Gerod Woodberry was accused of stealing from several banks. The non-violent incidents involved no weapons or threats of violence but rather a note passed to a teller stating “this is a robbery.” He voluntarily surrendered himself to the NYPD.
A Trump-appointed U.S. Attorney took over the case and falsely suggested the new bail law required Mr. Woodberry’s release after multiple arrests. However, this was merely another example of an opportunistic and dishonest attack on bail reform, this time using federal resources to undermine laws passed by New York State. Under the current statute, Mr. Woodberry was eligible to have bail set when he charged with a felony, including a non-violent felony, while released on a pending felony case.
Mr. Woodberry’s lawyer, Samuel I. Jacobsen, responded to the U.S. Attorney’s baseless claims by saying, “The United States attorney has said that no sane or rational system would release Mr. Woodberry, but that’s not the question.The question is whether a sane or rational system locks people presumed innocent in cages simply because they are too poor to post bail.”
Similarly, NYS Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens said, “There is a tremendous amount of manipulation and demagoguery going on by those who don’t want to see the days of mass incarceration come to an end. There is at best a misunderstanding, and at worst an intentional misrepresentation, of what the new law requires.”