New York state would allow judges to set bail for more offenses and make it easier to hold repeat offenders pending trial as part of a state budget agreement expected to be passed this week. The state’s 2019 bail law, which ended cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, was one of many progressive criminal-justice initiatives that are under attack amid a rise in homicides. New York would become the largest jurisdiction to make changes under pressure from law-enforcement officials and Republicans, reports the Wall Street Journal. Democrats who control the legislature were briefed Tuesday on a tentative agreement to broaden the instances in which a judge may set bail. Judges would be able to detain a defendant before trial for more hate crimes and crimes related to gun possession.
For bail-eligible offenses, judges must still pick “the least restrictive alternative” to ensure a defendant’s return to court, but they can consider an larger number of factors, including criminal history and whether the alleged charge “caused serious harm to an individual or group,” A final vote is expected as part of a more than $216 billion state budget, said deputy state Senate Majority Leader Mike Gianaris.