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Columbia County supervisors ask state to hold off, modify bail reform

Dec 20, 2019 12:45 pm
Jeanette Wolfberg is reporting for The Columbia Paper the Columbia County Board of Supervisors December 11, voted to urge the state of New York to delay implementation and to modify its new bail reform law, calling it “a clear and present danger to society." The new law is scheduled to take effect January 1. Nineteen supervisors voted in favor of a resolution that called for the legislation to be expanded to include the types of crimes for which bail could be imposed, as well as a requirement that victims of the alleged crime be notified of the accused's court appearance dates. One of the six supervisors who voted against the measure, Hudson 3rd Ward Supervisor Michael Chameides said the day following the vote, “It’s so important that we treat people equally regardless of income. It’s so arbitrary when somebody who has not been found guilty languishes in a holding cell, sometimes for weeks, because they can’t afford bail. ...” Ancram Supervisor Art Bassin pointed out many of the supervisors had not seen the resolution until too near the vote to discuss it thoughtfully. To decide whether to detain someone based on whether they can pay bail is “intrinsically unfair,” he said, urging instead, “Let the law go into effect and see how it works.” Bassin also noted that keeping people in jail is “terribly expensive” for the county and the state. Read the full story in The Columbia Paper.
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