Police commissioner on NY bail reform: Burglary suspects were released from jail, likely left the country

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday that New York's newly enacted bail reform law makes it impossible for him and other members of law enforcement to do their job.

Ryder referenced the fact that he was an officer in the 1980s during another difficult time and it brought down “morale in policing.”

“Now we’re seeing the same thing, those we lock up, those that are going to jail are coming out the same day,” he said.

Under previous New York law, prosecutors would determine whether to make a bail recommendation or agree to have the defendant released on their own recognizance. The case judge would then make a determination. Defense attorneys would typically make arguments that bail would be inappropriate, or should be set at a low amount, which judges would take into consideration.

Under the new law, courts are now prohibited from setting any monetary bail or keeping defendants in custody before trial in almost every type of misdemeanor case, and for a long list of felonies as well.

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“Judges are the most respected people in our law enforcement community,” Ryder said. “They’re the most educated. They need to have that discretion to decide who should stay and who should go.”

Ryder also brought up an example of what is happening in Nassau County because of the new law.

“We had two individuals that came in on a 90-day visa from Chile,” he said. “They committed havoc on the North Shore. They did about a dozen burglaries [amounting to] well over $1 million in assets.

“We locked them up, we put them in jail,” he continued. “The law went retroactive and released them out of jail. They were told to come get their ankle bracelets. They did not report. They’re probably sitting on a beach in Chile right now, enjoying a latte, watching this show.”

Anchor Brian Kilmeade then listed some crimes that no longer require bail in New York, including criminally negligent homicide, second-degree manslaughter, third-degree assault, burglary and stalking.

“Bail reform, justice reform it's not a bad thing,” Ryder said. “You need to look at certain items.

“You can't have an 18-year-old kid sitting in jail for marijuana for a week because he couldn't come up with the $500 worth of bail, but we don't let the same person walk out that commits a burglary in Nassau County, steals over $1 million, puts fear into an entire community and walks out,” he continued.

Ryder also referenced the fact that the top Democrat in the State Assembly said on Thursday that he wants to let the reforms play out without changes. The state assembly speaker Carl Heastie urged people last week to have patience with the newly implemented bail law.

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“We want safe communities, but it is important to have a criminal justice system that treats everybody fairly,” Heastie told reporters on Thursday.

“We study our history not to repeat our mistakes,” Ryder told Kilmeade. “Only time will tell. The speaker for the assembly Heastie says we need more time to see how it works. We've been in the criminal justice system for over 100 years, we know what we've done and the mistakes we’ve made. This is not a mistake.”

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Heastie’s colleague in the state Senate, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, said Democrats are watching to see if any “tweaks” are needed to the new bail reform law. But she maintained that Democrats don't want to criminalize poverty or continue with a broken system.

Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and the Associated Press contributed to this report.