It took nearly 10 years, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo may have finally miscalculated the politics he is so adept at.
Taxes, congestion pricing, rent regulation, gun control — he has never suffered much blowback, either because they are the right policies, or they’re too complex to grasp. But last year, when he eliminated cash bail for most alleged criminals, he may have given himself a dual headache: a “reform” that the public can instantly grasp was a bad idea, and one that is hard to fix without trading a lot of other things away to the emboldened state Legislature.
The law that Cuomo signed to end most cash bail — setting defendants free shortly after an arrest — isn’t what he said he would sign a year previously.
In January 2018, Cuomo said that “we must reform our bail system so a person is only held if a judge finds either a significant flight risk or a real threat to public safety.” All right.
But by January 2019, that critical “threat-to-public-safety” provision was gone. Last year, Cuomo said that he would eliminate “cash bail once and for all.”
And that is what the Legislature did. Only people accused of the most violent felonies will remain in jail before trial.
Non-violent felonies are often … violent. They include vehicular manslaughter and even some robbery, assault, kidnapping, stalking and regular manslaughter charges.
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