Criminal Justice

Uptick in crime helps kill 2 New York parole bills

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Two parole reform bills pushed by New York criminal justice advocates became victims of rising violent crime around the country.

Elder Parole (S.15A/A.8855A) and Fair and Timely Parole (S.7514/A.4231) both languished at the end of a legislative session marked by a fierce pushback by the public, Republicans and moderate Democrats who see the national rise in crime as a powerful counter-narrative to the push for social justice seen in the wake of the killing of George Floyd and many others.

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New York lawmakers, advocates hope for a final deal on 'Clean Slate' measure

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A measure that would seal criminal records for thousands of New Yorkers has the potential to be revived in the coming days after stalling for the last several years in Albany.

The bill, known as the Clean Slate Act, advanced out of a key committee in the state Senate on Tuesday afternoon. It's final fate, however, remains unclear as lawmakers plan to leave Albany by the end of the week for the rest of the year.

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New York criminal justice advocates push for 11th hour win on Clean Slate Bill

BY Tim Williams New York State

With the clock on the New York legislative session ticking, criminal justice reform advocates are hoping to secure an 11th hour win by passing the Clean Slate Bill, which would seal the criminal records of eligible New Yorkers. Garrett Smith, a statewide organizer at the Center for Community Alternatives, told Capital Tonight that a criminal record is a “scarlet letter” on the chest of New Yorkers hoping to access employment or housing.

The Clean Slate Bill, which is sponsored by state Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brooklyn) and Assemblywoman Catalina Cruz (D-Queens), would automatically seal the criminal records of eligible New Yorkers seven years after sentencing for a felony and three years after the sentencing of a misdemeanor. Gov. Hochul included a clean slate proposal in her 2022 legislative agenda, but the bill hasn’t gotten over the finish line yet. Smith said there are disagreements on the timing of eligibility and argues that pushing the eligibility further back defeats the purpose of the clean slate legislation.

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Hochul calls for new age limit to purchase AR-15 style guns in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday called for legislation that would raise the age of purchasing certain types of firearms from 18 to 21 in New York in the wake of mass shootings in Texas and Buffalo this month that have jolted the nation.

Hochul said “at minimum” she wants the law to limit the purchase of AR-15-style weapons for those under age 21.

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Hochul's proposals to tackle violent extremism face challenges

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Finding ways of responding to the Buffalo mass shooting that left 10 people dead presents no easy solution, and for those tackling extremism online is a confluence of trends over the last several years.

The shooting has drawn in the rise and spread of violent hate speech over the internet and the access to guns despite stringent firearms laws in New York.

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Top Republican leaders in New York seek death penalty return

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Top Republican lawmakers in the state Legislature are calling for a return to the death penalty in New York, reviving a debate over how to punish especially heinous crimes.

But in the years since the issue last resonated with voters in 1994, when Republican George Pataki swept into office when he ran on the issue that year, it's not clear if voters, or even if all Republicans would embrace the move.

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Lawmakers weigh how to handle wrongful convictions in New York

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

State lawmakers on Tuesday advanced measures meant to aid people who have been wrongfully convicted in court as well as measures meant to aid immigrant New Yorkers in the legal system.

The measures are being pushed at the end of the legislative session as New York lawmakers consider a potential package of criminal justice law changes in the coming weeks.

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New York Legislature expects to pass Clean Slate Act before session ends​

BY Kate Lisa New York State

Legislative sources say New York lawmakers plan to pass the Clean Slate Act before session ends June 2 that would seal New Yorkers' criminal records after a set period following their sentencing.

Lawmakers expect to pass a version close to the Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Zellnor Myrie, a Democrat from Brooklyn, that would automatically seal the criminal records of New Yorkers three years after sentencing for a misdemeanor offense and seven years for a felony.

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Microsoft joins campaign for New York criminal records sealing bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Microsoft Corp. on Thursday became the latest company to join a coalition of private-sector firms, labor unions and criminal justice advocates to back a measure that would seal many criminal records in New York.

The company's participation in the Clean Slate Coalition comes as the measure continues to face an uncertain future in the state Legislature after lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul could not reach an agreement on it in the state budget negotiations last month.

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New York prosecutors say public safety discussions should not end with budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

As the negotiators ground on between lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul over the contentious debate surrounding New York's bail law, local prosecutors were brought in to discuss their concerns.

And now with those changes to the bail laws on the books, some prosecutors hope further efforts to address public safety will be made.

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Hochul on changing New York bail law: 'We had to do something' to address rising crime

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Changes to New York's 2019 law that ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges and other efforts to address public safety were needed in response to increasing crime, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday said.

But Hochul, fresh off the completion of her first spending plan, said the initial bail law should not be blamed for the rise in violent crime in New York, which has also been on the rise in other parts of the country.

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Bill sealing criminal records in New York fails in budget talks

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Supporters of a measure that would seal criminal records years after a person has completed their debt to society are planning to continue to press for the provision's approval in New York after it fell out of the state budget talks.

Those supporters range from criminal justice reform organizations, labor unions, business leaders and Gov. Kathy Hochul herself, who had backed a version of what's known as the "clean slate" bill in the budget plan.

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NY Sen. Gianaris: Discovery reform 'settled,' criminal justice issues 'buttoned up' in state budget

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

New York Deputy Senate Majority Leader Michael Gianaris told Capital Tonight that state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul have made significant progress on the state’s late budget “in just the last couple of days” in spite of efforts to insert what he called “non-budget issues” like alcohol to-go and the reform of 421a into the spending plan.

“It seems like we’re finally clearing our way through all that and now getting to the dollars and cents, which is what the budget is really about,” Gianaris said. “And hopefully wrapping it up in the next couple of days."

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New York lawmakers set to expand bail-eligible circumstances in state budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York state lawmakers are closing in on an agreement that could expand the circumstances in which cash bail would be required to include charges like gun trafficking as well as alleged repeat offenses, a top Democrat in the state Senate on Tuesday said.

The development comes as lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are close to putting the finishing touches on a broader state budget agreement, which had been expected to pass on Friday.

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House Republicans call to 'completely reverse' bail law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Republican lawmakers who represent New York in the House of Representatives urged state officials to "completely reverse" the 2019 law that ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges in a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, pointing to a rise in violent crime.

The letter signed by the eight Republicans who represent New York in Congress, including candidate for governor Lee Zeldin, was sent as Democratic lawmakers and the governor negotiate potential changes that could expand the criteria for when cash bail could be set.

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Defenders of New York's bail law say debate won't end with state budget

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The debate over New York's bail laws and how the criminal justice system should treat people accused of crimes will likely continue after the state budget is finalized, advocates on Friday said.

Rank-and-file state lawmakers were gone from the state Capitol on Friday, but a small group of advocates who oppose any changes to New York's 2019 cashless bail law rallied once again in the otherwise empty building.

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NYCLU pushes preferred 'clean slate' bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York Civil Liberties Union wants a faster way of sealing many criminal records in the state as part of a final budget deal.

The conversations over the proposal surrounding the "Clean Slate" Act are being held as lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are considering a broad package of criminal justice law changes addressing concerns over cashless bail, evidence discovery procedures and access to tuition assistance for people in prison.

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TAP access for people in prison gains more backing

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A proposal to allow people in prison to access state tuition assistance has gained the backing of the League of Women Voters as state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul debate whether to include the provision in a final budget agreement.

The move, proposed earlier this year by Gov. Hochul in her budget plan, would restore access to state tuition assistance after both Pell grants and money under the Tuition Assistance Program were blocked for people in prison in 1994 and 1995.

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NY Sen. Rivera disappointed by Hochul's push for bail law changes in state budget talks

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

With the New York state budget due on Friday, there are plenty of issues in flux, from funding for universal child care to a pay raise for home care workers. But according to the chairman of the state Senate Health Committee, Sen. Gustavo Rivera, it’s been difficult finding traction on these issues because the focus in Albany has been on bail reform.

“It’s unfortunate that so much oxygen has been taken out of the room because of the whole bail reform conversation,” Rivera told Capital Tonight. “As it relates to bail reform, I will say that I’m very disappointed that the governor came in at what is basically the 11th hour and injected something into the budget conversation that I don’t think belongs in the budget conversation.”

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New York corrections officials: 8,000 people on parole to be released under 'less is more'

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

An estimated 8,000 people on parole will be discharged from the supervision of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision by the end of month as part of the Less is More law approved last September by Gov. Kathy Hochul.

Corrections officials announced the releases come as part of effort to apply the "spirit of the law" for technical warrants and absconder dispositions to qualified parole violators. The measure is meant to reduce the number of people in prison and jails as well as supervision through a credit system.

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Hochul: 'There's urgency' for public safety, criminal justice measures in New York state budget deal

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A New York state budget agreement could include a range of criminal justice and public safety law changes, making for a sweeping compromise amid ongoing concerns over crime.

At least that's what has happened in the past, when disparate issues are knit together in a final budget deal that make it hard for lawmakers who have some misgivings to vote against it. On Friday, Gov. Kathy Hochul told reporters there's a desire to use the budget as a "vehicle" for a number of changes.

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Advocates press New York officials to not make criminal justice changes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Progressive organizations and criminal justice advocacy groups are moving to counteract a push in Albany to make changes to New York's recent package of changes to the state's bail and evidence discovery laws, as well as how juveniles are treated in the court system.

The latest efforts comes from more than 70 national and state organizations pushing back against proposed changes. Backers of the effort range from Jay-Z to the Center for American Progress, ACLU, Indivisible, the Working Families Party, National Domestic Workers Alliance and MoveOn.

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Albany County DA David Soares on cannabis, cash bail and Cuomo

BY Tim Williams New York State

Earlier this month, the state Office of Cannabis Management announced that the first licenses for cannabis retailers will go to applicants who have connections to a cannabis-related conviction and a small business background. This is all a part of an effort to support communities that have been negatively impacted by the war on drugs. But the proposal is not getting widespread support.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares, a Democrat, has some concerns about who will get these licenses.

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Hochul outlines proposals to change New York bail law amid budget talks

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Changes to New York's law that ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges can be changed to bolster public safety while also keeping the criminal justice system fair, Gov. Kathy Hochul wrote in an op/ed released on Wednesday.

At the same time, top lawmakers in the state Senate and Assembly signaled their Democratic-led chambers would be willing to consider some changes to the law, but insisted they did not want to a full scaling back of the law meant to keep poor people and people of color from waiting lengthy periods of time in local jails.

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District attorneys back extending tuition assistance to people in prison

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The statewide organization that represents local district attorneys in New York is backing a measure to extend the Tuition Assistance Program to people in prison.

Support from the District Attorneys Association of the State of New York comes as lawmakers and Hochul are considering a range of criminal justice and public safety measures this week as part of the broader budget negotiations.

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Proposals to overhaul New York bail law yet to gain traction

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Making changes to New York's bail law is proving to be an increasingly difficult knot to untie in the state Legislature, where top Democrats are yet to embrace any proposals that Gov. Kathy Hochul wants included in the state budget.

The changes to the law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges come as elected officials are trying to address increasing voter concerns over a rise in violent crime across the state.

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Progressive advocacy group launches ad campaign against New York bail law changes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A progressive advocacy organization on Tuesday announced plans to launch a six-figure ad campaign to oppose changes to New York's law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges.

The push from the group FWD.us comes as state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul are discussing potential changes to the law, which has been at the epicenter of a broader debate over public safety in New York.

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Bail debate scrambles New York state budget talks

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A leak of proposed changes to New York's controversial law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges is raining on the budget parade at the state Capitol.

With roughly a week and a half to go before the budget deal, last week's disclosure that Gov. Kathy Hochul is trying to negotiate changes to the law have set up a difficult needle for her to thread: Progressives don't want to do it; suburban and upstate Democrats feel like they must.

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New York's district attorneys on Hochul's criminal justice reforms

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

Last week, The New York Post published a confidential 10-point plan from the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul that would modify the state’s bail law and expand the mental health statute known as Kendra’s law. Hochul has since confirmed that the plan is indeed hers.

Among other measures, Hochul’s proposal would give judges more discretion over whether to set bail for defendants who are repeat offenders, or who have a history of criminal activity.

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NYCLU: Hochul’s reforms to bail law 'a matter of politics, politics, politics'

BY Susan Arbetter New York State

After months of not engaging on the issue of bail reform, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has reportedly decided that the state’s controversial law, originally passed in 2019, needs to be reformed for a second time.

In a memo whose existence was originally reported by The New York Post, Hochul makes clear she wants lawmakers to reinstate judicial discretion for serial offenders they feel are a danger to the community.

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New York lawmakers want to address public safety in budget, but bail law unlikely to be changed

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrats in the New York state Legislature want to address a range of public safety and criminal justice measures in the budget, including efforts to crack down on illegal gun trafficking and funding discovery law changes for local prosecutors.

Making changes to New York's law that largely ended cash bail requirements for many criminal charges is unlikely to be addressed in the spending plan that's due to pass by the end of the month.

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As bail debate continues, some New York lawmakers look for compromise

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Boosting funding for supervised released and expanding the collection of bail request data are two proposals backed by former New York state Assemblyman Joe Lentol in an op/ed this week. At the same time, Lentol argues judges should be able to set bail if a defendant has multiple misdemeanor cases that are still pending.

The contentious debate over New York's cashless bail could have a compromise in Lentol's proposal. But it's not clear if all lawmakers can embrace it.

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Prosecutors: Money needed to enact criminal justice changes

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Changes to New York's criminal justice laws and police procedures are designed to lead to more accountability, and fewer people languishing in jails, but local-level prosecutors are increasingly concerned the changes are not being fully funded by state officials to be effective.

The organization that represents district attorneys urged lawmakers on Tuesday to provide more funding in the state budget so local prosecutors can better process the changes enacted in recent years meant to provide access to evidence on an expedited basis.

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To fix Rikers, advocate wants Legislature to fund the judiciary, accelerate ‘Less is More’ Act

BY Susan Arbetter New York State
UPDATED 6:37 PM ET Oct. 14, 2021

For years, there have been horror stories about Rikers Island, New York City’s main jail complex, which sits on a piece land in the East River. But according to news reports and anecdotal stories, it appears the situation has deteriorated.

A New York Times expose released on Monday describes dozens of instances in which detainees have wandered freely, pepper sprayed guards and one incident in which a detainee attacked a nurse.

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Bill would eliminate court, parole and probation fees

BY Tim Williams New York State

For every conviction in New York, from traffic tickets to felonies, a mandatory surcharge or fee is added, which reform advocates say “criminalizes poverty."

The fines and fees are used by the courts to pay DNA databank fees, crime victim assistance fees, probation fees sex offender registration fees and mandatory court surcharges.

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Cuomo signs bill striking 'inmate' from New York law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

People in prison in New York will no longer be referred to as "inmates" in state law under a measure approved Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The bill approved by the governor addresses what has been a growing concern for criminal justice advocates in the state: The use of the word "inmate" can have a dehumanizing effect for the people incarcerated.

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Lawmakers reach apparent deal on parole reform bill

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Democrats in the state Legislature on Tuesday have reached an apparent agreement on a bill that would reform New York's parole system that would expedite being discharged from the parole system and setting a new standard for when an arrest warrant is issued for a parole violation.

The "Less is More Act" is among a package of parole law changes state lawmakers are considering in the final week of the legislative session. An amended version of the bill was introduced this morning, enabled lawmakers to vote on it by the time the legislative session concludes on Thursday.

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Bill enshrining people on parole right to vote will advance to Cuomo's desk

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

A bill extending voting rights to people on parole is heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo's desk after state lawmakers gave the measure final approval on Wednesday.

The measure was approved Wednesday morning in the Democratic-led state Assembly; it passed in the Democratic-controlled state Senate earlier this year.

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Campaign for parole law changes in New York gains steam

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

Criminal justice reform advocates on Monday are set to release a video pushing for the passage of a measure to overhaul the parole laws in New York with an eye toward making it easier for people to remain out of jail or prison once released.

The measure is meant to reduce prison time for technical violations. The bill's backers point to incentives for good behavior while on parole as a public safety benefit.

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Lawmakers Want to Boost Penalties for Drive-By Shootings

BY Nick Reisman New York State

State lawmakers are pushing a bill that is meant to increase penalties in drive-by shooting cases, a measure spurred by the murder of an 11-year-old boy in the Capital Region earlier this month.

As proposed by Republican Sen. Daphne Jordan and Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, the bill would change the state's criminal law to create the crime of a "drive by shooting" as defined by a person causing the death of another person by discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle.

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AG James Makes Recommendations After Protests

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The New York City Police Department should implement a package of changes that include more oversight and accountability in the wake of protests following the killing of George Floyd in May, according to a report released Wednesday by Attorney General Letitia James.

The report comes amid an ongoing investigation by James's office into the NYPD's repsonse to the protest and weeks after state lawmakers in June approved police reform bills that criminalize the use of choke holds and allow for the disclosure of police disciplinary records. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed those measures into law.

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House of Representatives Approves Police Reform Measures

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A package of police reforms meant to boost law enforcement transparency and ban the use of chokeholds was approved Thursday evening by the House of Representatives.

The measures were approved roughly a month after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis by a police officer who kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.

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Panel Examining Racial Inequities In Justice System Gets A New Leader

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Judge Paul Feinman is set to lead the state court system's panel examining racial inequalities in the criminal justice as the task force's purview is expanding amid a broader social reckoning surrounding systemic racism.

The task force was formed in 2009 to review inequities in the legal system. It had since expanded in 2017 to review specific areas, including bail and speedy trial concerns in 2017. It has also focused on issues like wrongful convictions.

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4 Criminal Justice Law Changes New York Lawmakers May Consider

BY Nick Reisman New York State

George Floyd's death after he was trapped under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer has sparked protests and unrest in more than 100 American cities, including New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo.

It may also spark further action by a state Legislature in Albany that is led by two black leaders, a Legislature composed of lawmakers who themselves were peppered sprayed and detained by police over the weekend.

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Advocates: Don’t Ignore COVID’s Impact on New York Inmates

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A coalition of advocacy groups on Monday urged lawmakers to focus on the issues facing prison inmates during the pandemic.

The call came as the Senate and Assembly held a joint legislative hearing on the effect coronavirus has had on black and Latino people in New York.

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New York Courts Move Toward Reopening

BY Spectrum News Staff New York State

The state’s court system will begin to reopen in areas that are given approval by Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week, the Office of Court Administration on Wednesday said.

The state’s top judiciary and court officials plan to gradually reopen courthouses starting on Monday in five judicial districts spread across 30 upstate counties: Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie; followed by Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties on Wednesday, May 20.

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Criminal Justice Reform Coalition Says Bail Deal Didn't Gut Original Law

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The alterations to New York's cash bail law have been criticized by supporters of the original measure as well as its Republican critics.

But one criminal justice reform coalition, New Yorkers United for Justice, said the provisions in the newly approved state budget kept the spirit of the original law's intent.

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Exclusive: Gillibrand Urges Federal Officials To Provide Protections for U.S. Prison Staff, Inmates

BY Nick Reisman New York State

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand urged federal officials in a letter sent this week to provide better safeguards and guidance to federal prisons in order to prevent the further spread of coronavirus.

The letter sent to U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Michael Carvajal and Attorney General William Barr and obtained by Spectrum News on Friday morning, comes as corrections union leaders and criminal justice advocates call for safer conditions in New York state prisons as well.

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Controversial NY Bail Law Would See Changes if Budget Legislation Passes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

New York lawmakers are poised to approve legislation that would expand the criminal charges that would qualify for cash bail — altering a measure that was approved in the previous year's budget.

The provision will qualify charges for offenses like sex trafficking, second-degree burglary, aggravated vehicular assault, money laundering charges, and child pornography.

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Corrections Union Chief Tests Positive for Coronavirus

BY Morgan McKay New York State

NYSCOPBA announced on Monday its Union President Michael Powers tested positive for COVID-19 and the union is calling for safety reform within the system during this pandemic.

The New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association is asking the state to allow all employees working in parole offices, correctional and mental health facilities, and other essential agencies to use personal protective equipment.

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Hate Crimes Hotline Announced in New York

BY Morgan McKay New York State

New York officials on Monday announced it was launching a hotline number New Yorkers could call to report hate crimes and bias-based incidents.

Even during this pandemic, hate crimes are still a pervasive problem in New York.

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Republican House Candidates Knock Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

The law ending cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges was approved on the state level last year, and it's on the state level where lawmakers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo may change it.

But Republican candidates for Congress this year have blasted the law, seeking to link their Democratic opponents to the measure, which is increasingly unpopular with voters statewide.

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Cuomo Says He Wants Bail Law Change in New York State Budget

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Governor Andrew Cuomo, in a radio interview Friday, said he wants to see changes to the state's bail law in the budget, due at the end of March.

Cuomo also plans to hold a public meeting with district attorneys, police and criminal justice advocates to discuss changes to the law, which end cash bail requirements for those facing misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses.

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Top Judge 'Confident' New York's Bail Law Will Change

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The state's top judge on Wednesday said she was confident the "unintended consequences" of the new cash bail law will be changed by state lawmakers to allow judges the ability to keep people in jail deemed too dangerous for release.

“I believe that without compromising the purity of its purpose, the new legislation can be amended, and strengthened, to recognize a narrow exception allowing judges, after a full and fair adversarial hearing, to detain a defendant in those few and extraordinary cases where such a credible threat exists,” Chief Judge Janet DiFiore said.

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Local-Level Lawmakers: Keep New York Bail Reform Law Intact

BY Nick Reisman New York State

A coalition of local government lawmakers on Tuesday are set to release a letter urging top elected officials in state government to not alter the cash bail law.

The measure ends cash bail requirements for those facing misdemeanor and non-violent felonies. It has become a focal point of controversy for law enforcement and Republican lawmakers, who have pointed to the release of people facing charges for crimes like robbery.

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Lawmaker Wants To End Double Bunking in New York Prisons

BY Morgan McKay New York State

A state lawmaker wants to end the practice of double bunking in medium security prisons in New York -- a move that has been pushed over he years by the union that represents corrections officers.

The bill backed by Assemblyman Billy Jones and the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association would limit the number of inmates allowed in a medium security dormitory. By only allowing 50 inmates, the state would end double-bunking.

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Cuomo Looks to Budget for Bail Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The controversy surrounding New York's new cashless bail law could be defused as part of the state budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday in a radio interview on AM 970.

Cuomo in an interview with businessman and political donor John Catsimatidis for the first time acknowledged the budget is the likely destination for making alterations to the law, which ended cash bail requirements for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

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New York City Bar: Don't Rollback Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The New York City Bar Association in a letter this week urged the state's top elected leaders to not alter or rollback the law ending cash bail for misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

"We are cognizant of the pressures created by recent attacks on bail reform but we urge you to keep these vital changes intact for long enough to permit thoughtful study and analysis of the effects of the changes," the New York City Bar Association wrote in the letter.

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Cuomo Warm to Senate Democrats' Potential Bail Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman New York State

Senate Democrats are poised to propose changes to the state's new cash bail law, a development that received a warm reception from Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday morning.

As Newsday reported Wednesday morning, Senate Democrats plan to propose what amounts to a two-part plan: End cash bail entirely, but expand the range of charges that would allow judges to determine if a person is too dangerous to go free pending trial.

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Bill Would Assess Judicial Diversity

BY Nick Reisman New York State

State lawmakers want a report on how diverse New York's judiciary actually is, introducing a bill Monday that would lead to the compiling and publishing of an annual report on the issue.

The measure, backed by Sens. Brad Hoylman and Luis Sepulveda, would require the Office of Court Administration to compile the demographic information on the state's judges and justices.

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Senate GOP Holds Bail Reform Task Force Meeting

BY Morgan McKay Albany/Capital Region

A Repeal Bail Reform Task Force, set up by Senate Republicans, held its first hearing in Buffalo on Thursday.

The task force says its goal is to hear from law enforcement, attorneys, probation officials and victims on the changes made to the bail and discovery process.

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NY AG James Says Trump's Rhetoric Stokes Hatred

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A change in the law is needed to combat the increase in hate crimes in New York, state Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday at a forum on white nationalism and domestic terrorism.

“Given the rise in hate crimes, to sit idly by and do absolutely nothing to me is not the answer," James said at the forum, hosted by the New York State Bar Association.

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Criminal Justice Advocates Criticize AG James Over Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

A collection of progressive groups in a statement criticized Democratic Attorney General Letitia James for being open to changes to state's cash bail law.

The statement, signed by Citizen Action of New York, Communities Voices Heard - Power, Long Island Progressive Coalition, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road Action and VOCAL-NY, comes as lawmakers are pushing to making alterations to the law.

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Bipartisan Push Made for Bail Law Changes

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Democratic Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner and Republican Sen. Sue Serino are jointly backing efforts to alter the state's bail law that, in part, would provide more power to judges and add domestic violence charges among the offenses that would require bail.

But over the last several months, Republicans, law enforcement and local prosecutors have raised concerns with the measure and its implementation.

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Siena Poll: Support For Cash Bail Law Collapses

BY Nick Reisman Albany/Capital Region

Support for ending cash bail for many criminal charges in New York has collapsed among voters in less than a year, a Siena College poll released on Tuesday morning found.

The poll found voters by a margin of 49 percent to 37 percent believe the law is bad for the state. That's a switch from April, when most voters, 55 percent to 38 percent, were in support of the law, which ended cash bail requirements for those with misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

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Sanders, Warren: Don't Roll Back Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman New York State

The two leading progressive candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination on Wednesday pushed back publicly against efforts to alter New York's new bail law.

Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren posted to Twitter that it would be a mistake to roll back the law, which ended cash bail for misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.

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De Blasio: Add Judicial Discretion To Cash Bail Law

BY Nick Reisman City of Albany

New York’s new cash bai law should be amended so judges have more discretion in determining whether a person should be released, Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters on Thursday.

“Where I think there is real agreement is that the bail reform law needs to be amended,” he said.

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