New York Bail Reform

Joe: 106.7 WIZN, it’s Whitesnake “Is This Love,” heard Pat Benatar before that. Joe Vega here with you on your Wednesday Rocking Ride Home, and I’m joined now by Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello Paul.

Paul: Hey Joe, how are you?

Joe: I’m excellent. So, thank you for taking my call. I wanted to ask you about this story which I got off of WCAX. It’s in regards to a gentleman who was arrested in Saranac with a bunch of cocaine, he had some guns on him, prior felonies. And the story’s in regards to will this gentleman be released due to the new bail reform laws in New York State? And what’s funny is it’s kind of a non-story because the answer is no he’s not getting released, but I thought maybe you could explain to me exactly what these bail reform laws are.

Paul: Well, yeah. So, you wanna controversial topic around the Bar association, just mention New York State bail reform. It’s safer to talk about in Vermont. But, so here’s the deal. What happened is the law came about and had some good reasons meant to reduce this pre-trial incarceration for folks who didn’t have any money. So they’d get, you know, arrested for jay-walking, $50 bail, they couldn’t make it, they were going to jail. So that’s sort of the genesis, but what happened here in New York is now if you commit burglary, arson, virtually every misdemeanor and every non-violent felony, there’s no bail. I mean, you can commit these crimes, arson, burglary, go in front of the judge, he says, “Okay, we’ll see you next week.” So here, we got this guy in Saranac Lake, and he’s just punching all the buttons, you know? He’s got cocaine, he’s got loaded guns, sawed-off shotgun, three prior felonies…

Joe: Prior felonies.

Paul: Yeah, so normally, a guy like that you’d think, “Okay, he could post a bail for $100,000 or a lot more because he may or may not come back on court date [inaudible 00:01:47]. And he would walk free other than he had the three prior felonies. And so the District Attorney took the position up there and says, “Hey, because of the prior felonies, bail doesn’t have to be an option,” and therefore he’s not being released. Now, I would say I read the story, I get the angle where this is going, but I wonder if anyone, you know, comes to his defense, if technically he should not be a bail recipient. He’s sort of on the fence. Non-story because he isn’t incarcerated. They were able to keep him there, but…

Joe: So, it was the…him having the prior felonies, that was legally what kept him behind bars, not the cocaine or the loaded guns?

Paul: Yeah, [inaudible 00:02:25] appearance [inaudible 00:02:27]. They can say, “Hey, we’ll see you back next week.Okay, next month.” You know, I’m being a little cynical because we’ve seen sometimes where this works, and it’s been a wonderful passed law, but we’ve also seen times where, you know, in the Albany area what happened is, you know, there’s a situation where a guy went into a bar, he started trouble, and he got arrested, and you know, was spitting at the police officers, punching everyone. Goes in front of the judge, gets released, and within an hour, he shows up with a bat and starts whacking people, right? So, the judge knew, “You need just some time to cool down,” but had no authority to do it, so yeah. There we go.

Joe: That’s interesting. All right, well thank you very much. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.

Paul: All right, Joe, thank you. Talk to you soon.

Joe: You, of course, can call Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at anytime at 1-800-LAW1010 or go online to All right, I’m outta here. Turning things over to Mel Allen, he’s got music from Bon Jovi and U2 coming up.