Last week, Staten Island Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis—who happens to be running for Congress—sounded an alarm. Again.

“This evening,” the 2017 Republican candidate for mayor said in a November 21 statement, “victims, parents, advocates and supporters are gathering at the Staten Island Mall to express their outrage over roving gangs of youths that have assaulted shoppers in and around the mall and the need for increased security during the holiday shopping season.”

“The incidents at the Staten Island Mall are indicative of the rise in criminal activity throughout our city as elected officials led by Mayor Bill de Blasio have made it clear that they care more about criminals than they do about the law abiding citizens of New York,” Malliotakis continued. “Whether its [sic] lack of discipline and violence in our schools, the state laws that allow minors to escape serious punishment even after committing serious crimes or the new Criminal Justice and Bail Reform laws that take effect on New Year’s Day, one thing is clear; law-breakers are the big winners. After bail reform takes effect, 90 percent of those arrested will be returned to the streets hours later without any bail required and nothing more than a date to appear in court.”

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A group of Staten Island pols has led a last-ditch effort to stop bail and discovery reforms.

Never mind that the number of citywide crime reports is actually down year to date, and down even more in the precinct where the mall is located, or that bizarre incidents are nothing new at the mall (see here, here and here), or that the bail reform laws in question have yet to take effect: Malliotakis has been a leading voice denouncing criminal justice reforms that, after years of advocacy, were finally adopted in Albany last spring. Bail reform and discovery reform are the focus of the ire, which has even infected the usually sober and thoughtful pages of the New York Post.

Separate from the alarmism, there are operational questions about whether district attorney offices are equipped to comply with the new burdens that come with the discovery reforms.

On WBAI’s Max & Murphy this week, we heard from Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon, one of those who has expressed worries about what he sees as a lack of judicial discretion in the bail law, and potential threats to witnesses and victims in the discovery reforms; and Marie Ndiaye, supervising attorney at the Legal Aid Society, who argues that basic principles of fairness, and the experience of other states, indicate New York’s reforms point in the right direction.

6 thoughts on “Max & Murphy: The Push to Roll Back New York’s Criminal Justice Reforms

  1. It’s no surprise that Staten Island politicians want to change these laws. Staten Island has long been a home to many NYPD members. A look at the accompanying picture says it all.

  2. In opposing many of the reforms this elected Nicole Malliotakis speaks against not one of the most important fsctors that sought the reforms are mentioned short of her own description of roving gangs and serious crimes she purports to be behind the need to change the crude judicial discretion that was behind the mass incarceration Era of the 80’s and 90’s. She’s a privileged elected with privileged benefits nowhere to understand the fact that such abuses were behind the reasons for necessary change. Take on the responsibility of those behind the practices and assure that they’re prepared to meet the needs of the community in diversion and treatment rather then punishment. The presumption of innocence is entitled to all. I stand to see who is behind the Assembly woman’s heart in considering what really is needed in public safety in our community. Law enforcement officers criminalizing the community or criminal justice system denying the truth of the matter on economic equality when bail factors are proposed. I am a directly impacted and leader of the CloseRikers Build communities FreeNewYork campaign

  3. I can respectfully disagree with the tenor of this article but find it hard to respect the errors in fact and supposition that the Assemblywoman is privileged. The fact is there is an uptick in violence and mischief and compstat numbers skewed by lack of reporting and the decriminalization of well crime, make the security the current administration touts spurious. People have legitimate fears. The bail reform laws are not short of ridiculous. They are ridiculous. The progressive moment needs to come to an end as NY is regressing about 40 years to the bad old days of the 1970s. It’s time to clean house. Starting with the House seat for the 11th District.

  4. It is time to vote out this politicians who are against our poor people; remember Eric Gardner? Bail is a wealth-based discrimination. A rich person wait for his trial out side jail while a poor person who can’t afford bail wait behind bars and most of the times years behind bars without a trail. Most of the times they loose their jobs, are evicted from their apartments and even loose their families. Another problem is that a defendant coming from jail to court is tired which make it difficult to follow the trial. Just one more thing, a defendant coming out with correction officers look more guilty than a person walking into the court by himself. Bail is wealth-based discrimination and need to stop.

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