Across the country, we’re seeing movements achieve historic wins for fairness, racial justice, public health, and public safety. A new law ending cash bail in Illinois. Prosecutors in California, who care more about fairness than punishment. Marijuana legalization in New York that reinvests in communities. Yet prosecutors and police are fighting back with the same polarizing scare tactics that created mass incarceration to perpetuate it. We must demand justice not fear.

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At this pivotal moment, we should be building a fairer, safer future. Instead, our leaders are using fear to double down on the status quo.

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STORY COLLECTION FORM FOR PUBLIC DEFENDERS

Right now, pro-carceral law enforcement and prosecutors are cherry-picking outlier cases and misrepresenting facts, the law itself, and case outcomes to try to defeat New York’s bail and discovery reform. We hope to collect your real stories about people released under the bail law. Please submit only one case story per form and please be careful not to provide information that may identify the client. If you have any questions, please contact us at stories@justicenotfear.org.

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The Briefing:

The honest truth about bail reform written by criminal justice experts

08-03-2022 New York
New York Post Uses Unverified Police Data to Fearmonger

The New York Post fearmongered about repeat offenses and bail reform while parroting unverified NYPD to support their claims. Actual data shows that bail reform has succeeded in reducing the injustice of pretrial incarceration and upholding public safety.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False, Exploitative

The Latest Read more

Police data is unsubstantiated. Actual data shows that bail reform works.

07-26-2022 New York
Lee Zeldin Uses Campaign Rally Attack to Further False Agenda

GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has used an attack against him at a campaign event to lie to New Yorkers, falsely blaming the release of the man who attacked him on bail reform. Facts that emerged after the incident suggest otherwise: the Monroe County District Attorney, Sandra Doorley, was uncharacteristically lenient and chose not to charge a bail-eligible offense.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False, Lies, Corruption

The Latest Read more

The person in question was released because the Monroe County District Attorney, under questionable circumstances, chose not to charge a bail-eligible offense.

07-08-2022 New York
Commissioner Sewell Scapegoats Bail Reform for Increases in Certain Crimes

Last week, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell credited the Adams administration with the reported decrease in murders and shooting incidents, but said bail reform was to blame for rearrests of people charged with crimes. This is a baseless claim that represents a continuation of the same old tactics from the NYPD.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

There is no evidence that rearrests are tied to modest pretrial reform.

06-20-2022 New York
Fox News Repeats Lies from Nassau County Executive Falsely Tying Police Injury to Bail Reform

A Fox News story repeated false claims by Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, who spread misinformation by claiming that a man accused of injuring a police officer during a motor vehicle theft in 2020 was free because of bail reform.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

The man was not free because of bail reform, and it is a lie to suggest otherwise.

06-15-2022 New York
New York City Council Member James Gennaro Spreads Lies About Bail Reform, Misrepresents Impact to Back False Claims

New York City Council Member James Gennaro spread misinformation and fearmongered about bail, discovery, and other modest criminal legal reforms. His claims were amplified by news outlets including QNS.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

“Dangerousness” has never been a standard for setting bail in New York, and the state definitively declined to adopt it in the 1970s—and for good reason.

06-09-2022 New York
The New York Post Again Falsely Blames Bail Reform for Unrelated Pretrial Release

The New York Post falsely claimed that a man was freed because of pretrial reforms.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

No pre-trial reforms impacted this case in any way.

06-06-2022 New York
Mayor Eric Adams Lies About Impacts of Modest Reforms, Calls for Racist So-Called “Dangerousness” Standard Despite Data

Mayor Adams falsely claimed that people on their ninth arrest and those accused of shootings and other violent felony offenses are not having bail set because of modest pre-trial reforms.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering, Misleading

The Latest Read more

Pre-trial reform has had no impact on these types of cases.

05-18-2022 New York
Rep. Tom Suozzi Attempts to Connect Buffalo Shooting to Bail Reform

Gubernatorial candidate Rep. Tom Suozzi falsely claimed that New York’s bail reform laws were connected to the mass shooting in Buffalo by a white supremacist.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

The Buffalo shooter had no prior convictions and was not out on bail.

05-11-2022 New York
Mayor Adams Falsely Blames Bronx Shooting on Bail Reform

Mayor Eric Adams falsely blamed a recent shooting on bail reform when the person involved was, according to police, awaiting sentencing after having pled guilty. Anything that happens after trial or a plea has been taken has no connection to bail whatsoever.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

The shooting that took place in the Bronx on Tuesday night has no connection to pretrial freedom. Anything that happens after trial or a plea has been taken has no connection to bail whatsoever.

05-10-2022 New York
Monroe County Sheriff Lies About Bail Reform

The Monroe County Sheriff attempted to tie bail reform to a recent rise in shootings without supportive data. This increase is occurring in jurisdictions across the country and is not tied to bail reform.

Fact Check: False, Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Just yesterday, the C.D.C issued a report on surging nation-wide gun deaths in the pandemic’s first year. This increase is occurring in jurisdictions across the country and is not tied to bail reform.

03-17-2022 New York
Despite Facts, Gov. Hochul Caves to Fearmongering on Bail

Gov. Hochul’s proposal to roll back modest reforms threatens hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers. It is based on a concerted disinformation campaign by anti-reform officials and lobbyists.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

All New Yorkers deserve safety, and the safest communities have the greatest resources—not the highest incarceration rates.

03-15-2022 New York
NYPD Commissioner Lies About Bail Reform, Calls for Racist “Dangerousness” Standard

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell has joined calls to roll back bail reform, falsely claiming that judges are legally prohibited from ever setting bail.

Fact Check: Fearmongering, False

The Latest Read more

The law, C.P.L. § 510.10, defines bail-eligible charges. These include felonies classified as violent, certain misdemeanors including sexual offenses, any charge against a person on parole or probation, and certain rearrests for otherwise non-bail-eligible charges.

See All

The Latest

NBC Think: What the alleged attack on Giuliani reveals about his policing legacy

"Giuliani has repeatedly attacked New York’s modest bail reform laws...Although data has consistently shown no decrease in public safety due to bail reform, Adams continues to scapegoat the law, exploiting legitimate safety concerns and distracting from true solutions to violence."

Another Voice: Bail reform rollbacks are an attack on communities of color

"Our leaders should be demanding more pretrial freedom, not less. Increasing pretrial incarceration does not advance public safety and won’t help strengthen our communities."

Washington Post: Bail reform did not spike crime

"Rising gun violence over the past two years makes bail reform and other common-sense measures an easy target. However, when we blame the wrong cause, we miss the opportunity to identify the right solutions."

Legal Aid Society: Statewide Survey Shows Success of Discovery Reform

"The survey results revealed that the vast majority of criminal defense attorneys across New York State believe that discovery reform has achieved the desired results and has positively impacted not only their ability to provide competent representation, but also the fairness of New York’s criminal justice system."

City and State: Why bail reform is worth defending from politicization

"In over 40 years in criminal justice, I’ve often witnessed elected officials seek to aggrandize themselves during times of heightened fear. That is how the current era of mass incarceration was born."

AMNY: Families of those deceased in city jails urge Governor to halt bail policy changes: letter

"'Melania Brown, Akeem Browder, and many more who have been bound together through the pain of losing a loved one behind bars have dedicated their lives to preventing other families from experiencing that same grief. However, these brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters turned activists now believe there will be a lot more grief spread if the Governor continues her present course."

City Limits: Gov. Hochul’s Bail Plan Will Upend Years of Reform While Failing to Address Safety

"With just days remaining before New York State’s budget deadline, Hochul’s last minute plan—which was dropped on the same day of another tragic death at Rikers Island—would roll back bail reform and expand pretrial detention rates statewide, while doing nothing to advance true safety."

NY Daily News: The governor’s plan will create more Kalief Browders

"The death of my brother Kalief Browder sparked an international outcry — not just because of the terrible injustices he faced, but because he defied the odds, refused to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit, and demanded fairness. In honor of his fight, I have been demanding fairness, too, through the Kalief Browder Foundation. Now is a moment we must all rise up to stop a new plan by Gov. Hochul that could lead to countless more tragedies like the one my family suffered."

NY Daily News: Bail reform isn’t driving NYC’s crime increase

"Some pundits and policymakers are still blaming New York’s bail reform legislation for recent rises in violent crime. But what we know so far does not support this claim. Indeed, new data suggests that our state’s enactment of bail reform did not drive the increases in violent crime. Rather than rehashing the bail reform debate, it’s time for Albany to look for effective, community-led solutions to violent crime."

Brennan Center: The Facts on Bail Reform and Crime Rates

"There is no clear connection between recent crime increases and the bail reform law enacted in 2019, and the data does not currently support further revisions to the legislation."

NY Daily News: There is ‘no evidence’ bail reform rollback would cut crime: NYC Comptroller Brad Lander

"'The data is clear that bail reform is not a contributor to the increase in crime,' Lander told the Daily News. 'I think it’s important to base our policy on facts rather than fear. So whatever people’s position is, I hope they will just take a look at the data.'"

Gothamist: Spike in violence unrelated to NY bail reforms, Sen. Krueger says

"'The data continues to reflect that the changes we made in bail are not correlated to the growth in gun violence or physical violence towards others on the streets,' [Sen. Kreuger] said Friday."

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