New Bail Reform Bill Should Have Passed In The First Place

It must be summer time, because five Democrats in Long Island are wearing flip flops right now.

Two months ago, Long Island Democrats Democrats James Gaughran, Monica Martinez, John Brooks, Anna Kaplan and Kevin Thomas were among the 40 senators who voted for legislation to eliminate most cash bail as part of the state’s 2019-20 budget. Fast forward a couple of months and the five senators have teamed up on legislation that would drastically expand the types of offenses that would allow a judge to send someone to jail or require bail.

Of course, their legislation stands little to no chance of being passed during this legislative session or any other, for that matter. The Democratic leadership in the Senate, Assembly and governor’s office have long wanted bail reform. They’re not going to let their long-sought victory be watered down because four freshman legislators and one sophomore legislator have gotten cold feet.

That’s too bad, too, because the Democrats’ bill is likely the type of bail reform legislation that should have been passed in the first place. It’s hard to believe there were 40 people in the state Senate who voted for bail reform in March and didn’t realize that someone who commits a form of manslaughter or who sells a firearm to a child might be a danger to the public who should be subject to jail or bail. Forty people had no qualms with a law that lets someone charged with money laundering in support of terrorism ineligible for bail. High-level felony drug crimes, assaults, aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular homicide, grand larceny, criminal possession of a weapon and crimes related to possessing obscene sexual performances by children are all among items that Gaughram, Martinez, Brooks, Kaplan and Thomas all of a sudden think should be subject to bail or jail.

That’s a heck of an oversight, isn’t it?