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

09-27-2022 New York
Nassau County Leaders Ignore Local Success, Amplify Lies About Bail Reform

Elected officials from Nassau County, the safest county in America for the two years since bail reform was enacted falsely blamed bail reform for crime and call on the New York State Legislature to needlessly revisit the modest laws.

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

The coalition of Nassau County mayors continued to amplify misinformation and ignore recent data from their own County police force that points to the ongoing success of bail reform.

09-19-2022 New York
Commissioner Sewell falsely links NYC rearrests to bail reform

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell politicized crime to call for further unnecessary and costly changes to modest bail reform

Fact Check: False

The Truth Read more

New Yorkers – including NYPD Commissioner Sewell – should be celebrating the public policy success of New York bail reform, not lying to try to protect the status quo.

09-19-2022 New York
Johnson City New York Police Department Lies Bail Reform Released Person Accused of Rape

An upstate New York police department brazenly lied to the public when it claimed that bail reform was responsible for a judge’s decision to release a person without setting bail after being charged with first-degree rape.

Fact Check: Lies

The Truth Read more

First degree rape – like all violent felonies and numerous non-violent felonies and misdemeanors – is eligible for bail in New York. This was true before bail reform and remains true today.

08-17-2022 New York
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman Orders Crime Data Report to Smear Bail Reform, Plays Himself

In January, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman issued an executive order ordering the collection of crime data, confident that the information would back his relentless assault on bail reform laws. Instead, the data released this month support the truth: Bail reform does not lead to a rise in crime.

Fact Check: Fearmongering

The Truth Read more

Bail reform does not lead to a rise in crime.

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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth 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 Truth Read more

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

See All

The Latest

Cash bond reforms will make Illinois more fair

"Instead of prioritizing safety and using data to inform our pretrial policies, we have allowed fear to drive our policies and created a biased system that benefits those with financial means."

State Senator: Ending money bond won’t be the doomsday some are predicting

“By focusing on the risk an individual may pose to another person’s safety — and not their financial means — the Pretrial Fairness Act ensures that the safety of our communities is the central factor in a judge’s decision on whether to release someone pretrial.”

Ending cash bond in Illinois will make communities safer

“[The SAFE-T Act is] a way to make it safer in our communities, not less safe. The more people that understand that, the more we will be able to move to a society and a justice system that better addresses the needs of communities and not just the needs of people who can pay for themselves when they are accused of a crime”

There’s no ‘Purge Law’: Debunking right-wing propaganda about the SAFE-T Act’

“Republican elected officials and their allies have incessantly spread myths, half-truths, and obvious falsehoods about the SAFE-T Act.”

Rockford Clergy Members Show Support For Ending Cash Bail In Illinois

“When I tell you that I’m in favor of the Pretrial Fairness Act, ending money bond and reducing the number of people in our jails it’s because I’ve studied this and I know this is the right thing for my community and my state.”

State senators: This holiday, there’s no panacea for Chicago’s gun violence. Let’s find real solutions.

“It is well documented that overreliance on jailing does not reduce violence; it intensifies it. Pretrial incarceration makes people more likely to be arrested in the future, even when they are found innocent.”

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."

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