FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 16, 2020
Contact: Melissa Mansfield | email@example.com
ADVOCATES CALL OUT LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS THREATENING PUBLIC SAFETY IN A BAD FAITH EFFORT TO UNDERMINE THE NEW BAIL LAW
Newsday story highlights case of judge playing politics by wrongfully releasing defendant and citing new bail reform laws – therefore misleading the public and putting safety at risk
CENTRAL ISLIP, NY—Criminal justice reform advocates point to a case highlighted in a Newsday story today about a man re-arrested days after being released by a judge erroneously citing new bail reform laws.
In response to this article, New Yorkers United for Justice’s Khalil A. Cumberbatch said:
“This is what happens when those who are entrusted to protect us instead use their power to exploit our fears and mislead the public to score political points. Mistakes are being made that are completely avoidable if we deal in reality and educate the public and our judges about how the new system works. It’s very clear that, in this case, the judge was either completely uninformed or deliberately played politics in order to undermine bail reform in the public sphere. Either way, it’s is morally wrong, undercuts faith in our system, severely erodes trust, and is bad for public safety.
“But this has also happened time and again since this new law was passed, and advocates, elected officials and media have a responsibility to call it out and demand accountability. In every case, we must ask if judges and prosecutors are using the tools provided under the law to hold people who commit offenses accountable. Or are they playing fast and loose to make sure a law that they don’t like, fails?
“The criminal justice system has real consequences for all those involved – victims, presumed innocent individuals, the guilty, and the families and communities of all impacted – and we need policies that result in just outcomes every time. That’s why reform was so important—and remains so. That’s also why we should of course examine our laws, new and old, and make sure they are being implemented properly and that they’re working as intended to maximize safety, justice, and fairness.
“We need to have responsible and thoughtful conversations about reform – based on data and hard facts, not hysteria and politics – to ensure our system works, and so all New Yorkers get the fairness, justice and safety we deserve and expect.”