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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.

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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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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Please share links to media that disseminates misinformation about the legal system, reform efforts, and/or the people directly impacted.

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The Briefing:

The honest truth about bail reform written by criminal justice experts

09-26-2020 New York
Sinclair Media/CBS 6 Amplifies Police and Prosecutor Lies on Bail Reform

Law Enforcement Supporting Republican State Legislators Renew Baseless Fear-Mongering Ahead of Election

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

As with the prior bail statute, judges have discretion to set bail or not and those who can afford it may pay bail and secure their release.

03-10-2020 New York
PBA President Pat Lynch

PBA President Pat Lynch Smears Reform in Radio Ad: Spreading disinformation in an attempt to tie a man’s alleged crimes to criminal justice reform

Fact Check: Lies/Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Reform had no impact on these cases.

03-08-2020 New York
CBS Albany

CBS Albany Cites Police Chief in Spreading Disinformation

Fact Check: Misleading & Lies

The Latest Read more

CBS Albany falsely attributes a person’s release to bail reform and repeats fearmongering list from police to smear new discovery reform

03-06-2020 New York
NYPD & Mayor Bill de Blasio

NYPD Continues Attempt to Falsely Connect Criminal Justice Reform to Crime, Mayor Tells Public Defenders Questioning Police Data to be "Ashamed"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Statistics have simply not borne out the doomsday predictions that pro-police groups have been making.

02-28-2020 New York
New York Daily News

Man accused of breaking MetroCard machines released pre-trial under supervision.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

“We have to stop blaming bail reform for failures of our social safety net and we must recognize the previous approach failed in much more traumatic ways.”

02-28-2020 New York
Cortland Voice

Correction: "Wagner was released to alternatives to incarceration. The bail reform laws enacted Jan. 1 did not affect the purview of the Judge regarding his bail status."

Fact Check: Corrected

The Latest Read more

Rape charges and all sex offenses, including misdemeanor sex offenses, remain eligible for money bail and pre-trial jailing under the new laws.

02-20-2020 New York
Rockland County Sheriff Louis Falco

"Library security guard's accused killer was free without bail on attempted rape charge"

Fact Check: Lies

The Latest Read more

It is simply inaccurate to state that bail reform was the reason for this person’s release. Judges had discretion to detain.

02-20-2020 New York
Yates County DA, Todd Casella

"District Attorney blames Bail Reform for man's overdose death."

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

A prosecutor exploits a death to smear bail reform by suggesting, wrongly, that jail was the best place for someone struggling with substance use disorder.

02-19-2020 New York
Times Union

Bail Reform Blamed for Teenagers' Release

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The bail statute does not apply post-conviction. This incident is in no way connected to bail reform.

02-16-2020 New York
New York Post

"Brooklyn judge uses forgotten state law to bypass bail reform"

Fact Check: False

The Latest Read more

The law wasn't "forgotten." The law that the Judge cited is actually a key provision of the new bail reform law.

02-14-2020 New York
Nassau County Legislature

Nassau Legislators: "New York State’s controversial bail reform is putting public safety at risk"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Outlier cases are being exploited by GOP officials to undermine bail reform as part of a continuing disinformation campaign.

02-13-2020 New York
NY Daily News

"Bail Reform Blamed for Man's Lengthy Record"

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Latest Read more

Rikers Doctor: "We have to stop blaming bail reform for failures of our social safety net and we must recognize the previous approach failed in much more traumatic ways."

See All

The Latest

Times Union Editorial Board: Editorial: Get facts before revising bail reforms

"From the start of the debate over criminal justice reform in New York, some people were simply against any substantive change. And with little more evidence than they had two years ago, they continue to oppose it."

Confusion continues around bail reform data: Understanding how ‘qualifying offenses’ play a role

“Data shows that a small percentage of people who qualify for a bailable offense commit a second crime.”

Bail reform success story

“The Times Union’s coverage of new data on New York’s bail reforms continues a multi-year trend of media stories credulously parroting police union talking points. But while the story emphasizes a relatively small percentage of re-arrests for alleged violent crime, the numbers themselves reveal a bail reform success story.”

Stewart-Cousins defends bail changes at event on gun violence

"State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins defended the state's bail changes during an event on gun violence this week with Gov. Kathy Hochul."

Reject calls to revoke bail reform

“During the current state legislative session, several prosecutors and law enforcement officials will pressure senators and Assembly members to roll back bail reform measures passed in 2019. Those changes in law were intended to root out systemic flaws that contributed to racial disparities among those incarcerated prior to trial.”

Op-ed: Ending cash bail will improve public safety

"Public safety is not improved by money bond and pretrial incarceration. It’s why the two major statewide anti-domestic violence coalitions supported the plan to end money bond that passed through the General Assembly earlier this month."

Illinois May Be First State to Eliminate Money Bail, But the Fight Isn’t Over

"The Pretrial Fairness Act will make Illinois’s pretrial system a national model. In addition to ending money bail, a variety of other provisions will improve the fairness of the state’s pretrial system and ensure that the vast majority of people are released before trial."

New no cash bail law provides hope for those in Chicago who’ve been unable to pay

"The law will bring 'hope into the Black and Brown community,' which has been impacted by pretrial incarceration. 'People who are coming home or have charges, making sure they are able to still work, provide for their families and try to put programs into the communities.'"

Illinois Will End Cash Bail - And Limit Use of High-Tech Incarceration

"The reforms will avoid the most dangerous pitfalls of quietly emerging 'alternatives' to money bail: algorithms that predict peoples’ 'risk' and detain those given higher scores, and surveillance devices that track people who maintain legal freedom before trial."

Illinois poised to become first state to end wealth-based pre-trial detention

"Numerous studies have shown that bail does little to achieve its intended purpose of ensuring court attendance – people released on their own recognizance were just as likely to come back to court for their trials as people who posted money bond and no more likely to reoffend awaiting trial."

Did Illinois get bail reform right? Criminal justice advocates are optimistic

"The bill is very well thought through and has real potential. By seeing the experiments in other jurisdictions, Illinois was able to really try to mitigate against falling into some of those same pitfalls."

Let’s Stop Pointing Fingers and Solve This Violence Problem Together

"Pointing fingers of blame will not make us any safer. It won’t bring us any closer to justice. It won’t stop the shooting or the looting, and our communities deserve more."

Local Jurisdictions

Illinois

New York