New bail reform laws are now in effect, meaning a number of cases are already being reviewed and some defendants could be released under the new legislation. Included on that list is a man accused of killing a woman in July.
Albany County District Attorney David Soares is not hiding his displeasure, saying this is how things now are in the state of New York.
Paul Barbaritano appeared before a judge Thursday morning and will now be released from Albany County Jail. Barbaritano is facing a second-degree manslaughter charge, accused of causing the death of 29-year-old Nicole Jennings. Officials said Jennings was found in an Albany apartment with her throat cut.
In court, the district attorney’s office argued Barbaritano has made admissions he caused her death, but under new guidelines, second-degree manslaughter is not considered serious enough for a judge to set bail.
"We’ve been painted as fearmongers, and what you’ve observed today in court is the new reality," Soares said. "This is what the new criminal justice system in New York will be moving forward."
Barbaritano is expected to be released Thursday. Albany Police Officers Union President Gregory McGee released a statement saying the decision was causing further harm to the Albany police and Jennings' family.
The Albany County Public Defenders Office also offered its own perspective, saying Barbaritano’s release is the result of laws designed to “promote fair and equal justice.”
In a statement released Thursday, the office said Barbaritano will be connected to mental health services and treatment. They argue Jennings’ death was the result of “a horrific accident” and Barbaritano was trying to save her, not kill her.
The district attorney’s office says it is considering presenting a second-degree murder charge before a grand jury.