WKBW: "State Assembly Majority leader People-Stokes defends bail reform law"

Date: January 24, 2020

By: Eileen Buckley | Jan 24, 2020

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — New York State Assembly Majority leader Crystal People-Stokes is defending the new controversial bail reform law.

“Violent criminals are not being released as a result of bail reform. I want to repeat that because it’s been said so many times that people think it is true. Violent criminals are not being released as a result of bail reform. This fear mongering,” declare People-Stokes.

People-Stokes joined other members of the legal community Friday in downtown Buffalo at the Legal Aid Bureau to speak out against opposition to the law. Legal Aid, attorneys John Elmore, Terry Connors, Kevin Stadelmaier, Rebecca Town and the Partnership for the Public Good attended the news conference.

There has been plenty of opposition to the new controversial bail reform law.

People-stokes and the legal members support this new law and explained why it provides equity for those who have not committed crimes of violence.

“Let’s protect the constitutional rights of people who are black, brown and poor. This is what this is about and for everybody who thinks it is not, I’m going to have to wonder why is it important for them to have constitutional rights and it’s not important for people who don’t have resources to have constitutional rights,” People-Stokes remarked.

The law eliminates cash bail for those charged with misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. It allows suspects to be free until their court appearance.

People-stokes says the law is critical for equal justice. She says it protects the legal presumption of innocence for people accused of lower level crimes that aren’t violent.

People-Stokes and other legal members said it has already reduced the number of people being held before trial in Erie County from more than 1000 to over 400 and it has already saved the county $35 million.

The law still requires cash bail by the courts in certain cases, such as alleged sex crimes or domestic violence and for defendants who consistently fail to appear in court.

Buffalo attorney Connors says bail reform was overdue.

“The bail system in the state of New York is broken – it resulted in more injustice than justice – it was clearly a two-tiered system. It was a system where if you had the economic wherewithal you could get out on the street and continue your life, if you didn’t you suffered the penalties,” stated Connors.

Read the full article on the WKBW website here.