re saying we’re going to change this law.

Cantara: The Colon, the bank robber, I think he was like a two-time bank robber. He walked right after holding up a bank. So just to go back one more thing. So you said the genesis was good. The genesis was good, it was to level the playing field between, you know, people who have a ton of money and people who don’t, right?

Paul: Exactly so. And so they saw that, they saw the inequity, and they said, you know, “Let’s make these certain level of crimes.” They just probably are going to drill back on what the level of crimes which is going to be no bail. And also give judges discretion. If they see somebody who came in there super angry and super motivated to do something bad, and then letting them back on the street in 15 minutes is not a good idea.

Quinn: What’s worse right now, public nudity or possession of marijuana?

Paul: A debate that will go on through the ages. I don’t know.

Quinn: Do them both.

Cantara: Not both, not both at the same time.

Quinn: Thanks, Paul.

Cantara: Thanks again, Paul.

Paul: Okay, guys. Talk soon.

Quinn: LAW-1010, Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. PYX 106.