Criminal justice law changes are coming with a price tag for prosecutors — a price tag Governor Andrew Cuomo says he won't pay.
Earlier this year, Cuomo and lawmakers agreed to change how evidence in criminal cases are handled. The evidence needs to be processed and turned over to the defense on a faster timetable. For district attorneys like Republican Tony Jordan, it's going to cost money.
"Put your money where your mouth is. If they believe this is an important reform, let's fund it so we can comply," Jordan said.
But Cuomo for the first time on Wednesday said he doesn't think local prosecutors need the added boost in cash, which would be put toward hiring more staff and upgrading technology to sift through the evidence.
"They've gotten a lot more funding; everybody always says they want more funding, this year funding is going to be a lot more difficult. We have a big Medicaid problem," Cuomo said.
Cuomo's office has previously said another criminal justice law change — ending cash bail for many charges — will lead to a decline in the number of people in county jails and savings the DAs can put toward discovery reform.
"I think they've gotten additional funding and they're getting additional funding. So no, I don't think they need more funding," Cuomo said.
But the issue doesn't just affect district attorneys. New York Attorney General Letitia James, a Cuomo ally, told reporters in Buffalo that she also needs more money to comply with the law.
"I support criminal justice reform but I do not support unfunded mandates and this is a mandate not only for the office of the attorney general, but district attorneys in 62 counties," James said.
The discovery law changes take effect in January.