New York State Democratic Committee Chairman Jay Jacobs in an interview on Wednesday said it was an error for the Legislature to not include a judicial discretion piece when eliminating cash bail for some criminal charges.
Jacobs backed the proposal that would allow judges to consider factors like "dangerousness" when assessing whether a person charged with a crime should be released pending trial.
"I think they're going to have to take a hard look at some of the specific exceptions that need to be made or brought back into bail," Jacobs said. "The judicial discretion piece I think is important."
Law enforcement officials and Republicans have criticized the bail law — which took effect at the start of the year and ends bail requirements for misdemeanor and non-violent felony offenses. Some Democratic lawmakers in recent weeks have embraced the judicial discretion.
"We're already getting these unfair, scare tactic kinds of campaigns against Democrats in the suburbs and upstate," Jacobs said. "A lot of it is really fanning fires that just aren't there. Voters are attuned to it and the press is certainly paying attention to [the] judicial discretion component as well."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who had appointed Jacobs to the chairmanship, said in a speech Monday that the Legislature may make alterations to the cash bail law, though did not provide specifics.
Jacobs, like Cuomo, praised the changes, calling it "a great bill" overall.
"I think taking away the discretion of judges was a mistake," Jacobs said.