Borough President Vito Fossella, Staten Island elected officials back Mayor Eric Adams’ position on changes to bail reform
BP Fossella, S.I Delegation Support Mayor's Position On Bail Reform
Borough President Vito J. Fossella and a bipartisan group of Staten Island elected officials announced, at a press conference Tuesday on the steps of City Hall, a united show of support to fix and improve the bail reform laws of New York State and work with Mayor Eric Adams to make the city safer.
Joining BP Fossella in giving remarks were District Attorney Michael McMahon, Councilman Joe Borelli and Councilman David Carr who all specifically addressed the provision that would grant judges the ability to consider public safety and the dangerousness of an offender when deciding whether to remand or set bail in their case. Several Staten Island elected officials who could not attend in-person offered comments in support.
New York is the only state in the nation where judges are not permitted to consider these factors when making this crucially important decision.
The following are their full statements:
Borough President Vito J. Fossella
"We’re standing together as Democrats and Republicans, representing half a million people on Staten Island. We are sick and tired of seeing dangerous criminals being let go and end up back on our streets to commit more violent acts. We are symbolically bringing the borough of Staten Island to the doorstep of City Hall -- to give our full support to Mayor Adams' urgent plea to our Albany leaders -- give discretion to judges on potentially dangerous suspects. That singular change in the bail laws could help save lives. In neighborhood after neighborhood, in small businesses and schoolyards, in homes and apartments, it could help save lives. How many more must die? How many more widows shall we create? How many children must lose a parent? How many innocent people must be sacrificed? That is why we are compelled to speak out."
District Attorney Michael McMahon
"As Staten Island's highest ranking law enforcement officer, it is my duty to pursue justice and safety for the people of Staten Island. Yet our current bail system is wholly and uniquely inadequate in allowing law enforcement across this state to do our job as effectively as possible. When coupled with unduly burdensome and dangerous discovery laws, and the enormous flaws in the 'Raise the Age' law that allow young people to carry weapons without real consequences, it is a cocktail for chaos. It is long past time for New York to join the rest of the country in allowing Judges the discretion to consider public safety when deciding whether to set bail or remand a defendant facing charges, and long past time for the decision-makers in Albany to work with law enforcement professionals to construct a criminal justice system that is both fair and protects the law-abiding public. I commend Mayor Adams, Borough President Fossella, and my colleagues in government for raising their voices and that of our constituents on this critical issue.”
Councilman Joe Borelli, the Minority Leader
“A very small number of New Yorkers are committing the same violent crimes over and over again. And we know who they are, because we have the data, because they are arrested over and over again and they have criminal records a mile long. In these cases, we need judges to have the discretion to determine whether these individuals are too dangerous to allow back on the street. It’s way past time to change the laws in this state that restrain our judges, rather than violent criminals."
Councilman David Carr
“When laws do more to protect criminals than they do to protect the people who they victimize, there is something really wrong with the laws, and they have to be changed. Albany legislators must fix their mistakes and give our judges -- who the people elect -- the discretion to determine whether a defendant is too dangerous to be granted bail. We cannot allow the same violent criminals to victimize our residents again and again."
Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis
“We are ready to work with Mayor Adams to restore public safety and are happy that he’s already reinstating the NYPD’s plainclothes unit to go after gangs and illegal guns, adding more cops to patrol our subways, and seeking changes to Albany’s botched bail law. This failed policy has led to tens of thousands of criminals being released back onto our streets to commit more crime and Governor Hochul and the state legislature must take immediate action to fix it.”
State Senator Diane Savino
"Mayor Adams has put forward a comprehensive plan to combat gun violence and reduce crime. We all have a part to play and as legislators we have a responsibility to review our laws and make changes when it is clear that public safety is at risk.”
Assemblyman Michael Cusick
“I am glad to see that Mayor Adams has made crime and public safety across the city his top priority from his first day in office. I will continue to work with the Mayor, Borough President Fossella, and the rest of my colleagues at all levels of government to address these issues together. On the state level, I have introduced legislation in the State Assembly, A6536, which would increase judicial discretion for crimes involving the possession of a firearm in New York State and allow judges to consider multiple factors when making pre-trial determinations, in an effort to address incidents of gun violence plaguing our city and state.”
Assemblyman Michael Tannousis
"Bad policy and lack of enforcement by tying the hands of our police has resulted in a public safety crisis in New York. Our skyrocketing crime and murder rates are absolutely unacceptable. As a prosecutor, I saw first hand what it takes to keep our communities safe and it starts with returning to common sense public safety policy and holding criminals accountable for their actions."
Assemblyman Charles Fall
“Legislating is all about trial and error -- especially when introducing new concepts/laws in our state. There was a need for bail reform in our state, being that black and brown communities were unfairly penalized by our criminal justice system without due process. After the implementation of bail reform, we have identified some adverse impacts and the state legislature needs to acknowledge and act in order to make sure we mitigate any possible reoffenders from being released back into our communities.”
Assemblyman Michael Reilly
“Far too often, Albany lawmakers are concerned with making New York the 'first in the nation,' but I’ve maintained from the beginning that we ought to be passing laws that make New York the 'best in the nation.' Criminal Justice Reform, which included the elimination of cash bail, is a product of that 'first in the nation' mentality. As a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department, I understand the consequences of Albany’s weak-on-crime policies far too well. This is what they’ve sacrificed public safety over. I’ve joined many of my colleagues over the past two years to advocate for the restoration of public safety. In fact, I’ve even introduced legislation that would address these concerns. If passed, these bills would allow judicial discretion based on dangerousness, extend the discovery period, permit immediate bench warrants for failure to appear for hate crimes, place restrictions on desk appearance tickets, and increase penalties for adolescent offenders caught in possession of a loaded gun. Each day that passes without action to address the matter at hand is a failure of this government’s primary responsibility to protect its citizens.”