Advocates are hopeful a Democrat-led state government leads to passage of criminal justice reforms.

One big issue is known as "discovery reform." It would give defense attorneys better access to the evidence against their clients.

Currently, when it comes to criminal trials, district attorneys are not compelled by law to disclose witness statements or police reports to the defense until immediately before the trial actually begins. Defense attorneys say this leaves them and their clients in the dark, or "blindfolded." New York is one of just four states that allows this process.

Barry Scheck is the Co-Director of the Innocence Project at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law.