Local Law Enforcement, Prosecutors Voice Concerns about NYS Bail Reform
ELMIRA, N.Y.(WENY)-- As numerous law enforcement agencies and prosecutors did across the state of New York, local sheriffs, police chiefs, district attorneys and others gathered in Elmira Thursday morning to stress their objections against the new criminal justice reforms.
"They really need to step back, put the brakes on this, get the stake holders at the tables, the district attorneys, the chiefs of police, the sheriffs, representatives from all law enforcement to get their input and understand how it's going to affect their ability to perform their duties, responsibilities," says. Sheriff Bill Schrom, Chemung County. Schrom also finds that this not only affects the law enforcement, but also the public in a big way. "Just imagine somebody coming into your home in the middle of the night, not a business that you own that closed, but your home that you're occupying. You wake up to a noise, you see somebody in there and they flee with your property to get out a short time later and then immediately released," Schrom tells WENY News.
Along with bail reform, the discovery reform is also causing concern amongst district attorneys offices. They say the law will create an unreasonable time constraint for sharing information.
"There's a time constraint, that 15 days is unworkable, it's unreasonable. Presently we have 30, 45 days where we get materials we're demanded. Here, it automatically goes over to them. The other problem is this will have a tremendous chilling effect, on our cases. Witnesses right now, under the law, the criminal procedure law, are protected by the secrecy of grand jury proceedings," says Weeden Wetmore, Chemung County District Attorney.
While local law enforcement and prosecutors are in opposition of these laws , the State's Chief Defenders Association is speaking out in support of these new reforms.
"Right now, defense attorneys and defendants don't see most of the evidence against them until the trial starts. So it's difficult an attorney to advise that client on what their best option is, where to accept a plea deal that they've been offered or go to trial without exactly knowing what the evidence against them might be," John Brennan, Chemung County Public Advocate tells WENY News.
Law enforcement and prosecutors across New York are overall asking for these bills to be looked over again and adjusted before they take effect.