A Texas man was arrested and arraigned on burglary and larceny charges three different times in 24 hours in Oneida County, but because of the New York state bail reform law, he was released without posting bail, according to authorities.
After the individual's fourth alleged offense, a burglary, the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office filed a motion with the court to ask that bail be set.
Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol says such situations show why bail reform has gone too far.
What You Need To Know
- A Texas man is charged with four crimes in Oneida County
- He was release three times because of bail reform laws, according to authorities
- Bail reform was implemented in January of 2020
Enacted in January 2020, the law no longer requires cash bail for most misdemeanors and non-violent crimes. The purpose of the reform was to reduce the number of incarcerated people who cannot afford bail.
“Our job is to keep people safe," Maciol said. "Our job is to keep crime victims safe. When the system continuously allows these people to walk back out and re-commit and create additional crime victims, that’s very frustrating and that’s wrong.”
Maciol says many of the changes came because of issues at Rikers Island, a prison located in the Bronx.
He says bail reform needs to be reformed.
“The easiest way to simplify this whole bail issue is to give judges discretion,” Maciol said.
Genesee Valley Regional Director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New York Iman Abid-Thompson says judges do have discretion in certain cases and offenses.
“There are other ways that a judge can impose someone’s return to court. It doesn’t have to be cash bail," Abid-Thompson said. "We know that cash bail can really cause people to lose their families, their jobs, their cars, and the people that we spoke to here across Upstate New York, and that is happening and that’s why we chose to advocate for the reform law.”
There are a list of crimes eligible for bail reform in New York.
“Let’s get rid of the list because you can have a very dangerous person committing a series of minor offenses, and if we aren’t able to hold them, then obviously, a bad thing can happen. Like I said on the flip side, someone may be facing some relatively significant charges, but they’re not bad people. It would be much better for them to be out in the community instead of being locked up in jail,” Maciol said.
Abid-Thompson says she has seen fear-mongering tactics used by law enforcement across the state to cause illegitimate fear that bail reform is releasing criminals.
“Is incarcerating people only continuing to keep people safe? And is incarcerating only those who can’t afford bail keeping people safe? Because what you’re saying, and what they’re saying is that it’s OK to release someone on bail as long as they can afford it. So those people are out in the community regardless, so why is that alright?"
"If we keep them in jail and don’t let them come out and then we’re still paying the freight for their children going to school, taxes, then we all complain about the fact that we don’t want to add to the social service roles," said Linda Brown, regional director for NAACP Upstate NY. "Well, you’re adding to the social service freight by not allowing them to continue to be productive members of society.”
Maciol concluded, “Clearly, the system is not working the way it was designed to, and it needs to change.”
After a Texas man committed four felonies within a 24 hr period in Oneida County, Sheriff Robert Maciol says this is why the NYS bail reform needs to be changed. However, a member from the ACLU of NY and NAACP say otherwise. Tune into @SPECNews1CNY pic.twitter.com/28QbzCC4dA— Shalon Stevens (@shalonstevenstv) October 29, 2021