FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 26, 2021
Statement From New Yorkers United For Justice On New Trial Penalty Report
NEW YORK, NY— Today, the New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) released The New York State Trial Penalty: The Constitutional Right to Trial Under Attack, the first-ever report on trial penalty in the state of New York. New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ) Executive Director Alexander Horwitz released the following statement in response:
“Over the past three decades, the vast majority of convictions in New York have been the result of guilty pleas and cases not progressing to trial. This worrying trend is primarily due to trial penalty—the vastly greater sentence a defendant receives after going to trial compared to what they would face from a guilty plea. By systemically discouraging defendants from exercising their constitutional right to a trial and extracting waivers of other valuable rights, the State is effectively nullifying due process while tacitly endorsing the abuses and injustices that plague the criminal law system.
The groundbreaking report from NACDL and NYSACDL illustrates for the first time the horrifying impact the trial penalty has on New York’s justice system and defines with clarity the steps we must take to fix it. We cannot let the trial penalty continue. NYUJ urges all criminal legal stakeholders and policymakers to tackle the trial penalty and help ensure a fair and effective justice system.”
About New Yorkers United for Justice (NYUJ)
New Yorkers United for Justice is a statewide coalition of local and national non-profit organizations committed to supporting a movement that will bring much-needed criminal justice reform to New York State and ensure that policies promote safety and fairness. NYUJ aims for legislative urgency to fix a broken criminal justice system that punishes the poor and communities of color, tears families apart, and makes New Yorkers less safe. NYUJ believes that a system that ensures equal access to justice for anyone accused in New York State, regardless of age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or religion, must be the standard.