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Proposed Bill Would Limit Circumvention Of Bail Reform

At least one New York City Democrat wants to punish prosecutors and police agencies throughout the state if they aren’t properly enforcing the state’s bail reform laws.

Legislation was introduced by Sen. James Sanders, D-New York City, and then quickly stricken from the state Senate because of an issue with the bill’s enacting clause. Sanders’ legislation would create a new crime of criminal circumvention of bail reform to prevent a prosecutor, district attorney, law enforcement officer, law enforcement organizations, public servants or employees or agents of a public organization from circumventing the state’s bail reform laws.

Sanders wrote that the legislation prohibits law enforcement agencies from taking acts to disobey the bail reform laws by encouraging and teaching others on ways to circumvent the law.

“Prior to and since the inception of the bail reform law, it has been documented that certain prosecutors from certain district attorney’s office and law enforcement organizations have been conducting training sessions throughout the state teaching prosecutors and law enforcement officers how to circumvent the law,” Sanders wrote in his legislative justification. “The unwillingness to not follow the law has resulted in defendants being overcharged for a crime they did not commit, request significantly higher bail, or asks the court to require a defendant to check in regularly while on bail with the hope he or she misses a check in in order to have them rearrested with higher charges or on a bail violation.”

Among actions Sanders is attempting to criminalize are inflating charges against someone or hiring an outside independent contractor to create a plan to inflate charges. Criminal circumvention of bail reform would be a class A misdemeanor, which comes with a maximum sentence of one year in jail or three years probation as well as a fine of up to $1,000.

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