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.
The measure ends cash bail requirements for those facing misdemeanor and non-violent felony charges.
Law enforcement officials and Republicans in recent weeks have highlighted the release of people accused for serious crimes, and voters have flipped in their support for the measure in less than a year.
James, a Democrat elected in 2018 from the New York City public advocate's office and a prominent progressive, has been supportive of making changes, as has Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
James has not publicly endorsed a specific change.
“We are deeply disappointed and gravely concerned by Attorney General Tish James continued openness to revising New York's historic pretrial reforms just weeks after they’ve gone into effect. This is a far cry from her pledge to be 'an advocate for everyday New Yorkers,' and is indeed a retreat from the progressive ideals that drove her candidacy," the groups said. "Any attempt to rollback these critical laws, from expanding the list of bail eligible offenses to instituting a so-called 'dangerousness' standard, to expanding judicial discretion, will harm New Yorkers by expanding the system of race- and wealth-based detention these reforms were intended to address."
Supporters of the law have contended Republicans have fear-mongered the issue, highlighting cases that are anecdotal and in some cases not connected with the bail law.
The law was approved as a way of ensuring poorer defendants would not wait in jail pending trial, while richer defenders who can afford bail go free.
But some lawmakers are also highlighting what they say amount to loopholes in the measure, such as domestic violence charges being included.
"Attorney General James should not only stand strong on the full implementation of the new law, defend it and educate the public about its benefits, but also actively dispel the mistruths and fear-based attacks and stick up for the Black, Brown and low-income communities that she pledged to protect," the groups said.
In a statement, James's office noted the changes will ultimately be up to the legislature.
“Attorney General James strongly supports the spirit of the criminal justice reforms. Full stop. At the same time, she recognizes that part of the legislative process entails revisiting proposals to ensure they accomplish the intended outcome.”