This column first appeared in the Washington Times.
While the nation has been distracted by Democrats in Washington as they try to remove a duly-elected president from his office, that same political party continues to put its stamp of chaos on the city and state of New York.
Let this sink in: Thousands of hardened criminals and dangerous suspects are walking free or will be soon in the Empire State thanks to what was dubbed a new “bail reform” law. This new law allows the immediate release, without bail, of what the people of New York were told were accused “nonviolent felonies” and certain misdemeanors.
The new law does more than eliminate bail requirements of thousands of suspects; it ties the hands of judges eliminating their ability to use their own discretion. Instead, judges are forced to release suspects with the simple hope that they will show up in court for their next hearing.
Predictably, even before the law became official on Jan. 1, 2020, New Yorkers (and the nation) saw news reports that shocked the conscience of all of us who rely on law enforcement and the justice system to keep innocent people safe in their own communities.
Among those who’ve been released so far: An alleged serial bank robber, an alleged serial slugger (and I’m not speaking of the baseball type) and a woman who allegedly physically attacked multiple Jewish women while screaming Jew-hating insults at them. That is a classic hate crime.
For a law that is supposed to only release nonviolent felons and those who have committed misdemeanors, you might be wondering how this has happened? How it happened is by design of the Democratic-controlled legislature in Albany. There’s an actual list of crimes that fall under the bail reform law, which is extensive. But here’s just a taste of the kinds of suspects who Democrats think should be allowed to roam the streets:
• Using a child to commit a controlled substance crime.
• Criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near a school. In other words, someone dealing drugs to children in school.
• Third-degree assault as a hate crime.
• Reckless assault of a child by a day-care provider.
• Menacing as a hate crime.
• Criminal obstruction of breathing, which means, of course, strangling someone.
• Various degrees of arson.
• Killing a police dog or police horse. Keep in mind police dogs and police horses are officers of the law, but now you can kill one and be treated as though you are a jaywalker.
• Pointing a laser at an aircraft.
• Money laundering in support of terrorism, multiple counts.
The Democrats have created a revolving door of criminality that would impress even Franz Kafka.
On Jan. 6, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo finally responded to the chaos that was unfolding and noted, “We are going to work on it because there are consequences we have to adjust for. … There’s no doubt this is still a work in progress and there are other changes that have to be made.”
The new soft-on-crime bail reform also played a key role in the whirlwind Brooklyn case of Tiffany Harris, who was twice released without bail despite getting arrested three times in five days on assault charges. She’s accused of attacking multiple Jewish women. She was finally ordered held for a psychiatric evaluation earlier this month after her latest bust. This result leaves many wondering: Is the justice system now resorting to psych holds on a possible hate crime suspect as it’s the only way to get her off the street? How is that “justice reform?”
Then there is Jared Woodbury, a serial bank robber in Manhattan. He pulled four robberies at Chase banks throughout Manhattan. The New York Post reported, “because Woodbury allegedly robbed using a note, rather than a gun, no New York jail can currently hold him, no matter how many times he strikes. His alleged grand larcenies are classified as non-violent felonies … meaning no judge can order him held pending trial.”
After his arrest and release, Mr. Woodbury said, “I can’t believe they let me out!” as he gathered his property at One Police Plaza. … The police are hunting again for Mr. Woodbury and if they do find him for this fifth bank robbery in Brooklyn, he will again be released.
Former NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton had this to say during a radio interview on “bail reform”: “It’s a mess. It’s more than a mess, it’s a disgrace in terms of what they put forth and as the public learns more about it the outrage will build and hopefully they’ll reform the reforms.”
Moreover, the Democrat and Chronicle reported, “In recent weeks counties in the state were estimating about 3800 inmates total would need to be released who are already in jail awaiting trial, a survey by USA Today Network New York found. This includes an estimated 880 in New York City.”
The obvious immediate simple solution would be to give judges discretion about whom to release into the community. But this legislating of failure and chaos is not new. Somehow for Democrats, there’s no consideration of the impact of their folly on other people. Whether it be Obamacare and the loss of health insurance, with premiums that skyrocketed by thousands of dollars after promising the opposite. We now have the “criminal justice” reform gaslighting the population into supporting something that is actually the complete opposite of what is promised.
In other words, it’s another day in another city and another state that is controlled completely by Democrats.