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Cuomo vetoes expansion of charitable bail organizations, PD access to client records

Dec 16, 2019 1:30 pm
Dan M. Clark is reporting for the New York Law Journal Gov. Andrew Cuomo Fri., Dec. 13, vetoed two bills that would have expanded the operations of charitable bail organizations and given public defenders easier access to their clients’ records. In his veto messages, Cuomo said both bills were unnecessary given the changes to the state's criminal justice laws set to go into effect next month. The more controversial of the two vetoed bills would have allowed charitable bail organizations to post up to $10,000 in bail for a defendant, an increase from the $2,000 they’re allowed to offer now. It also would have allowed charitable bail organizations to operate in more areas outside New York City, and have permitted those groups to post bail for defendants in cases where the charges against them would still be bail-eligible under the new laws. The bill's sponsor, state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, a Democrat from the Bronx, said in a statement that Cuomo’s office had agreed to sign the bill when a final version was negotiated earlier this year. He called the governor's veto an affront to the state's justice reforms. The second vetoed bill was approved by the state Legislature in June in a nearly unanimous vote, and would have allowed public defenders and administrators of assigned counsel plans to gain access to their clients’ criminal history reports. Under the current law those attorneys do not have direct access to those files, which are housed by the state. Cuomo wrote in his veto message the new changes to the state’s criminal discovery laws will make the bill unnecessary and would have imposed an unfunded fiscal burden on the state's Division of Criminal Justice Services. Read the full story in the New York Law Journal.
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