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NY Agreement Near On Rollback of 2019 Bail Reform Law


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.

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