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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 to fear-monger and try to defeat New York's bail reform. This form is intended to help start the process of collecting as many real stories about people released under the new bail law in a way that is both easy for busy public defenders and that also protects client confidences. Please submit only one client or 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.

PERSONAL INFORMATION OF PERSON SUBMITTING:

PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION:

CASE AND CLIENT INFORMATION:

Mandatory release

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Release Conditions

Services Provided (Check One or More)

Anything Specific About the Client That Is Helpful to Know (Check One or More)

Collateral Consequences Avoided (Check One or More)

Appearances in Court

Case Outcome (If Closed)

Case Still Open?

Report Fear

PERSONAL INFORMATION OF PERSON SUBMITTING:

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Report Fear

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

Report Truth

It is just as important to share truthful, reasoned sources on the same topic. Please share if you can.



THE DAILY DEBUNK:

Rapid Response to Lies, Mistruths, & Fearmongering

04-19-2021 Chicago
ABC 7 Sensationalizes Criminal Record of Shooting Victim

"Young girl's father, who was also shot, has long criminal record, according to records obtained by the I-Team."

Fact Check: Sensationalism

The Truth Read more

ABC's "reporting" uses a horrific tragedy to blame a shooting victim for his and his daughter's own death, while insinuating that he should never have been paroled.

04-19-2021 Chicago
Lori Lightfoot Fearmongers Over Electronic Surveillance

“This is madness that we are allowing really violent people back out on the street with ankle bracelets or some other form of pre-trial release and they’re terrorizing our communities over and over again."

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

According to Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans, “99.8% of felony defendants released on bail don’t receive charges of new gun-related violent crime while their cases are pending.”

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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth Read more

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

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 Truth 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.

02-28-2020 New York
New York Daily News

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

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth 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.”

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

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

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth 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.

02-20-2020 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 Truth Read more

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

02-19-2020 New York
Times Union

Bail Reform Blamed for Teenagers' Release

Fact Check: False

The Truth 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 Truth Read more

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

See All

The Truth

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."

The Complicated Truth about Chicago Crime

"[C]rime and violence have complicated causes, and any simple diagnosis is likely to be deficient, if not entirely wrong. In this case, there is no reason to put much stock in these claims."

After Recent Unrest, Chicago Leaders Are Pointing Fingers In All The Wrong Places

"In difficult moments like this, we can’t let bad faith attacks set our community back. What our families need are resources and investment, not more police on the streets."

There can be no justice in raised bridges

"It’s explained to us that it’s hard to have compassion for looters because their response to the violence of systemic racism and inequality is illegal, and it is violent. These are false choices aimed at dividing us."

Dispatch: Chicago Mayor's Flailing Response to Recent Unrest

Alderman of Chicago's 25th Ward, Byron Sigcho-Lopez: "Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is offering a punitive status quo be imposed on those arrested during recent protests."

Chairs of Assembly Health Committee: "Prisons Are “A Pot of Bubbling Contagion”

"In light of the spread of COVID-19, a coalition of civil rights leaders and medical professionals are urging lawmakers in Albany to do two things: reject any rollbacks to bail reform and decrease the prison population around the state immediately."

Local Jurisdictions

Chicago

New York