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News & Press: Latest News

NYSACDL Opposes Action That Would That Would Undermine Sweeping Criminal Justice Reforms

Thursday, November 21, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Jennifer Van Ort
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In April 2019, both houses of the Legislature of the State of New York passed sweeping penal law and criminal procedure law reforms to address obvious and deleterious injustices in the money bail system, discovery and disclosure rules, and a person's right to a speedy trial. The New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NYSACDL) is strongly opposed to any action that would undermine or even eliminate any of these reforms from being enacted on January 1, 2020. NYSACDL President Lori Cohen released the following statement on recent calls to rollback these reforms:


“Earlier this year, NYSACDL stood with lawmakers as historical criminal justice reforms in New York State were passed. With these reforms, scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020, New York joins states such as Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey and California that have also enacted major reforms relating to discovery and bail with success. To rollback any of these reforms now would jeopardize New York State's commitment to the ideal that people are innocent until proven guilty and should be afforded due process of law.


As with all rules of law and as with all matters brought before it, the Court ultimately oversees and is in the best position to address each individual factual scenario. Even with these changes in legislation, it is the Court that is obligated to weigh and consider the concerns and impact to the complaining witnesses and the public at large while maintaining the due process interests of the accused, who is, at all times, entitled to a presumption of innocence pursuant to the United States and New York State constitutions and consistent with fundamental democratic principles.


We understand such sweeping reform is not enacted without objections, most notably from those in law enforcement. Years of experience in other states demonstrates that these reforms can be successful without detriment to public safety. NYSACDL applauds those District Attorneys and Sheriff Departments who are working with public and private defenders in their counties to ensure these reforms can take place with ease on January 1. We urge all in law enforcement to follow their lead and focus on the change that is coming, rather than working to undermine what has already taken place.”