Today, Assemblywoman Mary Beth Walsh (R,C,I-Ballston) joined her colleagues at a press conference condemning the newly implemented bail ‘reform’ changes. In addition to her Republican colleagues, Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen, Schoharie County Sheriff Ronald R. Stevens and family members of victims who have been impacted by the new criminal justice reforms were also in attendance.
Sheila Harris is the cousin of Rosie Osai who was killed on Dec. 24 by an unlicensed, hit-and-run driver who was released without bail. Jennifer Payne, who was also in attendance, is the mother of Sarah Tombs who was shot and killed in April 2019 by her live-in boyfriend who was released last week. Just two instances of the several examples that have been reported since the new law took effect on January 1.
“It is not right for family members, like Sheila Harris and Jennifer Payne, to experience the pain and grief of losing a loved one while their perpetrators walk free. These offenders and repeat-offenders are not the victims, and they should not be treated as such. The real victims, who have seemingly been forgotten, are losing faith in the criminal justice system and are left fearing for their lives.
“Input from judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agencies was not factored into the creation of this law, and now, they are figuratively handcuffed, unable to use discretion or consider public safety into any bail decisions,” said Walsh.
“We have seen the headlines. We have heard the heartbreaking stories. This cannot continue. We need to repeal this law and start with a clean slate, allowing us to move forward with the reforms that are necessary to improve our criminal justice system while also keeping the safety of all New Yorkers at the forefront of any future changes. I call on my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to listen to the actual victims and their families, and work with us to make bipartisan change now,” she adds.