Bail Reform Falsely Tied to Tragic Manhattan Crime

A tragic and troubling crime is being falsely tied to bail reform in the media this week, distracting from the ongoing success of bail reform

Fact Check: False

The Briefing

A tragic and troubling crime is being falsely tied to bail reform in the media this week. The man accused of the crime was released from pretrial detention in 2020 because prosecutors violated his right to a speedy trial, not because of bail reform. He also had already pleaded guilty, so bail was no longer an issue in his case. The bottom line is this case has nothing to do with bail reform. 

Bail was set in this case

His underlying arrest came in April 2019, eight months before bail reform went into effect in New York. The man was arrested and arraigned on felony charges, and a judge set bail at $250,000. The man spent 10 months in pretrial detention, including three months in 2020 after bail reform went into effect.

Bail reform did not affect anyone already detained on an eligible offense – in this case, second-degree burglary as a sexually motivated felony – when the bail reform laws went into effect in January 2020. Bail reform only affected some misdemeanors and non-violent felonies.

Prosecutors failed to meet speedy trial requirements

Public records show that the man was released in March 2020 because the prosecution failed to be ready for trial within the statutory allowable time.  The United States Constitution and New York statutes give people accused of crimes certain fundamental rights, including the right to a speedy trial. The State cannot hold someone accused of a crime in jail indefinitely. Without such protection, the State could hold people in jail for as long as it wants without bringing forward any evidence to prove its case. In New York, these laws are as old as the criminal legal system itself.

Prosecutors failed to move forward with the man’s case pursuant to New York’s speedy trial rules, so the man was released from pretrial detention. However, the case was not dropped. Records indicate that the case was resolved in August 2022 when the man took a plea deal that resulted in an agreement to complete an outpatient treatment program.

After August 2022, the man was at liberty because of the plea agreement he reached with prosecutors, not because of anything related to bail reform.

Misleading information in news articles distracts from the ongoing success of bail reform. Bail reform in New York is a massive success. It upholds public safety and is not connected to any increases in crime, while protecting freedom and promoting fiscal responsibility.

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